Sex Pheromones: Birth Control for Moths

A new moth pest control program lures male moths and covers them in artificial pheromone perfume, which leads female ones to lose interest in breeding. Clothes moths damage both clothing items and furniture, particularly during mild and wet winters.

Sexually confusing moths has emerged as a way to force the pests out of the closet. In a new pest control treatment, experts lured male moths and covered them in a “perfume” of artificial pheromones, which sends the message that they are female. The female moths, in turn, lose interest in copulation once they get a whiff of the scent.  This effectively renders the females unable to lay eggs, preventing another batch of hungry larvae that would feed on fabrics and other items in the closet.

This allows us to naturally and humanely curtail moth populations without the use of potentially harmful chemicals,” says David Cross, the study researcher from Rentokil pest control, of the method dubbed Moth Population Control Assist.