Moths are a common problem in many households – especially in garages. Although they can invade any space, they tend to prefer dark, enclosed areas like garages. Therefore, knowing how to get rid of moths in a garage is essential. We’ll walk you through it in this post.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Are There Moths in My Garage?
There are a few reasons why you may see moths flying around your home or garage.
One is that the garage provides a welcome refuge from the outside world. It offers shelter from predators and inclement weather – the garage is nice and warm!
Plus, there’s a good chance that your garage offers two other valuable resources – water and food. If you have any leaking pipes or even pet water bowls left out, they’re a good place for moths to grab a drink.
Moths are opportunistic feeders, too. They’ll get inside any clothing you have hanging in the garage and they’ll go after food that is stored there as well. They love pantry foods that are flour- or grain-based, like pasta, cornmeal, and cereal.
Because of this, the best way to prevent moths from getting into your garage is to be careful about what you store there. Avoid storing food and clothing in the garage unless they are packed in vacuum-sealed (or otherwise airtight) containers. Cleaning on a regular basis can help, too, as moth populations thrive in dusty, dingy conditions.
How Do I Get Moths Out of My Garage?
There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent moths from swarming your garage in the first place – such as keeping the lights off during the warmer months of the year and doing a regular cleaning. However, there are some situations in which a more targeted approach is needed.
Here are some tips.
Clean the Garage Thoroughly
Thoroughly cleaning your garage is another thing you can do to keep moths at bay. Although most of us focus the bulk of our cleaning efforts on the interior of the home, the garage deserves attention, too.
Too much dirt and dust can attract moths but if you take the time to clean the garage on a regular basis (at the very least, sweeping or mopping the floor each week) the likelihood of having a moth infestation is slim.
To double up on your efforts, use a bit of vinegar. This will help to disinfect the area while also releasing an aroma that moths just aren’t fond of.
Freeze Your Clothes
If you are storing clothing in the garage and have found that moths and moth larvae got inside, you don’t have to throw them out and start your wardrobe all over.
Instead, you can just freeze them.
Put all of your clothes (and other belongings where moths might have laid their eggs) into the freezer. Keep them there for at least 24 hours.
Moving forward, store all of your clothing in airtight containers, like plastic totes. This can help keep out moths as well as other opportunistic pests, like rodents.
Use Moth Traps
Using moth traps may also prove to be an effective solution. Here’s a video that will give you more information on how to use them:
If you’re not quite sure what moth traps are, know that their type and best use really run the gamut. Many of these are similar in appearance to flypaper. Sold as sticky traps, they are meant to trap the moths and keep them there so they can’t get free.
In addition to sticky traps, there are also special pheromone traps you can use. These attract moths by releasing hormones that are similar to what male and female moths would use to attract the opposite sex for mating. You can buy these traps online and they are highly effective.
Try Light and Soapy Water
As you might already be aware, moths have a tendency to gravitate toward the light. You can get rid of moths (especially if it’s just a few months) by using the light and soapy water trick.
To do this, make sure all the windows and doors in the garage are shut. Fill a tub with water and dish soap, then hang a single bulb lamp above the basin. Turn off all the lights except that one.
The moths should begin to aggressively swarm the light – but once they hit the bulb, they’ll fall off and get stuck in the soapy water before they die.
This is a time-consuming solution, but it’s definitely worth a shot, especially if the other treatments here just don’t do the trick.
Vacuum Them Up
If it’s dead moths that you see littering the floor of your garage, just go ahead and vacuum them up – that’s the easiest way to clean up.
However, you can also vacuum up live moths. Again, it might be helpful to turn off the lights – then, just turn the lights back on only as you are ready to start vacuuming. Once you turn the lights back on, the moths will swarm them – and you’ll be able to target your efforts toward one location more easily.
What Smells Keep Moths Away?
One smell that’s known to keep moths away is cedar. Cedar has specific pheromones that repel moths as well as many other types of insects – but you’re sure to love its scent!
Use this to your advantage and dribble some cedar essential oil throughout your garage. You can also keep an oil diffuser going to make sure the effect never wears off.
It’s not just cedar that repels moths, either. Moths are also not terribly fond of aromas such as rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, cloves, and lavender. Crush them up and hang them in bags around the garage – or, again, use essential oils.
What Kills Moths Instantly?
There are a few moth repellents you can use that are made with chemicals specifically designed to kill moths immediately.
If you can, though, avoid using mothballs and other insecticides unless absolutely necessary. These toxic chemicals can be carcinogenic and if the moths really aren’t doing that much damage, they probably aren’t worth the risk.
Instead, consider using products that contain natural repellents (such as the pheromones or essential oils, like cedar) mentioned above. These are often just as effective and won’t leave harmful residues behind that can make you, your kids, and your pets sick.
How Do You Get Rid of an Infestation of Moths?
Most of these tips will allow you to get rid of moths in the garage easily – and on your own. However, if you have a moth problem that you just can’t shake, you may want to call in the big guns – the professionals.
Call an exterminator to help you get rid of the moths and they’ll be able to come up with a solution that’s customized to your specific problem.
Moths can be difficult to get rid of – but it’s certainly not impossible. Follow these tips to keep moths and other frustrating pests from returning!
For more pest control tips, check out our cockroach guide.