Clothes Moths larvae can feed on and damage cotton, linen, woolens, furs and silk. They can also damage synthetics and paper when they feed on sweat, food or drinks that may be on the fabrics. There are two types of clothes moths:
- Webbing Clothes Moth. The larvae of these moths construct a "webbing" made of silken threads.
- Casemaking Clothes Moth. The larvae of these moths spin "cases" around themselves that they live inside while they feed.
The adults of both species of clothes moth are small, buff coloured moths that are not attracted to bright lights but tend to flutter about in dim corners. The moths survive throughout the year inside homes, although they are not common during the winter. Eggs are attached to the food material, and the hatching larvae begin to feed upon this material.
Carpet Damaged by Clothes Moth Larvae. Cast off skins and pupal cases, as well as live larvae are present in the debris.
Thorough, regular cleaning of areas where these pests could be found is needed. Vacuum baseboard areas, carpeting, furniture, air ducts and cracks around the edges of shelves and drawers to remove all lint. Clean clothing before storing it. Inspect the attic and remove old birds' nests. Screen windows and vents and caulk all openings through which the moths could enter. Use traps instead of poisons to control rats and mice so the dead rodents can be removed.
Regular thorough cleaning is often all that is needed to control small infestations of clothes moths. Elimination of heavy infestations, however, can be difficult. Thorough cleaning and the careful application of appropriate insecticides can usually prevent serious clothes moth damage. Complete elimination of the pests, however, may require opening walls and lifting carpets to find and remove the sources of the infestation.