Where do clothing moths live?

Where do clothing moths live?

The common clothes moth belongs to the family Tineidae. There are two species of this moth: the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). While the adult clothes-eating-moths themselves do not feed on fabrics, their larvae certainly do, creating “holes” of damage. 

In fact, the ever-increasing-presence of voracious eating larvae can both wreak havoc on and eat a plethora of natural fibers, including wool, silk, cashmere, leather, fur and other animal-based materials. These materials, you see, are rich in keratin, a protein that serves as a valuable source of nutrition for the clothing moth larvae. (The larvae have specialized digestive systems that allow them to break down and consume keratin, making these natural, animal-based fibers a preferred food source for them.)

Clothing moth

Where do clothing moths frequently live? 

Common hiding spots for clothing moths include closets, wardrobes, drawers and storage areas where clothing, blankets, rugs or upholstery made of natural fibers are kept. Clothing moths are attracted to dark, undisturbed areas with a moderate level of humidity.

Closets: Closets are dark, offering protection from light. Closets often go undisturbed, providing freedom from human activity.  Too, these areas offer moths a large space with multiple hiding spots and often contain a high concentration of clothing, which increases the chances of moths finding suitable materials for their larvae to feed on. (Your closet might just be a feast fit for a discerning moth palate.) And let's not forget the limited airflow that permeates these secretive chambers. Moths, you see, revel in stillness.

Wardrobes: Wardrobes typically have more potential hiding spots, cracks, crevices and hidden areas compared to closets. While both wardrobes and closets can provide suitable environments for clothing moths, wardrobes often have multiple compartments, drawers, shelves and intricate designs that can create additional hiding places for moths and their precious eggs. The presence of these various nooks and crannies in a wardrobe can make it easier for clothing moths to find secluded spots to lay their eggs and for larvae to hide and feed on clothing items. 

Drawers: While drawers can also be attractive to clothing moths, especially if they contain clothing made from natural fibers, the limited space and regular disturbance associated with opening and closing drawers make them less favorable compared to closets and wardrobes. 

However, it's worth noting that if infested clothing is stored in drawers, the moths can still cause damage and spread to other items.

Storage areas: Storage areas, such as attics or basements, often contain clothing, blankets, and other items made from keratin-rich materials, providing an abundant food source for moths and their larvae. In addition, these spaces can offer very secluded conditions (more so than closets or wardrobes) that moths seek for breeding and larvae development.

In these spaces, where do I look for clothing moths, their larvae and their eggs? 

  • Behind hanging clothes: Moths can hide behind hanging garments, especially towards the back of the closet or wardrobe where they are undisturbed.
  • Within folded clothing: Moths can lay their eggs within folds and creases of folded clothing items stored in closets, wardrobes or drawers.
  • In pockets or cuffs: Moths may lay eggs in pockets, cuffs or other small openings of clothing items.
  • On closet walls, shelves or drawers: Moths may attach their eggs or larvae casings to the walls, shelves or drawers of the storage area.
  • Along baseboards: Moths may crawl along the baseboards or edges of the storage area, especially if there are gaps or cracks where they can hide.
  • In accessories, shoes and bags: Moths can infest accessories, shoes or bags made from natural fibers, so check these items for signs of moth activity.
  • Within storage boxes: Moths can find their way into storage boxes, particularly if they are made of cardboard, have small openings or are not sealed. 

Where else do clothing moths live? 

While keratin-rich clothing items found in closets, wardrobes, drawers and storage areas may be a clothing moth’s primary target, these flittering pests are not limited to garments alone. They can also infest rugs, carpets, curtains and even upholstered furniture made of natural fibers. Any area in your home where these materials are present becomes fair game for these fabric-devouring intruders. 

When searching for clothing moths in rugs, carpets, curtains and even upholstered furniture, be sure to examine the following areas:

  • Undersides and backs: Lift or flip these items to inspect their undersides and backs. Moths may hide, lay eggs or form cocoons in these concealed areas.
  • Edges and seams: Examine the edges and seams of these items. These hidden crevices provide ideal spots for moths to lay eggs and seek refuge.
  • Tufts and fringes: Inspect tufted areas, fringes or tassels on rugs, carpets and curtains. Moths may lay eggs or hide in these intricate sections.
  • Between layers: If your upholstered furniture has removable cushions or covers, separate them and inspect the layers underneath. Moths may hide or lay eggs in these concealed spaces.

Will the moths, their larvae and their eggs be visible? What signs do I look for? 

During an inspection for clothing moths, it is unlikely that you will directly spot the moths themselves. These elusive creatures are primarily active at night and have a remarkable ability to hide in dark and discrete areas. However, you can still detect their presence by focusing on the signs they leave behind.

Keep a keen eye out for larvae and cocoons, which are often the most destructive stage of clothing moths. These small, white larvae or the pupal cocoons can be found within the fabric or hidden areas of your belongings. Additionally, be on the lookout for empty moth casings, remnants of the pupal stage, which serve as evidence of their life cycle.

Inspect your clothing, rugs, carpets and upholstery for visible signs of damage. Look for irregular holes or chewed fibers, as these indicate the presence of clothing moth larvae. If you notice silk threads, webbing or small tunnels within your belongings, it may be a telltale sign of webbing clothes moths, which create silk webbing as protective shelters.

Clothing moth trap

How do I protect my clothes from clothing moths? 

To protect your clothing from moths, it's recommended to store keratin-rich garments in sealed containers or garment bags, regularly inspect and clean your closet, air out stored items, vacuum the space, and use Cedar Planks. Cedar Planks are your first line of defense against the notorious clothing moth. Made from pure eastern red cedar wood and sourced from renewable forests right here in the United States, Cedar Planks provides four-season protection for wool, fur, leather, and other keratin-rich fabrics. 

By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps to safeguard your home and belongings, you can keep clothing moths at bay and preserve the integrity of your treasured fabrics.

Note: If you already have a clothing moth infestation, follow these steps to get rid of clothing moths and make a purchase of Premium Clothing Moth Traps straight away.

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