The Webbing Clothes Moth is most commonly encountered Clothes Moth in the United States. Its common name comes from the silk webbing produced by the larvae, which characteristically covers over the area upon which the larva is feeding. This pest is found throughout the United States and the world.
Adult Clothes Moths measure about 1/2” from wing tip to wing tip, both wings long and narrow, with both body and wings a uniformly golden color. Mature larva are up to 1/2” long, whitish and shiny except for their brownish head.
Signs of Infestation
The Clothes Moths will leave behind silken tubes in the hidden portions of clothes, such as under collars and in silken mats or patches on material. Surface grazing of fibers and/or holes in material are present. In fur, the Clothes Moth will clip the hairs at their base causing loose fur and exposed hide.
Adult female Clothes Moths can mate and lay eggs immediately after emerging from their cocoon. Each female lays an average of 40-50 eggs, either singly or in small groups, over a 2-3 week period. The eggs hatch within 8-10 days in the summer, but may require up to 4 weeks in the winter. Developmental time for Clothes Moths (egg to adult) takes a minimum of 35 days, but can take as long as 4 years, depending on temperature and availability of food. Female Clothes Moths die after all their eggs are laid, usually in about 16 days, while males live an average of 28 days.
The Clothes Moth larvae feed on animal fiber material such as wool, hair, fur, etc. They will sometimes infest synthetic fibers when they are interwoven with natural animal fibers or are soiled. Outdoors, Clothes Moths have been found in the nests of birds and insects.
Adult Clothes Moths shun light and when disturbed, they quickly seek secluded/hidden places such as in fabric folds, etc.
Achieving control of Clothes Moths requires a multi-step process.
1.) A thorough inspection of infested and surrounding areas is essential.
2.) All clothing or fabric in the infested area should be removed and dry cleaned or washed and dried on hot setting, which will kill all stages of the Clothes Moth.
3.) Thoroughly vacuuming corners and cracks of shelves and drawers in the infested areas is the best way to ensure proper treatment of infested areas by your pest control technician. Make sure to dispose of the used vacuum bag immediately after cleaning infested areas to prevent spreading the infestation.
4.) Appropriate treatment by a trained and licensed pest control operator is almost always necessary to eliminate the remaining eggs and larvae of the Clothes Moths.