Are Moths Eating Your Woolens?

Are Moths Eating Your Woolens?

The webbing clothes moth can be found worldwide, and is easily the most common fabric moth in the US. “Fabric moths” are just what they sound like: moths that feed on (and, therefore, damage) fabric.

What’s interesting is that the adult moth isn’t the one doing the damage to your fabrics. The larva is actually the culprit.

In the pictures, the larvae have eaten a portion of a wool carpet. We don’t see this as often nowadays because wool carpets aren’t as popular as they once were, but carpets aren’t the only things these pests will destroy. They’ll feed on everything from clothes made of leather or wool to animal fur and human hair that’s been shed (they’ll even infest hairbrushes!).

The larvae will destroy more fabric than they consume. They eat one fiber at a time, biting off a little bit, chewing until they’re almost at the end, and then they’ll toss the end and start all over. In the wake of their grazing, they leave patchy holes and sometimes a silk webbing.

So how can you tell if you have an infestation of webbing clothes moths?

Well, if you have moths flitting around your lamps and other light sources, odds are you’re looking at a different species of moth. For one thing, webbing clothes moths prefer the shadows.  You’re more likely to find these moths congregating in the back of your closet than near a light source. For another thing, these moths aren’t strong fliers. In fact, only the males and small females can fly voluntarily (the other females have to run or jump to get around).

What Can You Do?

If you have an infestation, the best thing you can do is let professionals take care of it. You can call us at (817) 834-3121 and have us come take a look. We’ll determine if there is an infestation, how bad it is, and the best way to move forward.

If you don’t have moths and want to keep it that way, there are some steps you can take to help protect your fabrics.

First, it’s important to understand how the larvae get to the fabrics they destroy in the first place. Female moths tend to lay their eggs on different types of fabric. For loosely-woven materials (think of carpets, wool, yarn, etc.), they lay their eggs within the threads. If they lay their eggs on a tightly knit fabric (like cotton or silk), they lay their eggs on top of the threads.

That being said, vacuuming on a regular basis (once a week works great) can help to remove the larvae and eggs from your carpet fibers. Laundering your wool coats before packing them away in an airtight container for the summer will help, too.

Again, if these pests are damaging your belongings, we can help! Call Western Exterminating today at 817-834-3121 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained technicians.