Hazardous Effects of Clothes Moths in the Home

Notice holes in your favourite outfits? Clothes moths could be the culprit.

Clothes moths are fine to have around in a natural environment because they will feed on materials that would otherwise remain as unprocessed waste. But sometimes these bugs will find their way into your home, and that is not a good thing.

It is important to keep clothes moth away from your home. But if you spot them, there are strategies for treating them and removing them from the premises successfully.

Identifying Clothes Moths

Clothes moths are grey-brown in colour and are common in humid and warm regions such as Queensland and the northern part of New South Wales. The species of clothes moths found in Australia are the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the case-making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella).

The clothes and carpet moths are the same species. They are called “clothes” and carpet” moths depending on the type of fabric they attack and where they are found.

The larvae of the webbing clothes moth are tiny white grubs and are seldom seen. Case-making clothes moth larvae spin a silken tube for protection and will carry this around as they feed. You will see them attached to walks or pulling themselves across smooth floor surfaces.

The adults are tiny and emerge as buff- or straw-coloured moths with fringed wings. They don’t like flying and prefer to run across the surface of materials. Unlike many other moth species, they don’t like the light and stay away from lighted areas.

Image of moth larva

Are Clothes Moths Dangerous?

You won’t get sick from contact with clothes moths, but they can wreak havoc on your clothing, carpets, furniture and other personal belongings.

Do you know that majority of adult moths don’t have mouths, so they can’t bite anything? The lifecycle of a month starts from larvae, called caterpillars, before undergoing a metamorphosis and then emerge into an adult insect with wings.

Those rice-sized larvae are the menace causing the holes in your clothing. They love natural fibres, so will go after wool sweaters, coats, blankets, decorative objects, down pillows and comforters, carpets and rugs, drapes, leather and upholstered furniture, paper products, and more.

You can usually discover the damage in hidden places like underneath the collars or cuffs of clothing, in crevices of upholstered furniture, and the carpet under the furniture. They love it even more if the fabrics have food, perspiration, or urine stains on them.

And not only do they eat fabric, but some of them can also sting, causing skin irritation in humans.

Meanwhile, adult clothes moths are unable to bite because they lose their teeth and their mouths wither and disappear. In place of a mouth and teeth, adults develop a long, straw-shaped organ to drink liquids like nectar.

Knowing a clothes moth’s lifecycle is important, as it helps you target them at the perfect moment.

Having trouble with clothes moth? Call our team of professionals today!

How Do You Know You Have Clothes Moths?

Clothes moth infestation usually happens when articles of clothing, a piece of furniture, carpet or rug that have larvae on them are brought into the home.

They are very tiny and can be difficult to spot. It doesn’t also help that clothes moths stay in dark places and go into hiding when disturbed.

However, you will eventually notice mysterious holes in your clothes or see moths. If you’re sure you don’t have rodents that have taken sanctuary in your home, then the likely culprits are clothes moth larvae.

How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths and Prevent Future Infestation

First, you need to identify what the moths are feeding on. This could be your clothes, beddings or rugs, or furniture. Then, comes the treatment part.

  • For affected clothing that you want to keep, you can treat them by washing your outfits in hot water, freezing them, or dry cleaning. If you are concerned that there are larvae all over your closet, you may opt to treat all your clothes. For couches, carpets and other big items, hire a pest control company to help you.
  • Vacuum the infested places carefully to suck up any larvae left behind and to avert future infestations. Seal the items and dispose in an outside bin.
  • Regularly monitor your clothing and wardrobe and inspect your clothing at least once a year. Vacuum regularly and thoroughly, as well.

There are steps you can take to prevent future infestation of clothes moth.

  • Use pheromone traps, which can catch adult male clothes moths (but not case-making moths, sadly). Though traps won’t be able to reduce a population as it only requires one male to breed with all the females, they can tell you of moth presence in your home.
  • Control humidity in your home. The higher the humidity, the more moths can thrive. So, consider investing in a dehumidifier where you store your clothes and linens.
  • Store your garments in airtight containers for the reason.
  • Mothballs. They contain paradichlorobenzene (PBD) and napthalene crystals that produce toxic vapours.

When to Call a Pest Control Company

As discussed above, there are steps you can take to treat, control and prevent clothes moth infestation. You will need the expertise of a residential pest control company when the infestation has spread to larger items like rugs, carpets, sofas and pieces of furniture.

With other pests like rodents, termites, cockroaches, etc. DIY treatment methods are more likely to be ineffective and will only work in the short term. Pest control companies are still the smart choice as they have the knowledge, experience and the right tools and technology to identify, treat and control different bugs that may invade your property.

Tell Us How We Can Help You With Your Clothes Moth Problems

We work with a team of skilled experts who are fully trained in identifying and treating a wide range of pest problems. With help from the experts at Bob Gunn, you can enjoy your beautiful environment.

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