Clothes Moth

Clothes Moth

Clothes-Moth
  • Common Name(s): Clothes Moth
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Tineidae
  • Common Species: Tineola bisselliella–Webbing Clothes Moth, Tinea pellionella— Casemaking Clothes Moth
  • Commonly Confused With: Other Moths and/or Butterflies; Especially Stored Product Moths

Characteristics

How to Identify?
First, let me start off by saying that Clothes Moths are not stored product pests. So, why add them? I am adding them because they are commonly confused with other stored product moths and need to be mentioned! Adult Clothes Moths have an iridescent-looking coloration on their wings. The wings of the webbing clothes moth are a golden or yellow color with bright red or orange hairs on the top of their head. The wings end in little tufts of golden hair. The wings of the casemaking clothes moth resemble those of the webbing clothes moth, but their wings are a brown or tan color with dark spots scattered about. Both of these moths are around a quarter of an inch long (0.25 in), though the webbing moths are slightly larger than their clothing counterparts. The larvae (juveniles) are yellow or cream colored with a dark red or brown colored head.

Habitat

Where do they live?
Clothes Moths live in any areas where they have a food source readily available. They can be in closets, boxes, chests, dressers, taxidermy displays, etc.

Food Source

What do they eat?
The adults, pupae, and eggs of Clothes Moths do not feed. The larvae are the pests. The larvae feed on wool, feathers, hair, leather, fish meal, lint, carpet, animal products, and other such materials. Common items that are fed on include, but are not limited to: scarfs, jackets/coats, toys, rugs, blankets, sweaters, taxidermy displays, and upholstered furniture.

Activity

What do they do?
The larvae do damage as they feed on any of the items listed above. The larvae of the casemaking clothes moth drags a silk cocoon around as they feed, increasing the cocoon size as they increase in size. This can make them even harder to locate because the cocoon is made from whatever material they are feeding on, which gives them the perfect camouflage they need to feast undetected.

Fun Fact

These moths can even be found in vents and ductwork where the larvae feast upon lint, hair, and other debris that is trapped inside (Potter n.d.). Clothes Moths are not attracted to light, unlike many other moths.

Source(s)

  1. Potter, M. F. (n.d.). Clothes Moths. Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef609
  2. Michigan State University. (n.d.). Clothes Moths. Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://pestid.msu.edu/insects-and-arthropods/clothes-moths/

Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist

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