Clothes Moths

Natural Clothes Moth Control

Clothes moth larvae in a carpet.

Clothes Moths (Tineola bisselliella)

The common clothes moth is a small, metallic gold, nuisance pest that flies around in front of the TV at night or sits on the wall next to your bed.

By contrast, case bearing carpet moths are larger and grey in appearance.

Clothes moths have a distinctive golden colour.

NEW, 2020 Clothes Moth Research

Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) & Pale-backed clothes moth (Monopis crocicapitella)

  • Properties built before 1960 are more at risk from clothes and carpet moth infestation.
  • Older properties contain more structural gaps through which moths enter – chimneys, wall vents, attics, 
  • Cluttered and densely furnished properties have higher moth populations because they are harder to clean.
  • Properties with exposed, non-tongue-and-groove floorboards have higher moth activity because moths develop below floors.
  • Properties with dogs and cats are at higher risk.
  • Densley packed clothing in wardrobes, drawers and laundry bins, that’s rarely aired is at higher risk of infestation and damage.
  • Clothing washed below 60˚C or not dry-cleaned is at higher risk.
  • Carpeted floors and other floor textiles not vacuumed at least once a month will be at higher risk.
  • Damp rooms or those exposed to higher humidity and heat often suffer most.

What Do Clothes Moths Feed On?

Moth larvae feed on animal-derived products and fibres made from a protein called keratin. Animal hair, fur, wool and feathers are all made from keratin.

In nature, the larvae develop in bird nests, on animal carcasses.

Heavily soiled or stained mixed fibre products are also attacked by larvae even though they are partly synthetic.

We often notice that carpets get stained by various means in bathrooms, toilets, and the corners of rooms where pets like cats and dogs may have previously defecated or urinated.

Fabrics Eaten By Clothes Moth Larvae

Hair based fabrics from goats, alpacas and rabbits
Angora – From the Angora rabbit
Mohair – From the Angora goat
Alpaca – From Alpacas
Cashmere or Pashmina – From Cashmere goats

Woollen fabrics from sheep
Merino wool
Dorset wool
Lincoln wool

Other materials attacked include leather, silk, felt and fur.

The moth larvae don’t always begin life feeding on your clothes, they begin feeding on your skin! Skin flakes from humans and pets build up in the dust under large items of furniture of which 70-80% is skin flakes.

How Are Clothes Moths Controlled?

A deep clean of carpets beneath and behind furniture can sometimes deliver outstanding results without the need for pesticides.

Many homes we visit have mothballs and pheromone traps throughout. Despite these common remedies, moths remain abundant.

Is this because the traps don’t work? No, the real reason is you are not cleaning or tackling these insects in the right places or in the right way.

Most of the real damage is caused to textiles in two specific locations and for two very different reasons.

Wardrobes, tightly packed with clothes enable clothes moths and their larvae to remain concealed and undisturbed.

Large items of furniture are the other reason for moth infestations. We visit properties with huge, heavy items of furniture that are almost never moved.

10 Steps For A Moth Free Home

  • Identify the worst affected carpets or garments
  • Ensure you have accurately identified the pest species
  • Deep clean all areas, carpets or garments
  • Set aside and protect clothing so storage can be treated
  • Focus on low-footfall areas of carpet not usually seen or cleaned
  • Decide if any damage necessitates disposal and replacement
  • Take photos of existing damage
  • Apply a holistic or residual pesticide spray or fog to affected areas
  • Compare photos after 8 weeks for signs of new damage
  • Repeat as required

Professional Moth Control

When you have tried everything else and your textiles are still in jeopardy, professional inspection and treatment is your very best option.

Professional residual sprays, fumigants and many other control methods offer outstanding results.

Insects closely associated with carpets and textiles include carpet moths, clothes moths and carpet beetles.

Further Reading

Bristol Pest Control Services – Local Places And Areas Our Pest Control Service Covers

Bristol – Clevedon – Portishead – St Annes – St Pauls – Bath – Sneyd Park – Fishponds – Eastville – Easton – Frenchay – Filton – Westbury – Stoke Bishop – Stoke Park – Southville – Long Ashton – Patchway – Bradley Stoke