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Webbing Clothes Moths

Webbing clothes moths are the most common clothing moths in the United States.  They are small moths approximately ¼ inch in length and a wingspan of around ½ inch tip to tip.  Wings and body are a golden brown with the exception of reddish colored hairs on the top side of the head and antennae which are darker in coloration than the rest of the body.  Webbing clothes moth adults do not have functional mouthparts and therefore do not feed.  In addition, adult webbing clothes moths are rarely seen as they avoid light whenever possible.  Adult females place eggs deep within the mesh of fabrics utilized a glue-like secretion.  Individual females lay approximately 40-50 eggs. Lifespan of an adult webbing clothes moth is two weeks.

Hatch times vary from only four days to upwards of three weeks.  Emerging larvae begin feeding immediately and will feed on clothes, carpets, rugs, felt, upholstered furniture and wools.  They have a tendency towards soiled materials.  Mature larvae are small caterpillars at only ½ inch in length, clear to creamy-white in color and a light-brown head.  Larvae commonly spin silken tunnels amidst the fragments of material infested along with bits of feces.  Depending on conditions, larvae will molt anywhere from five to forty-five times over a period of from as little as 35 days to up to 2 years in order to complete their development.  Once mature, larvae spin a silken cocoon in which they pupate.

Pheromone traps are available for this moth and are useful in determining areas of activity.  Thorough vacuuming of rugs, furniture and items that can not be laundered will aid in control of an infestation.  Infested rugs and furniture should be treated with residual insecticides applied by a pest control professional.  Clothing and other washable items should be cleaned or laundered in order to remove larvae. When possible, clothing and other fabrics should be stored in tightly sealed containers.