There was a hole in one of my favorite gray sweaters when I took it out the closet this winter. It reminded me to talk about one of our favorite newsletter topics – the webbing clothes moth. In pest control, this is one pest that does not generate a lot of calls or interest, unless something has gone drastically wrong. In the 1997, we received a great deal of interest in webbing clothes moth service in southern New England after a mattress manufacturer used infested and untreated material in the mattresses they sold locally. About 12 months later, many customers homes had substantial populations of webbing clothes moths.
Webbing clothes moths may eat completely through infested material or may simply eat away the nap of the wool. The larval stage (worm like) is up to 1/2 an inch long and produces fecal matter that is granular and usually the same color as the infested material. Damage usually occurs in areas where clothing remains undisturbed for long periods of time, like closets and trunks. Integrated pest management approach: The key to prevent damage is to dry clean or otherwise clean items before storage, and store items in heavy duty plastic bags. We use monitoring glue boards in closets to inspect for clothes moths so action can be taken if they appear.