The clothes moth is the most common fabric moth. Adults are golden
colored with reddish golden hairs on top of the head. Wings, with a span of
about 1/2 inch, are fringed with a row of golden hairs. Because the moths
are weak flyers and not attracted to lights, they are usually found very
close to the infested items, such as in dark areas of closets.
The larva is the damaging stage of the clothes moth. Both species feed on
wool clothing, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, furs, stored wool, animal
bristles in brushes, wool felts in pianos, and fish meal in fish food.
Synthetics or fabrics such as cotton are fed on if they are blended with wool.
Larvae may use cotton fibers to make their pupal cases. Damage generally
appears in hidden locations such as under collars or cuffs of clothing,
in crevices of upholstered furniture, and in areas of carpeting covered by
furniture. Fabrics stained by foods, perspiration, or urine are more subject
Clothes moths can be controlled by a variety of methods, including periodic
dry cleaning or laundering, proper storage, freezing, heating, or fumigating
with dry ice, trapping, or using an insecticide. If humidity can be kept
low inside buildings, an environment that is not suitable for clothes moth
development will be created. Building construction that is free of many tiny
cracks and crevices also contributes to fewer clothes moth problems. Good
housekeeping practices are also important. Although most people can control
clothes moth problems themselves, some infestations are best handled by a
pest control applicator who has the equipment, materials, and experience
necessary to deal with a difficult control job.