This article was last updated on 1 October 2021.

How long do moths live 2021

Life Cycle of Moth

Moth species are in the insect Order Lepidoptera, and they share this Order with Butterflies. There are around 160,000 species of moths in the world, compared to approximately 17,000 species of butterflies. In North America, there are nearly 11,000 species of moths.

Moths go through a life cycle starting, from eggs laid near a food source (plants) to being a larva, also known as a moth caterpillar. Once they start emerging from the caterpillar’s stage they then move on to the pupa stage, and finally the adult moth. 

Each step is equally essential in the growth and development process. There are a lot of important factors involved in every phase of the development of a moth adult stage.

Below we will briefly touch on these points. 

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The embryo or moth egg stage

This stage of the moth cycle is where an embryo develops inside the egg. This process begins when an adult male moth and female mate. Resulting in the fertilization of the moth eggs inside the female moth.

Females moths will then source a suitable place to lay the moth eggs close to a food source. This will typically be with considerable amounts of plants. The nectar and the vegetation serve as food for the next cycle of moths to emerge after emerging from the egg stage.  

Averagely it takes approx, ten days for a moth egg to develop. It does this by the egg absorbing nutrients from the plants. Once the nutrients are sufficient the moth egg then hatches into a larva, this is commonly referred to as a caterpillar. 

The female moth lays around 40-50 eggs over a couple of weeks. Once the female has laid her eggs, therein shortly the female passes on. There are some species that lay between around 300 eggs in their lifetime

 The moth embryo takes on average ten days to develop, it absorbs egg nutrients then hatch into a larva, commonly known as a caterpillar.

Larval Stage of moth eggs

Once the embryo egg has hatched into a caterpillar (Larval stage). The caterpillar first hatches from the shell that it has formed from, they then eat the shell.

The shell holds vital vitamins, proteins along with essential nutrients that the caterpillar needs to survive, these nutrients will also hold nourishment for their development and growth stages.

Once a caterpillar has hatched, it goes through a process. This is called an instar. Instar is the development stage for moth caterpillars. The caterpillar will go through a process called shedding and moulting, meaning their shell and skin (also known as Cuticle)  never grow with their internal organs. 

This happens for them to develop new skin whilst the caterpillar begins to form inside the shell. 

The moth caterpillars ( larvae) continue with their development by eating for a few months, however, in conditions that favour the caterpillars, they can stay at this stage for approximately 30 months, depending on the amount of food available, climate conditions and the species of the caterpillar itself.

Caterpillars consume on average around 2,700 times their own body weight, enabling them to develop for the next stage of their life cycle, the pupa stage. 

To round off this question, below is a brief guide to view to see about the life cycle of moths. 

  • Egg-laying takes 4-7 days.
  • Eggs hatch in 4-10 days.
  • Larvae eat for 2-3 months in favorable conditions or up to 30 months.
  • Metamorphosis (pupa) in a cocoon can take between 8-10 days (sometimes up to 50 days).
  • Adults usually mate and lay their eggs within 4-6 days of hatching

What do moths eat

There are two species of moths (clothes moths) that can be found on every continent worldwide.

The webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliell), As for their appearance they have a golden reddish color and the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). Their appearance is a pale tan color that has black spots on their wings

Both types of species of moth, the webbing and the case making moths will eat natural fibers that can be found in the home. Ranging from carpets, bedding, upholstery, clothing, curtains, drapes. It’s the moth caterpillar (larvae) of these species that cause much havoc against your valued clothing and items. 

These types of clothes moths will gorge on your favorite items of clothing, including synthetic materials. But these types of moths eat silk, cotton, wool, or any other natural fiber that they can locate.

Clothes moth larva is responsible for the destruction you find in your home. They leave holes in your garments and as they feed they also leave feces stains. This results in disposing of much-beloved clothing.

There is a cousin of the clothes moths that also wreak havoc in your home and that is the Pantry Moths. This is a common household pest. Just like clothes moths, it’s the clothes moth larva that does most of the destruction. It’s the same for pantry moths, it’s the pantry moth larva (caterpillars) that you will find in food items such as cereal boxes. 

If you have a moth infestation You can find out more about pantry moths and their removal, here

Moths being eaten as food

In parts of the African continent, moths are a major food source for people, too. In some African countries, they eat butterfly caterpillars and moths.

