The Bugman: Home Invaders

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Home Invaders
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I want to discuss some common insects that are occasional invaders in homes. All of these pests can be controlled by the homeowner. You do not need pest control companies or pesticides.

The Bugman: Silverfish (Lepismatidae – Lepisma Saccharina)

Silverfish are small insects, less than an inch long and silvery in color. They are covered in scales, which will be hard to see with the naked eye, and they have three appendages protruding from their abdomen.

They feed on fungus, sugar and starch products such as flour, glue and paste. They can feed on some synthetic fabrics and cellulose, which includes paper, books, photographs and cardboard boxes. They will also feed on dead insects. Silverfish are attracted to moisture so you want to make sure you fix any plumbing leaks as soon as possible. They are frequently found in crawl spaces under a home if it is damp there. You have to make sure no moisture is available for these insects, and try to keep paper, books and food as far from the floor as possible.

You can trap them by putting some flour in a glass jar and wrapping the jar with duct tape so they can climb up the sides. They will get in the jar but will not be able to get out. Niban Bait is a good commercial bait for controlling silverfish.

The Bugman: Clothes Moths (Tineidae)

There are two distinct types of clothes moths commonly found in homes. They are both small moths. The webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is a solid golden brown on the wings, while the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) has three black spots on each wing. Casemaking clothes moth larvae construct a small bag from material to protect their body from the environment. They drag the bag or tube wherever they feed.

Clothes moths are occasionally found in closets where they lay their eggs on suitable fabric. The larvae hatch and feed on the fabric doing damage. There are several things you can do to prevent clothes moths. First, keep clothes and other fabrics stored in sealed, plastic bags. Next you can hang some repellents in the closets. Put dried lemon peels, cedar chips, dried rosemary or mint in cheese cloth bags and hang them in the closets. Make sure any carpets in the closet are clean and free of lint, animal hair and any organic debris.

If you already have webbing clothes moths, you should hang one Clothes Moth Pheromone Trap in each closet. It will attract and catch the male moths and stop the breeding process. Don’t hang more than one trap or you will confuse the moths and they will just fly around, not sure where to go. The pheromone traps aren’t effective against casemaking clothes moths. Dry cleaning all the clothes will kill all stages of the moths; washing infested clothing in hot, soapy water will kill the larvae and eggs.

The Bugman: Indian Meal Moths (Pyralidae - Plodia Interpunctella)

There are several species of pantry moths that can infest your home, but the one most frequently encountered is the Indian meal moth. This moth is small and colorful. The wings are gray toward the body and has dark bands near the tip. They will feed on a wide variety of dried foods, including cereals, flour, cornmeal, crackers, cake mixes, pasta, dried pet foods, candy, powdered milk, chocolate candy and many other foodstuffs.

The best control is to hang one Flour Moth Pheromone Trap in the area they are infesting. This will attract and catch the male moths and stop the breeding process. Then inspect all open dried foods and toss anything that is infested. Place all non-infested foods in sealed containers or refrigerate them. Completely clean the pantry where the foods are stored to get any larvae that may be crawling around. Then lightly dust the shelves with food-grade diatomaceous earth before putting the foods back.

You can get Niban Bait, and both Clothes Moth Pheromone Traps and Flour Moth Pheromone Traps online from It is an Albuquerque company. If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at Or call me at (505) 385-2820.

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