Clothes moths are destructive and their presence is an annoying. Spraying clothing with pesticides is not the solution. These moths only feed on animal fibers. Animal fibers contain keratin that they need. Animal fibers include wool and cashmere, from sheep, and silk, from silkworms. Clothes moths do not attack plant cloth fibers like cotton, bamboo and hemp.
Clothes moth identification and habits
Using a wool rug as an example, this video shows adult clothes moths, and the larva stage and frass or droppings from the larva. The pregnant female moth tastes the fabric she is laying her eggs on before laying 40 or 50 eggs. These eggs hatch into larva. Larva damage the fabric by eating their way through it, usually pulling a cocoon made of the fibers along with them and leaving a sandy frass excrement. The adult and larva prefer dark places. When inspecting for clothes moths look under furniture like sofas, pianos, tables or in the back of your closet at items you haven’t worn in a while.
Sanitation is the key
Sanitation is the key to clothes moth pest control. This means on your carpets using a vacuum with a beater bar to removing dirt and eggs. Vacuum thoroughly including the edges and the edge of the stair risers. Every few years have your carpets steam cleaned. In your closet hang items with space between them. Segregate your animal fibers that may be attacked. Dry clean or get your clothes in the sun at least once a year to minimize attack. Dry cleaning is expensive and an alternative is to lay you susceptible fibers in a sunny room and let the heat drive out any larva. We can’t offer a spray service, but can offer an inspection. Contact us now.
Mistake #1, Thinking worn once is clean.
In spring, a cool day hits and you wear a sweater. Your oils get on the sweater when you handle and wear it. Just because you didn’t spill anything on it does not make it clean. Then the sweater is put back in the closet, quickly pushed behind a pile of cotton shirts, where it is open to attack. A female moth likes items in the dark, and prefers items with oils on them.
Mistake #2: Keeping items you will never wear.
Things you don’t wear and haven’t worn in years are like a Typhoid Mary of your closet. These clothes are inevitably in the back of the closet or under other items. Moth larva happily feed on these clothes unnoticed leading to issues in your closet. Get rid of items you don’t wear.