Do Moths Eat Wood? A Detailed Discussion

Most people do recognize moths but they don’t know the foods that moths eat to survive. Moths are usually eating things around us.

But sometimes we are unaware of what kind of things moths can eat. If you don’t know whether do moths eat wood or not then this article will help you to find out. 

Sometimes you can see holes in your clothes and might think of another insect. But you don’t know moths can eat your clothes and other materials in your house.  Although moths are harmless, they can be the main source of nuisance. 


What Do Moths Eat?

If you think about moths, you will see a lot of species that eat different types of food. That means there is a certain category available for moths that eats certain types of food.

For example, Clothes moths will eat only clothes and will make holes in your clothes. 

There are other types of moths that are carpenter moths that eat rotten wood and other types of wood. Almost every adult moths only drink liquids such as tree sap, flower nectar, rotting fruits, etc.

Adult moths only drink fluids to gain energy and maintain hydration in their body. 

Adult clothes moths are smaller in size ( usually ½” in length) and they are grey. Some adult moths have a beige hue to their color. These types of moths avoid light and usually live in dark. They are narrow and have hairy wings.  And adult clothes moths only need clothes and fabrics to survive. 

Adult Pantry moths are slightly different than adult moths but most people can not define the difference between them. Adult pantry moths are ½” in size with narrow bodies and hairy wings. The wings are grey but the body is reddish-brown.

Adult pantry moths have black stripes around their body. These strips differentiate the adult pantry moths from adult clothes moths. You will find them in your kitchen and pantry area.

These pantry moths usually survive by eating food and other goods. You will also find them in pet food, dry pasta, birdseed, dry foods, etc. 

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Do Carpenter Moths Eat Wood?

Before getting to know whether carpenter moths eat wood or not, let’s know about their life cycle. 

The origin of carpenter moths came from the family name Cossidae. These moths are usually born in woods and they are nearly hairless larvae.

Carpenter larvae only live for 3 to 4 years. Adult carpenter moths have vestigial mouthparts, gray to brown wings, and long thick bodies. The length of the wing of carpenter moths varies from 2.5 cm or 1 inch to 25 cm or 10 inches. 

The female moth that is an adult often lays eggs in a wrecked part of the tree. Sometimes they lay eggs in the damaged branch of trees.

After laying eggs, the eggs started to hatch and the caterpillars come. After some time, the caterpillars started to grow and they started to eat into the tree and make big tunnels in the heartwood. 

If you see any dark sap spots on the outside of the tree then it will be a sign of carpenter moth infestation.

You will see holes outside of the tree and sawdust coming from the hole, it is also a sign of carpenter moths that are eating wood. The caterpillar frass comes as wood particles because the moths eat wood. 

Another sign of carpenter infestation is seeing empty pupal cases midway into the tunnel. The moths pupate inside the tunnel but the pupas are pushed by themselves out of the tree.  

After browsing this portion of the article, you might concede that moths do eat wood. 

Carpenter Moths Vs Clothes Moths

Both carpenter moths and clothes moths are known to you. Because you have to face both types of moths.

Sometimes you will find clothes moths eating out your clothes. And sometimes you will find carpenter moths destroying your tree. But do you know the difference between Carpenter moths and clothes moths? 

A moth onslaught is already a nightmare for all of us whether it’s carpenter moths or clothes moths. 

You will find two kinds of clothes moths that will creep you out by making holes in your clothes.

These two types of moths are webbing moths ( Tineola bisselliela) and case-making moths ( Tinea pellionella). These moths are very small in size and both of them have different body colors that differentiate them from each other. 

On the other hand,

Carpenter moths are totally different from clothes moths. The wingspan of carpenter moths is from 9 to 25cm. Most carpenter moths have grey bodies and long narrow wings. They have a few smooth hairs which clothes moths don’t have. 

Most Carpenter moths eat wood, rotten wood, tree branches, and tree sap to survive. The moths can only eat wood and survive for the rest of their life.

And clothes moths only eat fabric and clothes and make holes into the clothes. You will find carpenter moths in the trees, damaged trees, rotten wood, etc.

And most clothes moths live in your wardrobe and eat all of your clothes including luxurious fabrics. 

How To Get Rid Of Moths That Eat Wood?

The extensive grazing of carpenter moths can result weaken tree branches. The branches can break in high winds if it’s been eaten by moths.

Moths that eat wood can make your tree weak and the tree can lose its nourishment.  To get rid of moths that eat wood, you have to discern some crucial steps.

By doing that,

Your trees will be healthier again and the moths can not eat wood anymore. 


The first step in getting rid of carpenter moths is to monitor the tree. You have to determine if the tree is attacked by carpenter moths or not. 

You have to see dark sap spots on tree branches and trunks. A large amount of wood frass sawdust will come from the tree if it’s been attacked by the moths. Or you might notice pupal cases in the tunnel of the tree if your tree has wood moths.

