The Mothball Remedy for Insect Repellents

Mothballs come in solid white balls and slowly turn into a gaseous pesticide that kills some insects.


However, mothballs don't repel all insects and misuse of mothballs can result in adverse health effects. .

Proper use of mothballs involves the fumes building up in airtight containers to kill the insects inside. Mothball product labels also direct users to avoid skin contact and to use gloves when handling mothballs.


Usage of mothballs outside of airtight containers can lead to people breathing in toxic fumes, causing coughing, wheezing, headache, nausea, vomiting and disorientation. These conditions often affect people with a history of impaired respiratory function.

Fun Fact

Mothballs don't affect all insects the same say. Naphthalene, which is the active ingredient of mothballs, has no visible adverse effect on the Formosan subterranean termite. In fact, these termites mix the chemical into the insulation layer of their tunnels to keep ants, fungi and nematode worms away.

About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.