Moths can wreak havoc on closets and other parts of the home. Causing potentially expensive damage to clothing and leaving behind a trail of cases and feces in their wake, it’s never a great thing to find that clothes moths have made their way into your home and started feeding on your valued clothing or bedding.
There are a couple different types of clothes moths that are commonly seen in California, and identifying them is the first step in addressing an infestation. We’ll discuss what types of clothes moths you might encounter in your home, how they might be identified, what their habits are and how they can cause damage, as well as what you can do about them and how you can prevent them from infesting your home in the first place.
There are quite a few different types of moths out there.
Clothes moths can sometimes be confused with food moths such as the Indianmeal Moth—the latter being less likely to show up in closets and damage clothing, and far more likely to appear around kitchens and cupboards. While it’s never great to have moths hanging around your home, food infesting moths are far more likely to be found around your kitchen, in places like cupboards and pantries. They pose a far greater risk of contaminating food than they do damaging your clothing.
Types of Clothes Moths
1. Webbing Clothes Moths
1. Casemaking Clothes Moths
There are two common types of clothes moths residents in California are likely to see. The first being Webbing Clothes Moths, and the second being Casemaking Clothes Moths. They each present their own unique problems, habits, and biology. Through understanding the different varieties of moths you might encounter, you can be better prepared to deal with them accordingly should an infestation arise.
Webbing Clothes Moths
Webbing clothes moths are not only the more common of the two, but can cause a significant amount of damage before they’re even discovered. While it’s a common thought that moths are attracted to light—and many moths are—webbing clothes moths don’t have any particular attraction to lights. As such, they’re often difficult to find, making their presence in dark areas with clothing to feed on. They’re also not very likely to stray too far from their feeding ground, so unfortunately, residents often aren’t even aware of their presence until they’ve already caused some damage.
Casemaking Clothes Moth
While a distinct species, Casemaking Clothes Moths have a very similar appearance to Webbing Clothes Moths. They are less common, however, than webbing clothes moths.The easiest way to tell them apart is by their cases—unsurprising given their name. As larvae, they create cases, often out of materials they’ve been eating, and carry them around with them. This is the biggest distinguishing feature they have. Like webbing Clothes Moths, Casemaking Clothes Moths feed on clothing and bedding, and are particularly fond of wool. They can also be difficult to detect as they tend to hang around areas where they’ve been feeding. Unfortunately for residents, it can be difficult to find spots where they’ve been feeding, especially if they’re on creased or hidden parts of clothing and bedding, and if closets and other dark areas where fabrics are stored haven’t been cleaned and inspected regularly in a while. Like Webbing Clothes Moths, this makes them a particular risk for long term storage of clothing, bedding, and other fabric items, especially ones that are composed of or composed with wool.
Clothes Moths Cause
Both Webbing Clothes Moths and Casemaking Clothes Moths pose the most threat to items that are made out of fabric, especially wool.
Since they often feed in dark and undisturbed locations, they’re particularly dangerous to clothing, bedding and other fabric items that are put away for a long time for storage. They can reproduce quickly, and—if undetected—they can create large scale infestations in short order. Since they can be difficult to detect in the first place, this can be particularly tough for residents. Unfortunately, large scale infestations can be much more difficult to deal with, making them a significant burden on residents.
When You Might Be Dealing With
One simple way to avoid infestations is by checking your clothing and bedding storage regularly. Since both species feed on wool, pay particular attention to any bedding or clothing made of wool or made of any fabrics that contain wool. You can inspect clothing and bedding for signs of moth feeding that might include things such as newly developed holes, cases left behind by Casemaking Clothes Moths, and feces.
Prevent and Treat Infestation
With a little bit of simple management, infestations can often be altogether avoided in the first place. Much of avoiding clothes moths infestations deals with storage and cleaning.
Regular Cleaning or Dry Cleaning
Keeping attractive clothing items regularly cleaned or dry-cleaned can help deter the presence of clothes moths as well. Cleaning clothing in hot water can kill moths, but some clothing that they’re particularly attracted to can be difficult to clean conventionally. Cleaner fabrics are less attractive to clothes moths, and since they’re particularly attracted to wool, dry-cleaning is often your best bet.
Cleaning Problem Areas
Some areas are either seldom cleaned or particularly attractive to moths. By doing some regular cleaning and keeping these areas free of debris and potentially moth eggs and larvae, you can take significant steps toward mitigating moth problems before they arise. This includes under furniture, near heaters, and in closets used for long-term storage. Cleaning them regularly, vacuuming carpets and disposing properly of the bags afterward can go a long way toward preventing infestations. Like many small critters, moths need somewhere warm to go during winter months, so pay particular attention to warm parts of your home during the winter.
