You’re getting ready for a formal occasion and reach into the back of your closet for something to wear. Yet the suit or dress found has been damaged down to the lining. In some areas, there are holes all the way through the material! Very soon you realize that moths have gotten into your wardrobe and their havoc is not exclusive to this one item.
Clothes Moth Appearance
Fabric and grain moths cause the most damage in New England homes. Specifically, you’ve got to look out for Mediterranean and Indian meal moths, casemaking clothes moths and webbing clothes moths. In general, the clothes moth family feeds on fabrics like carpets, upholstery and – of course! – clothing.
All species are approximately a quarter-inch long and golden in color with red-gold hairs on their heads. Even when their scale-covered wings are spread, these moths measure no more than a half-inch across. Unlike other species, clothes moths are not drawn to light. Rather, you’ll spot them fluttering around dark places, including closets and corners. For this reason, you rarely notice them around the house until you find holes in your clothing.
Why Is Your Home Infested?
Infestations start rather simply: A clothes moth flies into your home, looks for a dark place and lays up to 200 eggs at a time. The damage begins once these eggs hatch, with the larva feeding on the surrounding fabric. After they spin their cocoons and emerge in adult form, the damage tends to stop.
Beyond darkness, certain conditions can attract cloths moths:
- Your home is warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit and has high humidity.
- You don’t clean your clothing. Clothes moths are specifically after keratin, a protein humans and pets create that most other animals don’t digest. It can come off our hair, skin and nails, ending up on our fabrics. Generally, clothes moths are after keratin-heavy fabrics; anything with sweat, food stains and other leftover residue.
- You have animal-based fabrics in your closet, including leathers and furs. These items are preferred over anything synthetic or cellulose based for the keratins they contain.
In some cases, infestations take years to develop. Yet regardless of pace, it’s clear you have one when:
- You spot tunnels or trench-like formations on wool and other fabric-based items in your home. Some of these may contain cases holding moth larva.
- It appears like your fur-based fabrics have shed.
- Rugs and other fabrics have unexplained worn patches.
- Your clothes and other fabrics have a strange crusty film.
- You’ll spot moths flying or crawling out of your closet, especially when you move something.
After you’ve seen these moths, check your clothes for damage. Specifically, animal-based items like wool, silk, cashmere, leather and anything with fur or feathers. Damage may extend further beyond your closet to carpets, drapes, wall hangings, blankets and piano felts. The infestation may have also spread to places where you store fish, meat, dairy-based products and grains.
At this point, you’ll need an exterminator to remove all the eggs.
Damage from Clothes Moths
Damage by clothes moths may not be immediately evident, but the next time you take out that old winter coat, you will know right away if these pests have found their way into your closet! The damage they leave behind is often hidden under collars and cuffs, in the crevices of upholstered furniture, and in areas of carpeting covered by furniture and other stationary items. Beyond aesthetics, clothes moths may cause thousands of dollars in damage if they go after expensive items and prized heirlooms.
So, if you do come across these types of damage in your home, you should call the professionals at Eliminate ’Em to eliminate them right away.
In the meantime, what can you do to save your belongings?
- For clothing and other items you’re trying to save, have them thoroughly cleaned at a dry cleaners to kill the moth larvae. At home, clothing that can handle higher temperatures can be washed in 120° water.
- Vacuum out your closet, reaching every corner and crevice. Open and discard the vacuum bag outside.
- For your rugs, have a carpet steaming service deep clean anything made of natural fibers.
Removing Clothes Moths
Eliminate ’Em Pest Control provides fast, professional, courteous service and licensed technicians to handle all your Pest Control, Wildlife and Inspection needs. We’re available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free clothes moth estimates and same-day service.
Once we arrive at your property, our technicians:
- Thoroughly assess for all signs of clothes moths, from the insects themselves to damage caused.
- Work to get rid of the moths and reduce the damage as much as possible.
- Set up traps around your home to attract the moths and remove them EPA-approved methods.
- Provide you with strategies to prevent future clothes moth infestations.
- Assist with cleaning up any pest-related damage.
- Can arrive in unmarked vans, per your request.