How to get rid of Winter Moths

Think you’re free from moths now the warm evenings are gone? Think again! Winter moths can invade and kill your indoor and outdoor plants. Here’s how you can get rid of them.

What are Winter Moths?

Winter moths are invasive pests whose lifecycle starts in mid-November, hence their name. They feed on trees and indoor and outdoor plants, or more accurately, their larvae do. When it comes to houseplants, the female moth lays its eggs in the soil, then the larvae feed on the leaves, flower buds, and leave buds, causing a lot of destruction.

The Damage Winter Moths Do to Your Plants

The adult moths themselves don’t really damage plants, but the larvae do. Winter moth larvae damage causes holes in the leaves which means that the plant can’t get nutrients through photosynthesis. What usually happens is the plant gets weaker and it dies.

What Do Winter Moths Look Like?

The male adult moths are 0.7-0.9 inches long, light brown to tan in colour, and have wings. The females are 0.3 inches long, grey in colour, and don’t have wings. If your houseplants are infested with winter moth larvae, you’ll see light or dark green caterpillars that are around ¾ inch long. The younger larvae are pale green while the older larvae are dark green with a black head. It’s the older larvae that cause most of the destruction.

The Winter Moth Lifecycle

The winter moth lifecycle starts quite aptly in the colder moths. Around mid-November, an adult moth emerges from pupae. Female winter moths release pheromones to attract a mate then they’ll lay their eggs in the soil in your houseplants. Adult females lay up to 350 eggs in one go and they aren’t visible to the naked eye. Come the spring, the eggs hatch and tiny larvae emerge, ready to eat your plants.

How to Get Rid of Winter Moths

Go online and you’ll see plenty of tips for getting rid of winter moth larvae and eggs. From horticultural oils to dish soap, and chemicals, they aim to not only kill larvae but stop the eggs from hatching in the first place.

Chemical products will usually be pyrethroids which are pretty effective. However, there are a few problems with using the DIY approach to control winter moths.

1. You might inadvertently kill helpful bugs if you spray chemicals on your plants with abandon.

2. You may not want to use chemicals on your plants at all, especially in your home.

3. In order to treat a winter moth problem, you need to know there is one. That’s where professional pest control technicians come in.

Are Winter Moths Destroying Your House Plants?

Are your houseplants dying before your very eyes? Seen something suspect wriggling about in the soil? Before you spend your hard-earned cash on chemicals or pour dish soap all over the place, why not get a professional opinion?

Professional pest control technicians will be able to determine whether there’s an infestation and which pest is causing the problem. Then they’ll recommend an effective treatment and give you tried and tested tips on making sure it never happens again.

Suspect you’ve got a winter moth infestation? Do your plants a favour, and call Contego.

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