Tired of Moths ruining your summer barbeque with the family? I hear you.
Having an army of moths flying around your yard, garden or patio can be frustrating. If you’re looking for ways to get rid of moths, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll go over all the ways you can get rid of moths outside. Let’s dive in.
Quick Navigation: What's in This Guide?
- 1. Nematodes
- 2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
- 3. Spray Bacillus Thuringiensis on your soil and Yard
- 4. Use parasitic wasps
- 5. Eliminate food sources
- 6. Limit the use of light at night
- 7. Use Bug Zappers
- 8. Use Mosquito Traps
- 9. Use Cintronella Oil Around Your Home
- 10. Use Insecticides
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
One of the best ways to get rid of moths is to eliminate their eggs and larva. While this may not necessarily remove your current moth problem, it will reduce the moth population for the next cycle.
Beneficial nematodes are a method of biological control that attacks moth’s larvae and eggs.
To eliminate moth eggs and larvae, apply nematodes directly to the soil. Moth eggs, cocoons, and larvae are located on soil, generally next to plants.
Mix an entire pack of nematodes with one gallon of water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before spraying on the soil.
Spray nematodes daily for at least two weeks.
For the most effective application, nematodes should be sprayed In April or early May.
The purpose of adult moths is to reproduce. They live long enough to mate and lay eggs. Some moths live only about a week, while others can live for a few months.
By eliminating eggs and larvae, you can significantly reduce the chances of moth infestation once the next season rolls around.
2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Another method to eliminate moth eggs and larvae is by applying diatomaceous earth to the soil.
DE is a natural insecticide commonly used against various pests, including moths, beetles, ants, and roaches.
For this method, you can either apply DE as a powder or mix it with water. Keep in mind that DE is only effective when dry. So, if you decide to apply DE with water, you will have to wait until it dries and settles before it works.
Water mixed with DE is called a DE slurry. This mixture is ideal to use outdoors since it allows for even application on larger areas. DE slurry also allows you to apply the insecticide on difficult surfaces.
You can spray the solution on soil and grass. You also spray it around your flowers and plants to prevent the larva from crawling up to them.
3. Spray Bacillus Thuringiensis on your soil and Yard
Another way to kill moth larvae is by using Bacillus Thuringiensis (BTI). BTI presents no toxicity to people, animals, bees, and other beneficial insects. And when used properly, it is safe for crops and water supplies.
BTI is the most commonly used agricultural microbial pesticide in the world. It is a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils. BTI pathogen produces toxins that kill larvae within 4-24 hours after ingestion.
Keep in mind BTI does not work on adult moths or pupae. That’s because BTI needs to be ingested for it to work.
To kill larvae, spray BTI on your garden soil, grass, and trees. Look for areas where there is larvae damage, and spray there as well.
Many BTI products are designed specifically for homeowners and are safe and easy to use.
While some commercial BTI products may require you to wear a mask when applying, most require no extra precautions.
4. Use parasitic wasps
You can use parasitic wasps as a biological pest control against moths.
In particular, the Spring Tiphia wasp is a voracious eater of moth larvae. By introducing these wasps into your property, you can significantly reduce the wasp population.
While parasitic wasps can be effective, the issue becomes finding parasitic wasps.
If the parasitic wasp is not naturally present around your home, you will need to introduce it artificially. Unfortunately, finding spring tiphia can be challenging to find in most locations
5. Eliminate food sources
Another way to get rid of moths outside your home is to remove food sources available.
In particular, you’d want to remove sweet foods such as nectar, fruits, saps, and other manure liquids.
Some moths also feed on leaves. Although, it may be impractical to remove leaves from your garden or Yard.
One way to overcome this is by using tree and plant covers. Plant covers are budget-friendly options. If you want to protect larger areas or your entire garden, you can invest in a greenhouse or raised planters with plastic covers.
6. Limit the use of light at night
Moths are attracted to light. As such, an excellent way to keep them away is by limiting visible light in your property at night.
