Fish moths 101: How to identify and get rid of fish moths in your home

We’re all familiar with the frustration of discovering a quick-moving silverfish or fish moth while going through boxes or our cupboards. In this blog, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of fish moths, including their habits, appearance and tips to get rid of fish moths using Efekto products.

What are they?

Fish moths are insects that have a penchant for chewing on household items like paper and fabrics. They feed on the starch present in these items, such as the starch-based glue in wallpaper and starched clothing. Despite being frustrating due to creating holes in our belongings, they are fortunately not harmful to humans, no matter how alarming they may appear.

What do they look like?

Humans and other animals have been trying to get rid of fish moths for over 400 million years. In the time they’ve been around, they have developed a distinctive appearance. As their name suggests, they have oval, elongated, ‘carrot-shaped’ bodies with silver scales akin to a fish. With six legs, two antennae, and a tail featuring three spiky appendages, they give the impression of swimming when in motion.

Zoomed-in image of a fish moth.

Where do they live?

Preferring moist and humid environments, you’re likely to find evidence of fish moths in areas like your bathroom, or laundry. These elusive insects thrive in damp conditions, making these spaces ideal hiding spots.

What are their habits?

Nocturnal by nature, fish moths can survive without food or water for several weeks. They are challenging to catch due to their swift movements and climbing tendencies. Identifying a fish moth problem involves spotting thin, translucent skin casings and a yellow powder, which they shed during moulting.

Three fish moths on a book.

What damage do they inflict?

Fish moths do not pass on any diseases or bite or sting, but these seemingly harmless insects can wreak havoc on your possessions if left unchecked. You’ll find that they eat or cause damage to a variety of your household items like:

  • Wallpaper: The starch-based glue in wallpaper attracts fish moths, leading to unsightly holes and damage.
  • Paper: Whether it’s important documents, books, or newspapers, fish moths are drawn to the starch content, resulting in nibbled edges and holes.
  • Books: Valuable or sentimental books are not spared. Fish moths can chew through book covers and pages, causing irreparable damage.
  • Flour: In the kitchen, fish moths target flour bags. Their nibbling can contaminate the flour, rendering it unsuitable for use.
  • Fabrics: Clothing, linens, and curtains are not immune. Fish moths can chew through fabrics, leaving behind damaged and weakened areas.
Person holding a pink sweater and showing a fish moth hole.

How to get rid of fish moths?

Since fish moths actively avoid humans and animals, they are elusive. Start by reducing extra moisture and decluttering your home. Introducing a dehumidifier and storing food in airtight containers can also help.

For a quick and effective solution, consider using Efekto Fendona. Spray cupboards, or areas showing signs of fish moths with Fendona. Its long-lasting formula can be applied as a spray or with a paintbrush to cracks and crevices.

Another effective product is Efekto Fumitabs, an easy-to-use fumigation tablet that releases a fine vapour to eliminate fish moths in hard-to-reach places.

Ready to take action against fish moths in your space? This Fish Moths 101 guide equips you with insights to understand their behaviour. Utilise Efekto’s products like Efekto Fendona and Efekto Fumitabs to effectively get rid of fish moths from your clothes, books, and food.