Moth balls can be used to repel future infestations, though over time they can lose their effectiveness, particularly if they’re used in an area with sufficient ventilation. They also may emit a smell that people find unpleasant, and they must be kept safe from pets and children. If you do use mothballs, be sure to read all the instructions they come with and pay particular attention to any warnings on the labels. Some clothes may not tolerate mothballs well, and label warnings will be able to tell you if you need to take any extra precautions when using them.
what to do
If I Find Clothes Moths
If you’ve already found clothes moths in your home and you’re worried about them causing further damage, there are some factors to take into consideration when moving forward. Depending on the size of the infestation, your ability to mitigate or eliminate it through conventional means, and the areas or items infested, there are different approaches you can take.
The first and most simple thing you can do is a thorough cleaning. Be sure to vacuum thoroughly, and wash any clothes that may have been infested. Be careful to remove the bag and dispose of it properly after vacuuming to ensure that any larvae or eggs present are not left behind to start a new cycle of infestation. As we mentioned before, washing clothes in hot water can kill moths, but some clothes must be dry cleaned. If that’s the case, be sure to get any clothes dry cleaned promptly.
Some sprayable pesticides might be indicated for use against moths. Be sure to carefully read any instructions and be aware of any warnings posted on sprays like these. Since they can damage clothes, contain toxic ingredients and have certain safety precautions, it’s always important to follow any instructions and warnings carefully.
Call the Pros
If an infestation has gotten out of hand or gotten particularly big, it can be your ebay bet to call professional pest control experts. They’ll be able to lend you helpful advice from years of experience, identify exactly which types of pests you’re dealing with, help you treat infestations, and help you plan out ways to prevent future infestations and ensure that your home isn;’t an environment conducive to infestation in the first place. Even if you’re unsure whether you have an infestation or not, professional pest control experts will be able to help you figure out exactly what’s going on and lend their expertise and experience to ensure that your clothing, bedding, and other fabric materials stay safe.
How We Can Help
At Earthwise, we’re here to help if you find yourself having clothes moth problems, big or small. We have not only the experience to deal with each problem appropriately, but the expertise to do so through minimally invasive techniques using as few harmful chemicals as possible. Any time you’re worried about a potential moth infestation, whether a large or small one, or even if you just want preventative maintenance to ensure that your clothes, bedding and other fabric materials stay safe in the first place, don’t hesitate to call or reach out online.
We offer inspections to help you determine what types of pests, including clothes moths you might be potentially dealing with, as well as to help you determine ways in which your home can be less conducive to infestation. With our expertise and experience, we can quickly identify infestations, including what type of moth you’re dealing with, be able to help you formulate the best course of action to take next in the event of an infestation, and make a solid plan to begin treating existing infestations.
Once we’ve completed a thorough inspection, we can work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s effective and works for you, and begin treating existing infestations. We can also help you get your home less conducive to clothes moths’ presence in the first place, vacuuming, offering advice about storage and maintenance, and offering insights about when, where and how people usually see moth infestations form.
We can help you monitor for potential moth infestations and make sure that your clothing, bedding and other fabric items stay safe after treatment.
Regular Inspections and Preventative Maintenance
We offer year-round quarterly preventive maintenance that can help you keep your home safe from clothes moths and other pests through each new season. One of the reasons a quarterly plan is ideal is because pests have seasonal cycles which means that not only will you typically see different pests during different seasons, but that certain pests will become more or less active during different seasons.
By doing preventative maintenance quarterly, you can be sure that your home is ready and safe for each new season. Regular preventative maintenance also offers the benefit of ensuring that preventative maintenance measures don’t wane over time leaving your home susceptible to infestation. Since moths can become active during warmer months, and most homes are artificially heated during the winter, it can be important to ensure that your home isn’t conducive to infestation all year long.
With regular inspections we can help you make sure that if any problems arise, you’ll be ready to handle them and that your home is a safe environment for the full year.
to Call Us or Reach Out Online
At Earthwise Pest Management, we’re here to help. No pest problem is too big or small for us to help with. Whether you’re worried about a possible moth infestation, you already know you’ve got a moth problem, or you just want to make sure that your home and storage are safe for the long run, we can help you out. With regular inspections and proactive maintenance, we can make sure your home stays safe year round. If you’re already dealing with an infestation, we can offer treatments and help you take care of the problem quickly and safely.