Common Clothes Moth

Click here for photo Photo ŠUniversity of Minnesota Extension Service
First of all, the adult stage (the moth) does no damage to fabrics or any other materials. In fact, during it's adult stage, it eats or consumes no food, living on what it consumes during the larval stage. It is this larval stage that this insect causes any damage by feeding on natural materials, wrapping itself in an open and chaotic web-mat of silk. Larvae are not
normally visible or obvious in their day to day activities. The silk is produced by a gland just under the head from a special spinneret. Larvae may reach a size of almost a half inch and incorporate their rather large fecal pellets into their web-like mass. The fecal pellets are often mistaken for "eggs."
Adult females lay their eggs, all within a couple of days, fertilized or not, on substances that will support the larval stages. Unfertilized eggs, of course, do not hatch, but fertilized eggs will hatch, in a matter of days, depending on the temperature, and the larva will then crawl away and hide. Larvae molt some four times before they construct a cocoon to pupate. Cast-off pupal skins can often be seen protruding from cocoons.
The Common Clothes moth, in the larval stage, is the most important pest of Man's natural materials, far more than the Case-bearing moth, which looks quite like the Clothes moth. And yes, these pests can go from life cycle to life cycle, right in your house, in your closet or attic.
To minimize the chance of either of these pests, have your natural material (wool, linens, etc.) dry cleaned after each use. DON'T put them away "dirty." Clothes moths prefer to dine on materials with traces of body oils, perspiration and urine, so if your items are absolutely clean, you'll worry less. Our bodies constantly exude minute amounts of these attractive chemical tags, and just ONE wearing is enough to attract these pests. The larvae can leave large holes in natural materials.
Fabric and carpet

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