The Caterpillars are packed with protein and healthy fats, with scientific research suggesting 100 grams of dry matter of these insects provide energy levels of around 400 – 500 kcal, read more here. (An article was written by D. Doberman by the highly respectable Wiley online library) more than 100 percent of the daily requirement of some energy, fats, minerals, vitamins, and proteins are provided with moths and caterpillars. 

It’s been estimated that by 2050 there will be approximately 9.7 billion people living on the planet, and when there are such health benefits in eating these insects, you may even see them being sold in supermarkets and shopping stores!


Do moths die if you touch them

The good news is you don’t have to touch a moth to kill it. The bad news is their wings are so fragile, they’ll break and die even if you avoid that. Here’s what you need to know: Moths are nocturnal insects that are attracted to lights and will fly close to them to warm up. They are also sensitive to movement and can be killed by gently moving a lamp or other light source, or by moving a flower, book, or other object in the same room.

What does a moth turn into

The female moth after mating, lays eggs, each of which hatch into caterpillars life stage (larva) depending on where the female moth laid her eggs, mostly it will be next to vast amounts of plants. This allows the caterpillar to gain vital nutrients from the plants that are needed to develop into a fully formed moth.

Caterpillars of some moths only eat one type of plant, usually, it’s the leaves that are eaten, however, some caterpillars eat a much broader range, such as fruits (such as the Plum fruit moth), flowers (Schinia, commonly called flower moths), stems (the Stem-boring moths), and roots (Hepialidae and Noctuidae families of moths – are root eaters)

So to answer the question of what does a moth turn into, it’s actually the caterpillar that is the only stage of the life cycle that grows. It does this by forming a new soft skin under the old skin which it moults and splits, thus allowing the body to expand. Once the caterpillar is ready to transform it matures into the pupal stage ready to evolve as a moth.

What is the metamorphosis of a moth

The metamorphosis of a moth is one of the most amazing processes known to science. The larvae of this particular moth have their wings removed, undergo a complete transformation into a moth, and then are laid on the ground to eventually pupate and become a moth again, all in one single process. 

In the metamorphosis of a moth the caterpillar transforms itself into a winged creature and finally into an adult moth. The metamorphosis process is a series of changes or transformations that change a caterpillar into an adult moth.

Some of the changes are physiological, such as the growth of wings and wings emerging from the egg. Some of the other changes are the transformation of the larva into the pupa and changing into the adult moth.

How long do moths live without light

There are many types of moths. Some are active at night and can be seen with a flashlight. Others are nocturnal and can only be seen in the dark. Still others are crepuscular, active only during dawn and dusk. Moths are also found in various habitats.

Tropical moths can be found in tropical forests, while others prefer a wide range of habitats, from deserts to mountain regions. It is not unusual to find moths in places where humans don’t live.

Some moths are found near airports, power lines, and other man-made structures. Moths are fickle creatures and follow the seasons. 

Moths are also attracted to lights, so on a clear evening, you may see them flying in and around the lights of homes, attracting even more moths. 

When it comes to moths and light and all that hype, they’re all about science and facts. Moths live in the dark, so the more we can find out about how the moths live without the light the better.

Moths Live Without Light

How long do moths live without food


Moths can be found all over the globe. They are most often found in houses, where the moth larvae (caterpillars) eat clothes and fabrics along with other stuff such as fruits, cereal, and other food items.

The larvae diet consists mainly of a variety of textiles, but they are also known to eat animal meat, blood, hair, excrement, animal fats, and even human food that we feed on. 

Some insects that undergo metamorphosis are not intended to live long in their adult form.

These insects don’t eat in their adult form and live off remaining nutrients from their larvae cycle for a short period of time. The main point of their adult cycle is to reproduce. Since moths are egg layers there’s no need for them to live past the point of making the eggs that will hatch to become a future generation

Two species commonly known as clothing moths (Tineola bisselliella and Tinea pellionella) will survive as adults just as long without food as with it. To some extent, moths do eat. But they don’t have a fully formed moth that allows them to chew on solid foods.

Rather they suck fluid, so if you count that as eating then moths do eat. But as mentioned above moths do eat, moths feed on pollen, tree sap, animal sweat and tears, and rotting fruits. 

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