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Clothes Moths

Biology and Life Habits

Clothes Moths are found throughout Canada. There are two types of clothes moths (case making and webbing) that may cause serious damage to feather filled upholstery, woolens, rugs, fur and a variety of fabrics.

The adult moths are about 10mm (1/2”) in size while the larvae is only 1mm in size. The adults are shiny buff in colour with black eyes. The female lays an average of 40 to 50 eggs on the threads of cloth or near it food service. In four to ten days the larvae emerge and start feeding on the fabric and can grow to be a size of 10mm (1/2”). This is the stage that causes the damage. The larva of the case-bearing moth is unique in that it spins a cocoon with the fibres of the fabric around itself.

Questions and Answers

Q. Can I do anything to prevent clothes moth infestations?
A. Regular inspection of clothing, carpets and other materials made of natural fibres is essential, as is regular cleaning of these materials.

Q. How do I know if I have an infestation of clothes moths?
A. Adult moths are poor fliers, and avoid light. Silken tubes will be evident in the hidden portions of clothes such as under collars, as well, holes in material may be present. In fur, the hairs may be clipped at their base causing loose fur and exposed hide. Cases can also be found in a crack or crevice away from the infested materials.

Q. What are their breeding habits?
A. Females lay an average of 30 to 50 eggs and attach them to material. The webbing clothes moth has a development time of 50 to 90 days. The female dies after the eggs are laid, whereas the male may live for up to 28 days. The case-making clothes moth has a developmental time of 46 to 116 days. Adult females live 3 to 8 days while the male lives 3 to 5 days.

Preparation Guidelines for a Clothes Moth Treatment 

1. Vacuum all rugs, carpet and upholstered furniture. Vacuum bag should be discarded upon completion

2. Any un-laundered wool, or natural fibre clothing should be laundered or at least placed in a hot dryer for one hour.

3. Furniture should be pulled away from the edges of rooms and closet floor, and shelves where insect activity has been seen should be cleared, so that the technicians will have access to all areas.

4. Vacate the premises during service and do not re-enter until at least 4 hours after treatment. Open windows for 20 minutes after re-entry, if possible.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, a single control measure may not be effective and an intregrated program conducted by the technician over a six month period may necessary.

If you have any questions after the service we would be happy to help. Please call.