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Clothes Moth - Flying Insect Library - Saferbrand

Clothes Moths

Although you may see a moth flying around in your clothes closet, it will not eat your clothes as an adult. The clothes moth is only destructive during the larval stage.


However, spotting any clothes moths in your closet should be cause for alarm, because if the moths are there, most likely larvae are too or will follow soon. Check your clothes carefully. Using a clothes moth trap such as the Safer® Brand Clothes Moth Alert can warn you of a clothes moth infestation as well as trap the male moths, thus breaking the breeding cycle. Effective moth control begins with Safer® Brand's clothes moth trap.





So... What's a Clothes Moth?

The adult clothes moth is about 3/8" in length and has gold or shiny beige colored wings. The larvae are shiny, cream-colored and are about 1/2" in length. The eggs of the clothes moth are tiny and ivory or cream colored.


The clothes moth is only destructive during the larval stage. Clothing, upholstery, curtains and other furnishings may be ruined by the holes created when the larvae feed.


In fact, just about anything made of natural fibers is potentially susceptible to damage by clothes moth larvae. Adult moths or "millers" do not cause any destruction.





Reproduction Patterns of Clothes Moths

Within just three weeks after emerging from pupating, adult female moths deposit their eggs on soiled or unlaundered clothes so the hatching larvae will have nourishment immediately.


The female fastens the eggs to the material with a glue-like substance that is hard to remove. It is at this point that the female and the male moth die.


After the larve emerge from the eggs, they may build a tunnel-like structure from which they reach out to feed on the soiled material. After feeding for two months or more, they will spin a cocoon to pupate.


After pupating for about 2-3 weeks, the clothing moth emerges as an adult ready to mate and the cycle continues. The number of generations vary with the climate and environment, but it may be continual under ideal conditions.





Clothes Moth's Habitat

Clothing moths prefer moist areas since they do not consume water. They receive moisture from the clothing they eat. Dirty clothes offer the moth moisture in the form of human sweat or stains that are on the clothes.


In addition, moths can manufacture a protein from the clothing fibers into nourishment.  Clothing moths are therefore usually found in old clothing and blankets in attics or basements. They may be found under older natural fiber rugs where they can hide while they feast on the rug. Using a product such as the Safer® Brand Clothes Moth Alert is the number one way to determine if you have a Moth problem and will trap the male moths, thus breaking the breeding cycle.





Images courtesy of Oklahoma State University and Forestry Images.
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