Sweater with moth holes

Clothes Moth Infestations


Sweater with moth holesThe warm temperatures of spring may be your cue to store away your cold weather clothes items until next winter.  But what if, upon admiring that woolen pullover next fall, you spot holes chewed in the fabric, that make that garment look more like a piece of Swiss cheese?  Well, unfortunately, you may have a clothes moth infestation.

Clothes moths are responsible for attacking a variety of materials around a home.  Materials that are readily infested include sweaters, coats, upholstery, blankets and any other silk or woolen products. Furs, hair, leather and hides, animal trophies, feathers and dried meat products are also among the vulnerable items.

These materials are animal-based products and the insect pests which attack them have the unique ability to digest and use keratin as a food source.  Keratin is a structural protein which is a major component of hair, skin, horns, feathers, fingernails and animal hooves. The clothes moth cannot digest cellulosic fibers, such as cotton, linen or rayon. They also can’t digest synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon or acrylic. Therefore, they tend to leave these alone.

Clothes moths are small (about 1/2 inch), slender moths that are golden to brown in color. Clothes moths are not attracted to light and will be hiding in darker areas such as closets. Therefore, if there is an infestation present, you may see these moths on walls, close to the infested items, or even on the infested items themselves. Ironically, though adult moths may be found close to the infestation source, they are not capable of actually doing any damage.  The damaging life stage is actually the larvae, which resemble whitish-colored worms with brown heads.

If you believe you have a clothing moth infestation, calling a local pest control professional is a great decision!  At Ehrlich, our pest control professionals are trained to have a thorough knowledge of clothes moth biology and behavior, which aids in swift fabric pest detection.  Our pest control professionals will also provide treatment and recommendations for control and prevention of clothes moths.

Visit our Moths & Caterpillars Pest Guides to learn about various moth species.

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Do you have any clothes moth questions? Ask away in the comments below! 

Dr. Nancy Troyano

Nancy Troyano, Training Manager / Entomologist at Rentokil North America, is responsible for leading and supporting the development and training of Rentokil technicians throughout North America. Nancy works closely with Technical Field Trainers and Line-of-Business Managers to develop and implement a comprehensive training program for new and existing technicians. Nancy joined Rentokil after receiving her PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2009. Follow Nancy on Google+

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