If you have an infestation of clothes moths, you want to figure out how to get rid of them quickly. These pests do not care how much you value the clothing. Making their way inside your closet to quietly destroy garment bags and other clothing.

In addition, the larvae prefer to feed on the fibers of clothing originating from animal materials. Such as feathers, mohair, cashmere, fur, and wool clothing. Unfortunately, this includes your expensive vintage heirlooms that have been in cold storage for years.

Yet, there is good news. There are several ways to get rid of clothes moths that do not involve the use of pesticides. One of these pest-free methods is using mothballs or moth balls or hiring a pest control expert like A.N.T. Pest Control to eradicate these pests.

The process of pest control involves three steps--identification, cleansing, and taking precautions against future infestations.

How to Prevent Moths from Eating Your Clothes

How to Prevent Moths from Eating Your Clothes

Here are some standard methods to control clothes moths and prevent them from eating your clothing.

  • Don't tempt them with hiding spots and food.
  • Ensure to clean clothing made from natural fiber completely to remove sweat and body oils. Avert long-term storage.
  • Valuables should be stored in vacuum-sealed bags or airtight containers.
  • Inspect areas regularly for clues to infested items by moths. Rotating clothing inside a closet ensures items don't languish in dark areas.
  • Store clothes for special occasions in garment bags with sealed openings.

Treating fabric with Pyrethrin insecticides by spraying it directly on cloth, cleaning it, or freezing it is ineffective. Use adhesive boxes or moth traps with artificial pheromones to attract adult moths and monitor an infestation.

Types of Clothes Moths

There are several species of moths and beetles capable of wreaking havoc on items inside your home.

One species, the Webbing clothes moth, is a quarter inch long with a 1/2 inch wingspan. Its coloring is yellowish-gray to gold with reddish-gold or copper hairs.

There are several species of carpet beetles that attack natural fibers, such as cotton fibers, feathers, wool, fur, silk, and pet hair. The immature larvae are what actually create more damage than adult beetles.

Casemaking clothes moths, Tinea Pellionella and Tineola bisselliella are two species with similar sizes but differing characteristics.

The Life Cycle of a Clothes Moth

The clothes moth's larval stage is cream white, and caterpillars grow nearly one-half inch long. It can take from a month to two years for the larvae to develop into moths. Development depends on the environment, food sources, and factors allowing the larvae to spin patches or silken tubes.

Moths lay eggs on fabric and other materials that kill insects and feed on the dead insects. They glue the insects in place so that when the larvae hatch, they can begin eating and spinning webs, further damaging material with the holes left behind.

Adult moths live for another 15 to 30 days; males usually die after mating with the egg-laying female. In favorable environments, 75 Fahrenheit with 70-75% humidity, the moth's life cycle is complete in a month. However, decreased humidity and temperatures can cause the larvae development to slow down. Heated buildings permit year-round development in clothes moths.

Adult Webbing Clothes Moths are Sometimes Mistaken for Grain-Infesting Moths, like the Indianmeal Moth

Adult Webbing Clothes Moths

Sometimes, one can confuse clothes moths with carpet beetles or pantry moths. The adult webbing clothes moths have a small bunch of red hairs on their head and a uniform buff coloring.

Males appear similar to casemaking clothes moths but with darker specks on their wings. Adult clothes moths do not eat or create harm to fabric. Yet, they will lay approximately forty or fifty eggs the size of a pinhead. When these eggs hatch, webbing clothes larvae look like tiny, cream-colored worms with blackheads.

As adults, their wings are narrow with long hairs on the fringe. They are often confused to be grain infesting pests like the Angoumois grain moth and Indianmeal moth. These moths find light attractive, flying around in the daytime to avoid light.

North America has two clothes moth species that are popularly found in homes. These are the casemaking clothes moth, Tinea Pellionelia, and the webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella. Both are similar-sized with varying descriptive characteristics.

The casemaking clothes moth has a 1/2-inch wingspan and is one-quarter of an inch. The hairs on the head are gold, with spotted, brownish wings.

