Moths can vary in size and appearance, but most indoor moths are about ¾ inch to 1 inch across and range in color from grayish to brown. Indoor moth problems can start when they travel inside on infested foods, fabrics, birdseed or plants. Moths prefer to hide in dark hiding places, like closets, pantries or basements. Clothes moths infest the folds, seams and pockets of garments and blankets, laying their eggs in sheltered spots where their larvae can find plenty of natural fabrics to feed on (like wool, down, silk, leather or fur). Pantry moths, like the Indian meal moth, are commonly transported into homes on dry goods, including pet food, rice and cereal, then move to other dry goods in the pantry.

Avoid damage from clothes moths by making sure you only store clean clothing; stained or soiled garments are more susceptible to insect damage. Washing and drying will also eliminate any moth or beetle eggs that have been deposited. You can reduce your risk of purchasing pantry moth-contaminated food by not buying in bulk – larger packages are usually stored longer on the shelf than smaller ones. Also, look for glass or plastic containers instead of paper or cardboard.