What Are the Signs of Clothes Moths?
After a little time has passed it really is simple to find out that you have clothes moths, here are some of the warning signs:
- You'll see them: The adult moths are easy to see, you may even find some small maggot-looking larvae nestled in clothes or in other fabrics around the home like carpet and upholstery.
- Webbing and Silken Cocoons: Along fabrics, eggs are laid and hatch there into the fabric itself. Often you may find some silk webbing or a leftover cocoon from a now adult clothes moth.
- Holes and Damage to Fabrics: As the larvae grow they begin quickly to eat the fabric around where they were laid as eggs. The holes will look irregular and the size depends on how long the larvae have been undisturbed for.
How Can I Control a Clothes Moth Infestation?
There are some simple steps to help eliminate and avoid clothes moth infestations for the future. Some things to do right away include.
- Wash all Clothing & Linens: Before storing any fabrics ensure they are thoroughly laundered to remove stains, spills or sweat that attract the moths and feed their larvae.
- Regular Vacuuming: Vacuuming helps to remove moth eggs that you can’t see hiding in carpets and drapes. Ensure after you have noticed an infestation to vacuum out the closet and drawers where clothes are stored.
- Cedar Storage: A tip passed down over generations - cedarwood blocks, hangers or even cedar chests are great aids in preventing infestations. Cedarwood contains natural oils that kill the larvae of clothes moths.
- Keep Fabrics Airtight: Fabrics that are more prone to attack such as wool should be stored in airtight bags/containers to prevent access to the moths.
How Can I Get Rid of Clothes Moths?
Fiber-loving clothes moths are a familiar problem for many homeowners. They appear seemingly out of nowhere in your kitchen, clothes, basement or garage.
Trap Them - For easy clothes moth control, use our safe and non-toxic, TERRO® Clothes Moth Traps. The traps contain a powerful pheromone lure that attracts moths to the trap’s sticky surface where they get stuck and die. Simply place the moth traps in areas where moths are observed. TERRO® Clothes Moth Traps attract and kill the most common fabric loving moths.
Cold & Hot Temps - For quick removal of clothes moths, before washing clothes you can use extreme cold or heat to kill the moths. To use cold to kill off larvae and eggs, place your garments in a plastic bag and freeze them for 7 days. To use heat, put clothing in the dryer on high heat or sanitize to get rid of moths. Note that wool is a fabric that should never go in the dryer!
Once either hot or cold methods have been applied a cycle of laundry will remove any dead eggs, larvae, and moths and the clothes can be stored properly.
How Can I Prevent Clothes Moths From Entering My Home or Business?
There are some larger projects that can help to reduce the ways that moths find their way into the home.
- Ensure that rarely used clothing or linens are properly stored in airtight containers.
- Incorporate cedarwood into the business in a way that is reasonable: for a retail clothing shop perhaps, a cedar hanger or cedar clothes rack.
- Vacuum and inspect prone areas for moths.
- Minimize attractants by keeping clothing and fabrics fresh and clean leaving less for the moths to desire.
- Keep traps going on a regular basis to alert if a problem is present.
- Vacuum regularly to reduce attractants while also removing these bugs and their eggs
Are There Different Kinds of Clothes Moths?
There are four different types of clothes moths that can be found in the United States. The webbing and casemaking clothes moths are the most common but there are others that can be found in the home.
- Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella) – A somewhat shimmery appearance this is a tan colored moth. These moths are known for creating webs that are visible around their hatching area. They prefer dark and moist areas in the home.
- Casemaking Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella) – A grey and brown moth, interested in many things around the house. If this moth is not nesting in carpets, wool or clothes you may find it around a cobweb, around cracks in wallpaper, anything with small fibers that is can use to build a sheltered hideaway.
- Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella) – Brown in color with some dark spots, this is typically the most common house moth. These moths enjoy both fabrics and dried goods found in food storage areas.
- White Shouldered House Moth (Endrosis sarcitrella) – If not found in the home you might find these moths in bird nests as they enjoy animal-based fabrics and nest like materials.