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Identifying Clothes & Carpet Moths - Webbing Clothes Moth / Case-Bearing Clothes Moth

Webbing Clothes Moth

Identifying Clothes Moths

The most common clothes moths are the Webbing Clothes Moth, easily identified with a golden color and around half an inch in length, and the Case-Bearing Moth, which can be identified about ½ inch long and their forewings are mottled brown with one large and a few smaller indistinct black spots.

These moth species can attack clothes and other home textiles, and are commonly known as clothes moths or carpet moths depending on where their larvae are found causing damage.

 

Identifying Clothes & Carpet Moths - Webbing Clothes Moth / Case-Bearing Clothes Moth

It is important to note that Clothes Moths and Carpet Moths are not separate species - the species of moths that attack clothing and carpets are the same - they are commonly called ‘clothes’ or ‘carpet’ moths depending on where they are found and what fabrics they target.

It's also important to note that these moths are looking for animal based fibers to lay their eggs - think wool, merino, cashmere, silk, feather, fur.

The reason that it is Animal based fibers only is that the larvae of clothes and carpet moths feed on keratin - a protein found in animal fibers, and also in dust. A large proportion of dust is made up of human skin cells and hair shed day to day in homes.

To be really clear, plant based fabrics such as cotton, hemp and flax, and obviously synthetic fabrics, will not be eaten by moths unless they are badly stained with food and / or sweat, and then there is a small chance they might be damaged.

There are two main moth species that cause most of the damage to clothing and home textiles. They are the Webbing Clothes Moth and the Case-Bearing Moth.


Webbing Clothes Moth (Common Clothes Moth)

The Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella) is also known as the Common Clothes Moth or simply Clothing Moth.

Easily identifiable with a golden color and around half an inch in length. Webbing Clothes Moths will most commonly be seen flying just after pupation and a sudden occurrence will often happen with warmer weather in Spring. The transition from winter to spring triggers pupation and the move to the next lifecycle stage. Flying clothes moths are usually looking to mate.

Webbing Clothes Moth  WebbingClothes Moths on Trap

 

As the adult webbing clothes moths mature, they will be less active and prefer dark, undisturbed areas and that is exactly the environment where they will lay their eggs - to be undisturbed and on the animal fiber based food source that will be needed by the larvae to survive after they hatch.

Less used corners of closets or drawers, fitted carpets under furniture that is rarely moved and wool rugs are particular favorite places for egg laying. Rugs are also a target because it is easy for the larvae to crawl underneath and do their damage from below. Webbing Clothes Moth larvae will also crawl under baseboards in search of darkened areas where debris has gathered and which consequently contains food.

The eggs are tiny, most being under 1 mm long and barely visible. A female will lay several hundred during her lifetime. Egg placement is carefully chosen in locations where they will have the best chance for survival.

The eggs are attached with a glue-like substance and can be quite difficult to remove. After the egg hatches, the clothes moth larva will immediately look for food. Clothes moth larvae can obtain their required food within two months to progress to the next stage of their life-cycle, but if conditions are unfavorable they will feed intermittently for a long time. Whether it takes two months or two years, each larva will eventually spin a cocoon in which it will pupate and change into an adult Webbing Clothes Moth. Clothes moth larvae stay in these cocoons for between one and two months and then emerge as adults ready to mate and lay eggs.

Contrary to what most people believe, adult moths do not eat or cause any damage to clothing or fabric. It is the clothes moth larvae which are solely responsible for damage to clothing and carpets, and which spend their entire time eating and foraging for food.


Case-Bearing Moth

The Case-bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella) is widespread within North America. The adults are typically encountered during summer and early autumn, but Case-bearing Clothes Moths that live in human dwellings may be seen all year-round.

The adults of this small moth are about ½ inch long and their forewings are mottled brown with one large and a few smaller indistinct black spots. The hindwings are plain pale brown-grey. Both the forewings and the hindwings are edged by a hairy fringe.

Case-Bearing Clothes Moth  Clothes Moth Larvae

 

The case-bearing moth larvae eat keratin, similarly to webbing clothes moths, and found in animal based fabrics - clothing and home textiles including carpets and rugs. The Case-Bearing Clothes Moth builds itself a portable case out of debris such as fibres and hairs, in which they can hide.

 

Clothes Moth Traps

MothPrevention clothes moth traps contain specific pheromones that will attract the male Webbing Clothes Moth and male Case-Bearing Moths - the pheromones differ from those needed to catch pantry moths (Indian Meal Moths being the most common). This is why it is so important to identify the species that you believe to be a problem.

Our pheromones are highly effective and engineered in Germany - they have been proven through lab tests and customer feedback to be superior to those made in the USA and China. They are a small price to pay to protect your investment pieces and precious home textiles.
Clothes and Carpet Moth Control.

 

Other Species

Even though they are by far the most common, you may not recognise your moths as the ones above; it may be that you have White-Shouldered Moths or Brown House Moths, both of which can damage clothing.


Clothes and Carpet Moth Control

We have prepared easy to follow, step by step guides to guide you through dealing with Clothes and Carpet Moths:

How Do I Stop Moths Eating My Clothes?
10 Steps To Clothes Moth Prevention
How Do I Get Rid Of Carpet Moths & Carpet Moth Larvae?
7 Steps To Carpet Moth Treatment
How Do I Stop Moths Eating My Clothes? - 10 Steps To Clothes Moth Prevention 01-4How Do I Get Rid Of Carpet Moths & Carpet Moth Larvae? - 7 Steps To Carpet Moth Treatment

 

About MothPrevention®

MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their clothes moth issues - clothes moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.

To date, we’ve helped over 100,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones, not available from anybody else in the USA, and engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.

What is Cashmere and why is it so expensive?
The Difference between Cashmere and Wool

About Author

MothPrevention Expert
MothPrevention Expert

The MothPrevention® team has been providing moth solutions for over 10 years and has over 125,000 satisfied customers. With a collective wealth of knowledge we’re able to help our customers with their clothes moth, pantry moth and carpet moths problems. Our professional grade MothPrevention products are engineered in Germany and the USA, and proven to be effective by Homeowners and Pest Controllers.

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