Washington D.C.’s Guide To Protecting Your Clothes From Damaging Moths


Many different types of pests can cause damage to property, but one of the most disheartening side effects of a pest infestation is when holes form in your clothes and linens. Clothing moths are a common culprit, and understanding more about their behavior and traits may be just the thing that puts your home a step ahead on moth prevention and control in Washington D.C.

clothes m onths in a closet

What Are Clothing Moths?

Clothing moths are flying insects that have life cycles similar to butterflies. They start off as small larvae that pupate and change into winged adult moths. Often referred to as “webbing moths,” the common clothing moth is an invasive pest that looks for places in the home to nest and create offspring. Knowing how to spot adult clothes moths by the following traits will help you identify whether an infestation has taken hold:

  • Color: Clothing moths are often gray or off-white with golden or reddish hairs around their heads. Their beige wings often appear shiny and have small hairs at their ends.

  • Size: Most adult clothing moths are about a half-inch in length, though their wings can add some extra length as they extend beyond their bodies.

  • Behavior: Unlike other moths that are attracted to light, clothing moths prefer dark spaces where they can hide. They don’t fly very well with their small bodies and heavy wings, usually only fluttering short distances and keeping near places to land.

Feisty Feasting Ruins Your Clothes

While spotting an adult clothing moth in your home can be a sign of an infestation, the real worry is their larvae. Damage to property comes from these young feasters which eat fibrous linens that contain keratin, a necessary fiber for their growth. These fibers can be found in many different types of fabric or textiles, but larvae prefer feeding on carpeting, curtains, and coats.

Because adult clothing moths lay their eggs near these sources of food, it’s important to regularly inspect these areas for the cream-colored larvae before they grow into reproducing adult moths themselves. Spotting eggs can be a difficult proposition since the pinhead-sized eggs are nearly impossible to spot in the dark areas where they are deposited.

How Do Moth Infestations Start?

Knowing the life cycle of a moth is important for understanding how infestations grow inside your home. It is important to be proactive and preventative rather than have to deal with an infestation that's already forming. But just as important is to know how clothing moths are introduced into your home in the first place:

  • Contaminated items: An extremely common cause of a clothing moth infestation is when someone buys products that contain their larvae or eggs. Second-hand furniture or clothing are common culprits, but old shipping containers and food boxes can also have stowaway bugs inside.

  • Cracks or holes: Regularly inspecting your windows, screens, and foundation for any faults can clue you in to common access points for insects of all types, moths included. Proper upkeep and maintenance of these areas is a must.

  • Hair & fur: Moths are attracted to the oils left behind from animal fibers, so pet fur is another thing that attracts clothing moths indoors. Make sure you’re vacuuming regularly and keeping fur off of furniture and clothing. Your own hair, left behind on coats and sweaters, is another attractant.

Contact Capitol For Expert Assistance

The last thing you want is to find a hole in your jacket while you’re trying to head out the door. And with the damage that can be caused to home furnishings and the rest of your wardrobe, you don’t want to risk a moth infestation growing out of hand. Don’t turn to smelly products like mothballs or unproven do-it-yourself methods touted online. Turn to the pros at the first signs of clothing moths in your home. At Capitol Pest, our experts can respond quickly, nipping the problem in the bud before a population chews through your precious fabrics.

Don’t let clothing moths make a meal out of your hard-earned possessions, call Capitol right away.

Tags: clothes moths | pest prevention | home pest control |

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