The discolored limb and oozing bark will confirm that the tree has a carpenter worm. Make sure to research well before getting rid of carpenter moths because a tree can lose its color for many reasons.

But carpenter moths are the number one reason for the discoloration of a tree. 


Perfect cultural management can protect your trees from carpenter moths. You need appropriate irrigation to get rid of moths that eat wood. A tree can tolerate a few carpenter moths but too many carpenter moths can destroy a tree. 

Have a qualified arborist if you notice too many carpenter moths in the tree. The process of carpenter moths feeding can emerge the breakage of tree limbs.

You might need to remove the limb back to the point if it’s heavily infested by carpenter moths. In some cases, you might need to remove the entire tree if it is heavily plagued with moths. 

You can kill the larvae by poking a sharp, long wire into a particular branch. You can use this method when the carpenter moth infestation is small. But it won’t be beneficial to heavily infested trees. 

You can spray a special medicine that is available for carpenter moths. But that spray is not effective for larvae. 

How To Get Rid of Clothes Moths

Clothes moths are the most annoying insects that can destroy your beautiful clothes.

Now if you don’t know how to get rid of clothes for months then you might lose your favorite dress. 

You have to dry clean all your (dry clean) clothes before you store them in the closet. The clothes need to be washed with hot water. You have to wash them at 120°F for at least 20 to 30 mins so that all the moths can get rid of your clothes.


Your clothes require laundry before you store them in the wardrobe. 

There is an old-school way where you can get rid of your clothes moths. You have to dry the clothes in the sunlight and you have to brush the clothes frequently to get rid of clothes moths.

Larvae can not tolerate the sunlight and when you brush them the larvae come out from the clothes. You need to hang the clothes under the sunlight for several hours and let them soak into the sunlight. The larvae will fall from the clothes and will make your clothes fresh again. 

You can use some essential oils to get rid of clothes moths. Lavender and rosemary essential oils are best to get rid of clothes moths. The fragrance of lavender essential oil triggers the clothes moths and they leave the cloth.

Mothballs are another strategy to get deprived of clothes moths from your clothes. 

A chemical called 1,4-dichlorobenzene contains in the mothballs that suffocate moths and larvae. The mothballs are the most useful and effective technique to get rid of clothes moths.

You have to be careful while using mothballs in the cloth and make sure to wash your clothes afterward. Because mothballs are poisonous to children and pets. 

We have mentioned some simple steps to get rid of clothes moths. But you can find more strong chemicals in the market that can destroy clothes moths in seconds. Keep in mind to protect the moth medicine from the children and your pets.

Moth medicine can be poisonous for humans and animals so make sure you’re being careful while applying for the medicine. 

The Truth About Clothes Moths


What kills carpenter moths?

A nematode that is also known as Steinernema feltiae or S. carpocapsae is available on the market that can kill carpenter wood. You have to spray or Inject the medicine into the hole. The nematodes will kill the Carpenter moths that are destroying the tree. 

How does vinegar get rid of moths?

You can use vinegar to get rid of moths. You have to wipe down the vinegar on the surface and the fragrance of the vinegar will kill the moths. Moths can not tolerate vinegar so whenever you put vinegar into the surface, the moths will die. 

What do moths hate the smell of?

Dried rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender, or bay leaves are the best fragrance that most moths hate. Put all the ingredients into a cloth and make the larvae fall from your clothes. Hang the cloth in the wardrobe or closet or you can hang the cloth around your other clothes. The smell of the ingredients will make the larvae get out of your closet. 

Are carpenter moths bad?

Carpenter moths are bad for your trees. Carpenter moths will make your trees weak and result in weak limbs. The carpenter moth can break the tree branches and destroy your trees. The tree leaves started to fall and the tree branches started to get weak if your tree is infested by carpenter moths. 

What do carpenter worms look like?

The carpenter moths look greyish to brownish on their body. They retain distinguished hairs on their trunk. They also have unusual abdominal prolegs. 

Why do you get clothes moths?

The perspiration of foods and stains attract the clothes moths. If your wardrobe is not air-ventilated then it has a higher chance of getting attacked by clothes moths. If the clothes moths once attack our closet, all of your clothes will have holes. Your luxurious dress and fabrics will be destroyed by the clothes moths. 


Moths look virtuous but they are dangerous insects that can destroy your belongings.  Having moths in your house is like having nightmares that creep you through your belonging.

Nobody wants unwanted guests (moths) in their house that are ruining their daily things. 

But what terrifies Is the carpenter moths that are destroying your favorite trees.

Those carpenter moths are dangerous and destroy your trees and other trees. That’s why being careful is crucial if you see a single moth in your tree. Whether do moths eat wood or not, they are still harmful to your trees. 

Peter Robert

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