There are many misconceptions about moths, mainly because there are so many different species out there. However, only a few species tend to crop up as pests in people’s homes. The most common pest moth in the UK is the brown moth, which can live for anywhere between two and four months. However, other species can have very different lifespans.
Most moths have relatively short life cycles, but they are capable of causing enormous damage during their brief lives. Fabrics containing animal fibres are particularly vulnerable to attacks from hungry moth larvae. Once their eggs hatch, the larvae immediately devour their own egg casings and then move on to any other nearby sources of keratin. The full life span of a carpet or clothes moth lasts an average of 12 months, depending on environmental conditions.
A female moth can lay as many as 400 eggs over those 12 months. These eggs take between four and ten days to hatch, depending on the local temperature and humidity. The longest part of the moth life cycle is the larval stage, which can last as long as 2.5 years, although it is usually much shorter. This is also the stage of the moth’s life cycle during which they cause the most destruction and is the reason why moth infestations are so problematic. Moth larvae can potentially spend the entire 2.5 years feasting on the fibres in your home. Once moths mature into adults, most species become incapable of eating. As a result, they tend to die within a few days or weeks of becoming adults.
Although moths can potentially spend more than two years in their larval stage, this is rare. Most moths take a year to go through their entire lifecycle from an egg to death.