Are Mothballs Effective at Repelling Pests?

Mothballs have been around for nearly 200 years, and this unique pest control product can be found in countless homes throughout the country. The primary purpose of a mothball is to destroy moths and their larvae, but some companies claim that their mothballs work on a variety of different pests ranging from bed bugs to carpet beetles. Here is a closer look at exactly how effective mothballs are and a few signs that it might be time to consider a different pest control strategy.

The Basics of Mothballs

If you have begun to notice small holes in your clothing, then you probably have some moths in your home. Moths and their larvae have a very specific diet, and they prefer to eat different types of fabric such as wool and cotton. Many years ago, a chemist named John Kidd was able to refine a unique chemical known as naphthalene, and that is the primary compound that is used in mothballs. Originally, mothballs were nothing more than cotton balls that homeowners would soak in naphthalene, but many companies now put that chemical in smaller plastic traps that can easily be hidden in the back of a closet.

Are Mothballs Effective?

While mothballs will be highly effective in some situations, you might not want them in your home. The chemicals that are added to mothballs can be extremely toxic, and that is one of the reasons why the EPA now requires clear warnings on all products that contain naphthalene. Over time, a mothball is going to give off naphthalene vapor, and that chemical can be harmful to your pets as well as your family. It is also important to note that mothballs aren’t effective at repelling most pests. A few mothballs might get rid of moths and their larvae, but they aren’t going to repel bed bugs, rats, mice, spiders, or ants.

Alternatives to Mothballs

Even though moths can be very troublesome, there are a few natural pest control options for these pesky bugs. Cedar chips can be very effective at keeping moths out of your wardrobe, and many people make closets and dressers out of that type of wood because it repels bugs. Some homeowners also use fragrances like lavender and lemongrass to repel pests, but those products aren’t going to be effective against all types of bugs and rodents. If you want to come up with a long-term pest control plan, then you will need to speak with an experienced exterminator.

Professional Pest Control Options

Dealing with a moth infestation on your own can be very frustrating, and that is why you should consider working with a pest control expert. Treating moth invasions usually requires multiple tactics, and there isn’t a single product or strategy that is going to work in every situation. Your pest control contractor can help you come up with a comprehensive plan that wipes out the moths and their larvae for good. Once your home is bug-free, they can keep those critters away with preventative services.