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There are few people who do not know what a moth is. We know moths mainly as a very annoying insect that damages our clothes. By the way, moths are also called moths. In short, they are all butterflies except those we call diurnal butterflies. Since time immemorial, moths have been insects that like to be around humans. However, humans are anything but happy about that as we are mostly concerned with moth control to prevent nuisance.
Species of moths.
There are numerous different moths worldwide. In total, there are about 2,000 different species of moths, about 200 of which live in Europe. By far the best known of these are the clothes moth and the house moth. Below we discuss the most common moth species that also live in the US.
Brown house moth
The brown house moth can be recognized mainly by its dark brown forewings with several black patches. An adult can grow up to 14 mm long. They reproduce once per year. The larvae of this moth eat animal but also plant material. Think of seeds and grain but also material such as fur, wool and linen. They can cause quite a lot of damage to people’s products.
Another moth commonly found in the US is the clothes moth. This is with a maximum length of 8 mm a lot smaller than the brown house moth. The wings of the clothes moth are uniform and brownish yellow in color. The larvae can cause a lot of damage to clothing, for example. They crazily prefer spotted clothing and also like to eat felt used as insulation.
The flour moth is also common in the US. Although this species can be up to 9 mm long, it seems a lot larger when flying. The flour moth has a wingspan of 15-20 mm. This moth is also easily recognized by its wings. These are black and have gray zigzag patterns. As you might expect from seeing the name: the flour moth actually only eats flour. Adults move about mainly at night. They lay their eggs in flour or flour products.
Habitat of moths.
Since moths are excellent at adapting to the environment, they are found almost everywhere in the world. The moths in different areas show different characteristics and have fully adapted to the habitat in which they occur.
Moths in the US.
Of the many species of moths that exist in the world, only a few occur in the US. The most well-known species such as the clothes moth, the brown house moth and the flour moth are most common in our own country. In addition, however, there are other species that live in the US. In addition, the fruit moth and the Cocoa moth also occur in the US. There are other species that are spotted in the US, but they usually do not occur in large numbers.
Characteristics of moths.
Naturally, each moth looks different from another species. However, that does not mean that different species are totally different. In fact, there are more than enough common similarities of the various species of moths. for example, they all have wings and are long and narrow.
The size of the head of moths depends greatly on the species of moth. In some, the head is quite small and round while other moths, on the contrary, have a long and oval-shaped head. In any case, every moth has antennae.
The thorax of moths is generally soft and is carefully protected by the wings. Furthermore, there are several legs on the underside of the thorax. How many legs these are depends on the species of moth. Some have two or three legs while there are also moths that have four or even more.
The wings of a moth are characteristic of the species of moth it is. When the different species need to be distinguished, one usually looks at the wings. This is because each species has a different color and motif. The wings are not only for flying but also provide protection for the body.
Lifestyle of moths
The lifestyle of moths varies greatly among species. However, there are certain things that are very similar. For example, most moths prefer to live in warm and humid environments. This is why they are common in tropical countries. In addition, almost all moths lay eggs in a food-rich environment. In some moths this is clothing while in others it is flour or natural material. In the latter case, people are little affected.
Most moths are light-shy and therefore show themselves as little as possible during the day. Once dusk falls, they only emerge from the holes and cracks where they hide during the day.
What do moths eat?
What exactly moths eat varies by species. Often the name of the species of moth hides what they eat. For example, a flour moth is mainly interested in flour while a clothes moth logically eats clothes. Interestingly, by the way, it is mainly the larvae of the moths that eat a lot. Adult moths generally eat little to nothing and are mainly concerned with laying eggs.
Enemies of the moth
Moths have quite a few natural enemies. Examples include spiders and other large insects. Many birds and even fish are also enemies of the moth. If anything, moth larvae are even more popular because smaller birds and insects can also eat them.
Reproduction and longevity
As mentioned above, moths reproduce by laying eggs from which larvae then hatch. In time, these develop into adult moths. How long that takes differs per species. However, each species of moth lives longer as a larva than as an adult and mature moth. In most cases, a mature moth lives only a few weeks during which they lay as many eggs as possible.
Nuisances and diseases
Moths mainly cause a lot of nuisance because they can destroy people’s belongings and clothing. They create the well-known moth holes in clothing but can also destroy products such as fruit or flour. In principle, moths can also transmit certain diseases and bacteria although in practice this is very rare in the US.
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