Clothes moths are small (1/3 inch) and are rarely seen. They prefer to hide in dark places, in the seams of the fabrics and clothes their larvae are consuming.
When startled they fly weakly and then settle quickly into a dark place once again. If you see small moths flying freely about in a well lit place these are not clothes moths, they are grain moths. See our article on grain moths for control of the grain moth and their larvae.
Clothes moth larvae are so small as to be nearly invisible. The damage done by these larvae can be quite severe however. Disintegration of a fabric around a button hole or seam is usually the first sign of a clothes moth infestation. The larvae will feed upon any animal product including wool, felt, chamois, suede, or silk. They can destroy items such as wool rugs, wool suits, cashmere sweaters, couches and other furniture.
CONTROL---Empty the closet of all garments. Any item that can be dry cleaned should be and then when it is brought back inside the house it should be placed inside a tight container such as a cedar chest, garment bag or a tight closet and one of the Insect Guard insect strips hung nearby. These strips give off an insecticide vapor that not only kills the clothes moth and their larvae, but also other insects in the same location such as silverfish, carpet beetles, ants and roaches. Each 80 gram strip lasts for four months and will provide continuous protection for a 12 x 12 x 8 foot closet, 1152 cubic feet.
When the closet is empty vacuum thoroughly to remove accumulations of hair and dust. Spray around the perimeter of the closet, top and bottom, with Suspend SC, an odorless long lasting insecticide.
Suspend SC can also be sprayed onto carpets, fine rugs and furniture. Suspend SC cannot be sprayed onto clothes.
You can use the Cessco 5E Pyrethrum Aerosol if you prefer not to mix anything. This is a low residual/low odor crack and crevice aerosol. You can also use Cessco Metered Insecticide which is an aerosol than can be sprayed in the air to kill the adults flying around.
Clothes moth pheromone sticky traps can be placed in each closet or storage area to serve as monitoring devices. When the adult moths emerge they will fly directly to these sex lures before they have a chance to lay eggs on your clothes. Each trap will last for 3 months.
Inspect furniture, clothes, moth traps and rugs once a month to find re-infestations.
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