Moth vs. Butterfly

indian meal moth image

What Are the Differences Between Moths and Butterflies?

Many people enjoy watching moths and butterflies, but this can change when they find the flying insects indoors. When comparing moth vs. butterflies, it is clear the insects share some traits and behaviors. However, there are a few differences between moths and butterflies that can help residents identify an infestation:

  • Antennae – Butterflies have slim, clubbed antennae, while a moth’s antennae are wide and feathered.
  • Activity – Butterflies are active during the daytime, and moths are nocturnal.
  • Color – Most butterfly wings have bright, vibrant patterns, while moths generally blend into their surroundings in shades of brown and gray.
  • Wings – Butterflies lift both wings upright when at rest. Moths either lay their wings flat or fold them over their bodies like a tent.

The insects’ location and numbers can also give residents a clue to their identity. While several types of moths seek out home pantries, closets, and storage chests as food sources for their young, butterflies do not infest houses. One may wander in by mistake through an open door, but they will rarely appear in large numbers like moths.

Moth vs. Butterfly Damage

The main difference between moths and butterflies is the damage they cause. Depending on the species, moths deposit eggs on stored grains, plants, or fabrics. Their larvae eat everything around them when they hatch. This behavior leads to tainted food products, damaged gardens, and holes in clothing or upholstery.

On the other hand, butterflies do little damage. While their caterpillars also big eaters, they will not feed indoors.The insects may nibble on leaves, fruit, and wood in gardens in their larval stage. As adults, both moths and butterflies drink nectar and pollinate flowers, doing no damage in homes or yards.

Identification & Control

Knowing the difference between a moth and a butterfly helps homeowners identify their pest problem and seek out the best solution. For professional assistance, call the team at Western Pest Services.