The Damage from Clothes Moths

The Damage from Clothes Moths

clothes moth


Clothes moths – pests that can destroy fabric and other materials. They feed exclusively on animal fibers, especially wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt, and leather. These materials contain keratin, a fibrous protein that the worm-like larvae of the clothes moth can digest. (In nature, the larvae feed on the nesting materials or carcasses of birds and mammals.) In certain instances, cotton and synthetic fabrics such as polyester and rayon are attacked when blended with wool, or heavily soiled with food stains or body oils. Serious infestations of clothes moths can develop undetected in dwellings, causing irreparable harm to vulnerable materials.

Facts about Clothes Moths



Clothes moths are small, 1/2-inch moths that are beige or buff-colored. They have narrow wings that are fringed with small hairs. They are often mistaken for grain moths infesting stored food items in kitchens and pantries. Unlike some other types of moths, clothes moths are seldom seen because they avoid light. They prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as closets, basements and attics. Similar-looking moths spotted in kitchens and other well-lighted areas are possibly grain moths originating from cereals, dried fruit, nuts, or other stored foods.

It is common to find the larvae feeding under cuffs, collars, and other hidden parts of clothing. Mature larvae feed on woolens beneath a constructed blanket of silk, feces, and pieces of the food source.


If infested, clothing, blankets, and tapestries should be laundered or dry cleaned, and stored in an airtight container or bag. Small carpets and throw rugs can be beaten and brushed while hanging from an outside line to remove most, if not all, eggs and larvae. Large area rugs, carpets and large infestation should be treated by a pest control professional.

Fun Fact:

Depending on temperature and humidity, total developmental time (from egg to adult) varies from one to three months and can extend up to three or more years in some situations.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Essential Pest Control for pest control in Tucson and surrounding areas.

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