The evolution of the moth trap: From ancient methods to modern innovations


Throughout history, humans have been engaged in a continuous battle to safeguard their precious belongings from the tenacious grip of moths. The journey from ancient, nature-based deterrents to the scientifically advanced traps of today reveals a rich tapestry of innovation, adaptation and resilience. As we delve into the chapters of this enduring conflict, from its historical roots to the modern-day prowess, we witness a testament to humanity's ingenuity and determination in ensuring protection against these persistent pests.

Historical beginnings:

From ancient times, the battle against clothing moths wasn't merely about repelling them but understanding their tendencies. Observations revealed that moths had a penchant for stored grains and fabrics, particularly natural fibers like wool and silk rich in keratin, a protein moth larvae crave.

Acknowledging this, early humans sought natural deterrents. Cedarwood was a top choice, complemented by herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and peppermint. These aromatic substances did more than just perfume storage spaces; they played a role in deterring moths.

Protecting garments and grains involved using artfully crafted containers, predominantly wooden boxes showcasing the era's intricate craftsmanship. Whether hand-carved or made with interlocking wood pieces, these containers often had ornate designs or inscriptions, echoing the era’s aesthetic and functional sensibilities. Within these chests, layers were infused with natural repellents. One could imagine the sensory experience of opening such a box, being greeted by the earthy scent of cedar interspersed with lavender or rosemary notes, forming a fragrant shield against moths. Strategically placed between stored items, these herbs and oils ensured an ongoing protective layer.

Beyond just safeguarding against pests, this method also imparted a pleasant aroma to the stored items. These age-old storage techniques underscored the dual purpose: security and sensory delight. While the precise science behind these deterrents remained shrouded in mystery, their consistent use highlighted a basic grasp of moth behavior and a keen desire to preserve cherished belongings.

The age of innovation:

The 20th century heralded an era of rapid advancement in numerous fields, and moth control was no exception. Scientific understanding grew, leading to the development of sophisticated moth traps and repellents. Synthetic pheromones, which mimic the scent of female moths, were introduced to lure male moths into sticky traps. This marked a significant departure from merely deterring moths to actively trapping and eliminating them.

However, as with many chemical innovations of the time, there were caveats. Many of the early moth traps and repellents contained substances that were effective yet toxic. 

A lesson learned from mothballs:

Mothballs, for many years, stood as the primary defense against moths in countless households. Their key ingredient, naphthalene, was touted for its effectiveness.


But as is often the case, there was a hidden price to pay. Continued exposure to the fumes of these mothballs resulted in ailments ranging from headaches and nausea to more severe consequences like liver and kidney damage. This awakening to the hazards inherent in a once-trusted method propelled the search for safer alternatives.

In the wake of this, products like Dr. Killigan's emerged as beacons of change. Unlike the questionable methods of the past, Dr. Killigan's marries efficacy with safety, serving as a testament to how far the industry has come. In today's context, the lessons from the mothball era are pivotal. They emphasize the importance of not just repelling pests but doing so in a manner that doesn't jeopardize the health and well-being of households.

Present-day prowess:

In today's era of modern innovation, the emphasis on moth control has expanded beyond just elimination to include prevention. The battle against moths has seen breakthroughs that are as effective as they are safe for the environment and its inhabitants.


Leading the charge in non-toxic and highly efficient moth control and prevention is Dr. Killigan’s range of moth traps. These traps are a testament to how science and nature can come together to offer solutions that are both effective and harmonious. 

Dr. Killigan's Pantry Moth Traps:

  • Designed specifically to combat common kitchen nuisances, Dr. Killigan’s Pantry Moth  Traps successfully catch Indian meal moths (Plodia interpunctella), almond moths (Cadra cautella) and a variety of other food moths.
  • Emphasizing safety, these traps offer a natural solution that's safe for both humans and pets. So, as you protect your kitchen from pests, you're doing so without introducing harmful chemicals.
  • The traps feature Dr. Killigan’s Advanced Blue Stripe Formula—a blend of double-potent moth pheromones combined with the stickiest glue, a design proven to outdo all other pantry moth traps in efficacy.
  • Each pack is available in quantities of 6 traps or 20 traps, with each being effective for up to three months. This longevity ensures consistent protection for your pantry staples like cereals, grains, beans, nuts and much more from the damaging moth larvae. 

Dr. Killigan's Clothing Moth Traps:

Dr. Killigan's Cedar Planks:

A natural addition to the Dr. Killigan's line, the Cedar Planks serve as the first line of defense against the notorious clothing moth. These planks are designed to be effective against various clothing moths, including web-spinning moths and case-making moths.


The aromatic eastern red cedar, sourced from renewable forests in the USA, not only repels moths but also provides a fresh scent to safeguard wool, fur, leather and other keratin-rich fabrics. Offering four-season protection, these cedar planks complement the brand's comprehensive approach to moth prevention and control.

With such advancements, homeowners can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their homes are safeguarded by solutions that are as environmentally-friendly as they are effective against an ever increasing threat of pests. The future looks bright, and it's clear that the evolution of moth traps will continue to prioritize both efficacy and safety.

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