Signs of Clothes Moths Infestation

Clothes moths are a serious pest of stored fabrics, washing clothes, and home furnishings. Recently, moth infestations are getting more popular. You will come across a clothes moth more often than a casebearing moth.

These moth species are extremely harmful when they feed and nest on furs, wool, and blended or natural fabrics. Rarely will blankets or clothing become infested, nor rugs that receive lots of traffic or routinely vacuumed carpet edges. However, underneath carpets or furniture, they are often subjected to infestation.

The webbing clothes moth adults have golden-colored wings. There is a fringe of hair on the sides of both the front and back wings, no patterns, and a 12-17 mm wingspan. Its head has reddish hairs on top.

Webbing clothes moth larva have dark-colored heads creamy-white bodies, and are approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of an inch.

Casemaking Clothes Moth Larvae Feed and Move About Within a Tubular Case

Casemaking webbing clothes moth larvae enclose themselves inside a tubular case with an open end. Allowing it to drag it around wherever it travels. The case incorporates the natural fibers of silken cases into the material the larva feeds on.

In addition, larvae feed on wool and cloth as well as animal fibers like mohair, fur, feathers, hair, and other blended fabrics like natural fibers.

Dry Clean or Wash Clothes

Most effective way to kill moth larvae

The most effective way to kill moth larvae is dry cleaning. It is well worth the cost when you need to clean wool sweaters or jackets. You can also wash items in very hot water exceeding 120 Fahrenheit.

You can kill the eggs, larvae, and adult moths by laundering things in hot water for twenty to thirty minutes. Place items that are non-washable into a Ziploc bag and freeze them for two weeks; this will kill the pests. Before removing the dead bugs from the plastic bag, thaw it completely at room temperature.

Clean the Affected Area

Before you can clean, you must find the infested items. Verify any materials that contain wool, such as hats, jackets, rugs, hides, and brushes with natural bristles. Take these items away from the infested area and vacuum thoroughly. Also, wash infested materials with hot, soapy water.

Fabrics made of synthetic and cotton, like rayon and polyester, are rarely infested. Unless the material has wool blends or heavily soiled by body oils or food stains.

Moth eggs are so tiny you can suck them up using a vacuum. However, seeing one moth doesn't guarantee a moth infestation.

After vacuuming dark corners, get rid of the vacuum bag and throw it away immediately outside since it likely is filled with larvae and eggs.

Preventing Future Infestations

Sometimes, an infestation starts in the attic, chimney, wall cavity, or bird and animal nests. You should launder, dry-cleaning, or throw away any infested items.

Any infested materials or items should be heavily bagged prior to disposal to avert the spread of a moth infestation.

There is limited use for insecticide sprays because these pests hide inside places the sprays are unable to penetrate.

You can kill fabric pests currently in existence using DDVP resin strips. Pests are particularly attracted to fabrics containing urine stains, sweat, or food.

Clothes moths and the larvae prefer wool, cashmere, fur, and other fibers of animal origin. Thus making your heirloom and vintage antiques look more attractive to these pests.

Pheromone ‘Baited' Traps Can Help Detect Infestations

Pheromone Baited Traps Can Help Detect Infestations

Another way to monitor clothes moths is with pheromone traps. Because clothes moths have their own special odor, it is imperative to know what clothes moth larvae you are dealing with. Pheromone traps kill the adult male moths and prevent them from mating and reproduction.

Additional Tips for At-Risk Groups

The requirement to kill moths requires volatile oils in highly concentrated amounts. Contrary to common beliefs, cedar closets or cedar chests rarely deter clothes moths due to an insufficient seal. If you like the scent of cedar, you might want to do this; however, don't depend on it to prevent damage.

Return items to their proper storage at room temperature, inside a sealed plastic bag for prevention of condensation damage.

Contact Us to Get Rid of a Webbing Clothes Moth Problem

If you are concerned about clothing moths or other structural pests, contact A.N.T. Pest Control. We can get rid of  moths pest and protect your upholstered furniture and storage areas from the damage they cause. Contact us today by calling 815-215-7211 to schedule an inspection and get a free estimate.

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1200 S Cedar Rd #2D/E
New Lenox, IL 60451


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