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The Clothes Moth


The Common Clothes Moth

 Tineola bisselliella



An introduction to the common clothes moth.


These small but damaging little moths have even been mentioned in the bible "Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth eaten" (James 5:2) So we can see these moths have been causing havoc in houses ever since roman times. But for a long period they were on the decrease, the 60s,70s and 80s saw a general decline in there population , perhaps this was due to the increased use of Manmade synthetic materials being used in carpets and clothes.


Synthetic materials do not contain the Keratin which the larvae (Maggots) need to feed upon only natural fibres such as wool,fur and feathers do and unfortunately these natural fibres are normally of greater value than there synthetic counterparts. They are also very interested on feeding on materials which have small deposits of


More recently there has been a huge increase in numbers effecting households. No one as yet is quite sure why but our warmer climate may be a contributing factor.

Now for a closer look into clothes moths.




Adults are between 6 - 8 mm Long. The forewings are a shiny golden buff colour whilst the end of the wings look frayed or fringed. The adult females do not fly but run around.




All moths follow the complete metamorphosis life cycle going through Egg-Larvae-Pupa-Adult stages. The eggs are very hard to see having been laid by the mated female deep within the material. Once laid the egg hatching time is very dependent on temperature but during the summer it will typically take between 4-10 days.


Having hatched they are now in the larval stage, this is when they cause damage feeding on the keratin within the carpet or material. The small maggots are approx 1mm long and grow through a series of moulting stages during which they normally camouflage themselves beneath mats of webbing which they produce. As mentioned Wool, fur and feathers consist primarily of keratin which is a very indigestible protein. But these insects have adapted to be able to feed on this diet.


keratin on its own does not provide a sufficient diet for the normal development of these insects. It lacks certain vitamins. So you will often find them feeding on areas which have small traces of sweat urine of food on them.


When full grown they can be up to 12mm long, this can take anything from 35 days to 2 and a half years. When ready the larvae will spin a small silk case around themselves in which they will undergo their biggest change into adult moths As adults they do not feed just look for a mate and so start the process all over again.




             Clothes Moth Maggot                          Clothes Moth Frass       

                   Clothes Moth Larvae                                                Frass          


Signs of Clothes moth infestation


I am sure we have all seen holes appearing in clothing but other signs to look for are


1. Webbing on the material/carpet small slug trail like areas of fine webbing.

2. Patches of carpet being eaten from beneath furniture often in darker less accesable areas

3. Frass, this is a mixture or chewed up material, webbing and droppings.

4 .Cast pupal skins.

5. Adult moths crawling on the carpet.


Treatment and control


There is no doubt the biggest enemy of the clothes moth is the vacuum cleaner and whilst DIY products can sometimes control smaller moth infestations, a professional moth control service will be required for larger or ongoing infestations.


At Guardian Pest Control we have a range of powerful insecticides and various methods to deal with clothes moths to provide you the reassurance that the problem has been fully dealt with. For futher advice or treatment options feel free to give us a call


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