Some of the things you can do are: limit your use of light fixtures, cover your windows, and use motion-activated lights.
Motion-activated lights allow you to have light when you need it. But because it’s not on all night, it can help prevent moths from being attracted to your home.
7. Use Bug Zappers
Bug zappers kill moths by attracting them with light and electrocuting any moth that enters the trap.
When using bug zappers, make sure to turn off as many lights as possible on your property. That includes light both inside and outside your home.
Minimizing visible light increases the chance that moths will be drawn to your trap.
One disadvantage of this device is that it will attract more moths to your home. It can also kill beneficial flying insects such as ladybugs, butterflies, bees, and beetles.
Bug zappers also tend to be messy. The vaporized moths produce bug mist that can travel up to 6 feet.
If you are using a hanging bug zapper, place them away from the main entry points in your home. Hang the zapper in areas that get the least traffic around your home. Also, avoid staying near the zapper as not to inhale the vaporized moth particles
8. Use Mosquito Traps
Mosquito traps are a great way you can get rid of adult moths. Since adult moths fly around, you can use these traps to suck them in and kill them.
Mosquito traps typically use light, heat, and CO2 to attract mosquitos. For moths, typically, only the light is going to attract them to your trap.
You can place these near other sources of light. When the moths approach the light, the traps will suck them in and kill them.
Depending on how large your infestation is you can determine how many traps you want and how big they should be.
9. Use Cintronella Oil Around Your Home
Citronella is effective repellent to moths. You can get this oil in different packaging.
For outdoor use, I recommend using Citronella oil candles and Citronella tiki torches.
Stick these torches in the ground around your outdoor area. Fill the torch cans with citronella oil and light the torches to repel moths.
Candles are also ideal to light outdoors, as long as you are able to monitor them. Light some citronella candles on your patio table to keep moths away.
10. Use Insecticides
When infestations are severe, it may be best to tackle the issue using biological insecticides. For this, I recommend Codling moth granulosis virus (sold as Cyd-X) and Spinosad.
Cyd-X is a safe biological pesticide and won’t harm bees or other beneficial insects. Add 1% horticultural oil to Cyd-X for increased effectiveness. It’s important that you re-apply every week to target larvae once the eggs hatch. You will need to re-apply at least three or four times per generation.
Spinosad is another low-toxicity pesticide you can use. Like Cyd-X, You can add 1% horticultural oil to make it more effective. Re-apply every seven to ten days or three times per generation.
I recommend combining low-toxicity insecticides with non-chemical methods. Since Insecticides are only effective at killing caterpillars as they hatch, using other non-chemical methods will increase the chances of success.
To eliminate adult moths, you can use other broad-based insecticides. This will help you reduce the current population and future populations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Attracts Moths Outside
Moths can be attracted to your house for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:
Moths are attracted to light. This is true for both indoors and outdoor light.
You can attract moths if you have plenty of light fixtures outside your home. And you can attract moths if you leave your window open while the light is on at night.
To keep moths away, minimize visible light in your property at night. Some of the things you can do are: minimize or remove light fixtures, cover your windows, and use motion-activated lights.
Like most insects, moths are attracted to places where there is a rich source of food. The type of food they will be attracted to varies between different moth species. But in general, moths are attracted to nectar, fruits, sap, and vegetation.
To get rid of moths, It’s vital that you reduce or eliminate any potential food sources. Of course, it’s impractical to remove vegetation from your garden or yard. One way to overcome this is by using tree and plant covers.
The sole purpose of adult moths is to reproduce and they will find the most ideal location to lay eggs. The definition of “ideal location” varies between different species of moths. Overall, however, they target locations with soil, vegetation, and water nearby. Some lay their eggs only on tree barks, while others lay their eggs on leaves.
To keep moths away, make sure to make your home as unappealing as possible to lay eggs. To do this, you can use insecticides, biological pest control, or treen and plant covers.