Clothes moths are well-known for damaging fur, cashmere, silk, felt, leather, wool, feathers, stored wool garments, coats, blankets, down pillows, carpets, rugs, decorative items, upholstered furniture, toys and animal trophies.
While finding adult clothes moths in your home or business is a concern, clothes moth adults do not feed so they cause no damage to fabrics or materials. However, the adults produce eggs which hatch into fabric-eating larvae.
There are two types of clothes moths - webbing clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) and case making clothes moths (Tinea pellionella). If you have a clothes moth infestation that requires professional treatment, knowing the type of clothes moth will help ensure that your infestation is treated right.
In homes or businesses, webbing clothes moth larvae feed on clothes, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, felt, animal hair, and stored wool. They especially favour soiled materials. During summer months or in heated homes or buildings, they are more prominent in numbers. Webbing clothes moths prefer and thrive in humidity.
Adult webbing clothes moths measure around ½ inch long. They have 2 long and narrow wings. Their wings and body are uniformly a buff or golden colour, and are free of any spots.
As larvae, they are most destructive. They weave their silken cases into the rugs or materials they are feeding on, and will build their cocoon in this same location, in which they pupate. Once they metamorphose into an adult clothes moth, they leave behind their ‘webbing’ debris.
Adult webbing clothes moths do not have functional mouthparts, and therefore do not feed.
In homes and businesses, casemaking clothes moths are pests of clothing, upholstery fabrics, rugs, carpets, blankets, fur, cashmere, silk or stored wool articles. They also have been known to feed on piano felts, brush bristles, hair from pets and even lint from woolens.
Adult casemaking clothes moths measure around ½ inch and like the webbing clothes moths, both their wings are long and narrow. The body and wings of a casemaking clothes moth is also buff /golden colour, but is a darker shade, with a more of a brownish tinge to the colouring. They are distinguished from the webbing clothes moths by spots on their wings.
During their larvae stage, where they are more destructive, they live in a small silken case that they carry with them wherever they go (hence their name). When they are ready to transition to the cocoon phase, they will crawl up walls, shelves or furniture to weave their cocoon. They may do so in cracks or crevices near or far from their feeding site, or they may do so directly above their feeding site. Casemaking clothes moths spin their cocoon such that it suspends downward, resembling bats hanging upside down from cave ceilings.
Adult casemaking clothes moths do not have functional mouthparts, and therefore do not feed either.
Learn more about how to get rid of moths.
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