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UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
669 County Square Dr. Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003
Phone: 805.645.1451
Fax: 805.645.1474

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Cloths Moth

 
The adult clothes moth is a 1/4 to 3/8-inch long tan to yellowish insect. It has narrow wings fringed with long hairs. The female will lay her eggs on wool or other animal fibers. The larva that hatch will grow into 1/3-inch long white to cream colored worms with a dark head at maturity. In this growth process, they will eat wool fibers, creating a hole from 1/8 to 3/16-inch in diameter. All unprotected animal fabrics are susceptible to damage – clothing, rugs, wall hangings, and furs.
 
Sanitation is an important part of wool moth control. Do not permit excessive dust and lint to accumulate. Vacuum clean hard-to-reach places behind furniture, along baseboards and moldings, and in air ducts. Old wool garments (discards), fabrics, and furs should not be stored, unless they are placed in moth-proof enclosures. If this is not done, the wool fabric or fur item can act as a breeding place for moths, which can infest the rest of your home. Never store wool items which are soiled. Oil, grease, food, sugar, etc., make wool even more attractive to the female moth. If you have wool rugs, move the furniture on the rug regularly, so that all parts of the rug are used and cleaned periodically. When you put wool items in storage, they should be clean and treated with commercial fabric treatment product. Besides treating, the items should be placed in tight containers. The storage place should be relatively cool and dry.
 
If you have an infested item of clothing or a fur, have it dry cleaned or iron it. The ironing heat will kill insects in the garment. The item may also be placed in a plastic bag and stored in the freezer for several days. Freezing will kill any eggs, larva, pupa or moths in the garment.