Caterpillars in the Home?

Ask any pest control expert and he will tell you, caterpillars (you know, the kind that morph into beautiful butterflies) cannot survive for long in closed quarters – especially the home. What can survive in the home are larvae. There are so many house pests out there, it would be tough to name them all here, but some of the most common household pests are moths, centipedes, and millipedes.

Rarely will you actually see centipede or millipede larvae around the home. These thousand-legged creatures know exactly where to hide and lay their eggs. It’s usually in a place you will never, ever find without the help of a seasoned exterminator. It is possible, however, to find moth larvae. Why? Depending on the type of moth, the larva will be on the hunt for food. They will attack food sources such as grains, pet food, and bird seed. Some will even attack clothing, furniture, and wood.

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If you have an attic filled with old clothes, furniture or other tasty materials, certain types of moths (if they sneak in through cracks in windows and open doors) will make a home there. They will lay eggs, the larvae will hatch, and the feasting will begin. If you have found larvae on the floor of your attic or maybe on the ceilings that share a wall with your attic, it is possible that you have a moth infestation.

Please remember, these are all just possibilities. If you have contacted an exterminator and he hasn’t been much help, you might have to do some investigating on your own. Check every corner and dark place of every room for larvae or moths. You must be thorough if you want to find out where these little creatures are coming from.

If your hunt turns up nothing and you still see larvae, there are several repellants you can use indoors to control the problem. There are also a number of things you can do to help eliminate food sources. If you are convinced the creatures you see are caterpillars, there are several sprays you can make right at home. All ingredients should be placed in a spray bottle to control application. Try:

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  • Pure neem oil (repels caterpillars, whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids)
  • Garlic, hot pepper, and water
  • Dishwashing liquid and water
  • Hot pepper and water

Once you have selected a treatment option, spray the mixture wherever you see the moth larvae (or caterpillar). Give it time to work. You may repeat the process after a day or so, and hopefully you will begin to see fewer larvae. To prevent re-infestation, you may treat the area around the home with Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.t.), a naturally occurring bacteria that is commonly found in soil and food. You must also seal cracks around doors and windows, and repair holes in screens. You must also keep all grains and pet food under lock and key. Use sealed containers at all times or store foods that are attractive to insects in the refrigerator. Keep your home clean, meaning vacuum, dust, and clean countertops and cabinets regularly. If you must store clothing, furniture and other similar objects inside the home, be sure to add moth repellants such as moth balls to bins, bags, and other types of storage.

Keep in mind that if an infestation exists, treatment is a long process, and prevention must become a part of your daily life.

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