Case-bearing Clothes Moths – What You need to Know
Case-bearing clothes moths (Tinea pellionella) are one of the few species of moth that can cause damage to clothing and other materials in your home. This species gained its name as the larvae spin silken cases around themselves for protection and use these cases to move around as they feed on natural fibres such as wool, silk, and fur.
These cases can often be found attached to clothing, carpets, or other materials. Due to its love of munching through natural fibres, this species is also often referred to as a textile moth.
Moth Life Cycle
Case-bearing clothes moths go through 4 distinct life cycle stages: eggs, larvae, pupa, and adult.
- Eggs: The female moth lays her eggs on or near natural fibre materials. The eggs are small and white, and hatch in about 4-10 days.
- Larvae: These are small, white, and worm-like in appearance. They feed on natural fibres and spin silken cases around themselves. The larvae grow in size over the course of several weeks, shedding their skins as they moult. The larval stage typically lasts 2-3 months, then larvae spin a cocoon around themselves and enter the pupal stage.
- Pupa: this cocoon stage lasts between a few weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.
- Adult: Once the pupal stage is complete, the adult moth emerges from the cocoon. This stage typically lasts 1-2 weeks. The adult moth is small, with a wingspan of about 1/2 inch (12-14mm), and typically a silvery grey-brown colour with darker spots on their wings.
Whilst case-bearing clothes moths would historically have lived in bird’s nests they have now largely relocated to homes and other indoor spaces where natural materials are stored, such as closets, drawers, and attics. These moths would generally be dormant in cold outdoor weather; however, our warm centrally heated houses mean they can be active at this time of year, achieving up to six or seven life cycles indoors!
Adult moths do not feed on your textiles or cause damage, as their primary focus is mating, and laying eggs. Instead, it is the larva that can cause extensive destruction to your clothing and soft furnishings, as they seek out fibrous keratin which can be found in woollen carpets, cashmere sweaters, and furs, causing significant damage if left unmanaged.
Case-bearing moths are beyond a nuisance when they infest your home, but there are several steps you can take to help prevent them from doing so.
- Keep your home clean: Regularly vacuum your carpets, rugs, and sofas.
- Wash and store clothing properly: moths particularly like worn natural fibres, so ensure you wash and store your fine fabrics such as cashmere and merino wool in suitable containers to keep moths out.
- Check your clothes: Regularly inspect your clothing for signs of moths or their larvae, especially if you’ve been storing them for a long time. If you find any signs of infestation, wash or dry clean the affected items.
Already found Evidence of an Infestation?
Time to Call the Professionals…
Case-bearing moths are notoriously difficult to manage, as DIY methods tend to have limited success, therefore Avon Pest Control recommend calling a professional.
At Avon Pest Control we have the knowledge and tools to properly identify the type of moth and the extent of the infestation, informing our treatment plan for the most effective management.
Does your moth infestation feel like a mam-moth task?
Let Avon Pest Control deal with your pest problem for you.