Tineola bisselliella, the common clothing moth. They like dark closets, attics or other areas and tend to live in corners or in folds of fabric. They will fly occasionally, but normally only on the edges of a lighted area; they are usually quite inconspicuous. Adults are unable to feed and it is the larvae stage, which are small cream-colored caterpillars with brown head capsules that damage your fabrics. In the home they are found in clothing, carpets, rugs, upholstery fabrics, blankets, hair from pets, furs, lint from woolens, and any stored wool or silk products. These products all contain the animal derived protein keratin.
You should make a thorough inspection of infested premises to find all sources of infestation before making any attempt at control. Clothes moth and carpet beetle larvae prefer to feed in secluded and protected areas. Larvae will usually be found in dark clothes closets, on furs, woolens, hair padding, bits of carpeting, or other such materials in storage.
The presence of adults in an area does not necessarily mean that larvae are in the same area, since the adults may have already laid their eggs in some other room and may be moving around at random or orienting towards bright sunlight shining through windows trying to find their way outdoors. Females mate and lay eggs all year long, so keeping a watchful eye out for them is an ongoing process.
Moth Proofing Tips
Vacuum your closets regularly, don’t forget the underside of any furniture you may have that is covered in a wool blend fabric, and any tapestries or wall hangings and rugs.
Before packing your woolens away, make sure they are clean. For short term storage, use cotton or plastic garment bags. For long time storage try to avoid plastic as it may degrade the fabric over time. Furs should be stored professionally. Rugs or tapestries that are going to be stored should be vacuumed and sprayed with SLA before storing. When storing your clothes, there are several products you can us to help keeps the moths away.
Moth Repellents and Treatments
Cedar Blocks are effective in killing the young larvae, but it does not kill the adult moth or the eggs. Cedar also loses its scent after awhile so it needs to be replaced or the blocks need to be sanded to release fresh oils on the surface.
Lavender sachets can also be used to repel the adult moth, but it does not kill the larvae or the eggs, it is only a preventive against the adult. Moth Away is a good one to use. It has a pleasant scent which does not linger in the fabric.
Moth Balls are very effective in keeping the adult away from you clothing, its draw backs are that they can be very smelly and some people are sensitive to the fumes. They do contain a pesticide; they work by releasing a fumigant gas, so they must be used in an air tight container.
There are many brands on the market and all of them work, but there is only one we know of that has no clinging odor, No-Moth by Reefer-Galler. They also make a cedar scented spray SLA that can be used to kill the moth larvae and eggs in your clothing, rugs, furniture and tapestries. It also kills carpet beetles and silverfish which can infect your closets. Do not store old magazines or newspapers in your closets, silverfish love these.
A few steps taken before you store your clothes away in the spring can make all the difference in what you find when you unpack them in the fall.