Moths are insects of the Lepidoptera family, very similar to butterflies, and the first thing to know is that there are hundreds of species of moths. The so-called nocturnal butterflies grow in diverse habitats and can be found almost anywhere in the world. In the form of larvae or caterpillars, they usually make their nests in the bark and between the branches of trees and shrubs of forests and gardens, although there are also species that nest in the wood itself or even in textiles. Although they can become annoying pests, given their reproductive capacity, in general they are not dangerous for people, although, in some cases, their excessive presence may imply some risk. Do you want to know if moths sting and what to do in case of moth bite? In this article we give you all the information you need to be calm.
Do moths sting or not?
The vast majority of moth species do not bite, bite, or attack people although it is true that they can cause damage to plants, crops and household tissues, especially when they are a pest. Almost all moths remain inactive during the day and, instead, it is common to see them flying at night, always heading to some point of light to which they are attracted.
Although, as a general premise, it cannot be said that moths bite, it must be clarified that there are some species that can represent a certain danger to people. One of them is the so-called flannel moth or cat moth (Megalopyge opercularis), already present on both the European and American continents. This moth has an abundant coat between which hides rigid villi, similar to thorns, which are toxic on contact. It's not that the moth bites, but accidentally touching those villi can cause a bite-like reaction.
In addition, it is believed that some species such as the Calyptra moth, have a sucking mechanism in the mouth and jaw that allows them to bite animals and, like mosquitoes, draw their blood (in fact they are known as vampire moths). Still, bites of this type in humans are an exception and are not usually serious.
Are moths dangerous?
In principle, moths are not dangerous in terms of people's health, although it is true that when talking about pests they can cause serious damage, for example, in clothes stored in a closet or on a great wooden shelf full of books.
Regarding the negative effects of its presence for people, it should be remembered that the caterpillars of moths (like those of butterflies) can cause severe allergies, with reactions ranging from itching, itching or inflammation of the affected area, to pain and general malaise including breathing difficulties in the most severe cases. Similarly, the fur of moths can be highly stinging for people who have an allergy to it.
A simple and clear example of moth caterpillars that can be dangerous to people and animals are processionary caterpillars.
What to do if you are bitten by a moth
When in contact with a caterpillar or with a moth, especially if it is the cat moth, it is important to remove, as soon as possible, the hairs that may have remained on the skin because they are stinging. If they are easily detectable and are not too many, you can do it simply with the help of tweezers. If there are too many, a small trick is to eliminate them by placing adhesive tape on the affected area and removing it carefully, since the hairs will be adhered to them. In addition, it is important to wash the entire area with plenty of water to get rid of any particles that act as an allergen.
Of course, in the face of severe symptoms such as severe headache, vomiting, localized pain, severe cough or difficulty breathing, the medical consultation cannot wait, since it may be necessary to apply some treatment based on antihistamines.
Here you can read about the Processionary caterpillar bite: symptoms and what to do.
How to avoid moths at home
A plague of moths at home can become a really annoying and unpleasant situation, but following some simple tips it is easy to prevent it from occurring. Remember that it is better to scare them away than to kill them.
- Inside your home, pay special attention to closets, pantries and cupboards. Empty them completely from time to time to clean them thoroughly, in case any moth has begun to nest and, in that case, you can quickly remove the chrysalises. Check that storage places (especially food) are free of moisture and well ventilated.
- Remember that you have specific products to keep moths at bay, such as mothballs, but there are also some equally effective and not dangerous home remedies for our health and that of other animals that live with us. For example, try putting in your closets some bags with aromatic plants, such as lavender or citrus aromas, natural repellents of moths. Orange or lemon peels will not only make your wardrobe smell good, but they will keep your clothes free of moths.
- If you have the problem in the garden, some plants such as citronella and, again, lavender can be your best allies to fight moths.
- In addition, at night, try to decrease the intensity of the outdoor lights so that these insects are less attracted to your garden and your porch and let you enjoy a pleasant summer night.
Here you can know more home remedies to avoid moths or get rid of them if they appear as a pest.