MOTHS can be a nuisance when they start munching your clothes and hear their little buzz at night in your ear.
But why are such insects attracted to light, and what can you do to get rid of them?
Why are moths attracted to light?
Some insects, such as moths, navigate by flying at a constant angle relative to a light source, such as the moon, keeping them flying in a straight line.
But, when it comes to finding their way around man-made lights, the angle to the light source changes as a moth flies by which confuses it.
It is thought that the moths become dazzled and seem to be attracted to the light.
Mike Saunders, a professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, said: “Artificial lights seem brighter than the moon and moths end up orienting to them even though the artificial light is not at optical infinity."
The moon remains out of reach of the moths, but a fire or a light bulb is a different matter – as the moths get closer to the light, their ability to triangulate properly is thrown off.
Why do moths eat clothes?
It is moth larvae that eat your clothes – not the moths themselves.
Moths only have mouths during their larval stage, which usually lasts between two weeks and a month.
The larva thrives on keratin and has a fairly specific diet, so female moths usually choose clothes made from animal fibres such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora or fur – all materials that contain keratin.
Synthetic and cotton fabrics are usually safe from moths unless they’ve been blended with animal fibres.
Because of their love of keratin, proteins that can also be found in our skin and hair, moth larvae are also sometimes known to chow down on leather, feathers and hairballs of human or pet hair.
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