Clothes moths are one of several insects destructive to certain types of fabric. Listed below are the more important facts regarding clothes moths:
- Only the larvas are destructive.
- Moths will eat: woolen clothing, wool rugs, furniture, wall hangings, hats, dolls and toys (especially imported), feathered products and down filled quilts and coats.
- Moths will NOT eat: vegetable products, silk (though the larva may “cut through” to utilize for the cocoon) or food in the kitchen.
- Moths avoid direct light — they usually infest articles stored in dark places and are not moved often.
- Moths can infest an entire home if left untreated.
From left to right: Webmaking Moths, Casemaking Moths and Moth Larva (Enlarged view)
There are two types of moths that are destructive to clothing:
Webmaking Moths are the most common species infesting homes in the United States (although the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area seems to have more Casemaker infestations).
Larva Webmaking Moths:
- Approximately 1mm (1/24 inch) long at birth
- White or translucent in color
- Live 55 days to 2 ½ years
Adult Webmaking Moths:
- Approximately ½ inch long
- Gold or light tan in color with fluffy pompadour of reddish-gold hairs on head
- Feathered wings
- Live 15 to 30 days
Casemaking Moths are the most common species infesting homes in the United States (although the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area seems to have more Casemaker infestations).
Larva Casemaking Moths:
- Not exposed, they are inside a “case”
- Create a silk casing in which it feeds and pupates
- Pupal stage often suspends vertically from ceilings and closet shelves near infestation
Adult Casemaking Moths:
- Smaller than webmaking moths at 1/3 inch to ½ inch long
- Brownish in hue with three non-distinctive dark spots on wings
- Feathered wings
- Live 4 to 6 days
Locating the point source of the infestation is critical to long-term control. Drycleaning infested clothing or fur is strongly recommended. Drycleaning infested clothing alone will fail if professional pest control is not performed before clothing is returned. Consult with your local pest control company for details regarding the proper treatment of your home.