Clothes moths or something else?

Asked March 15, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

In our master closet, my wife has noticed tiny holes emerging in our clothing. Of course, we suspect clothes moths but have never seen any adult moths or direct evidence. The wife says the holes suggest insect feeding because fibers are missing and there are no remaining treads hanging off the holes. Should we try clothes moth traps just in case? Or might there be other evil insects at work?

Lane County Oregon insect issues

2 Responses

Thanks for the question. Sorry to hear about the holes in your clothing though. As you mentioned, it could be the work of clothes moths. Another possibility is the carpet beetle. Without having caught a specimen, it's hard to say which one (or something else) is to blame. I've included a link to a fact sheet from the Kentucky Extension Service that discussed both insects. It's a little dated, but still has some good info:

If you are treating the problem, please be sure to read the label instructions. ]Mothballs in particular have to be used exactly according to the product label (i.e. in an airtight container). Many residents have misused these products and ended up having bad indoor air issues. Good luck!

Dave Stone, Ph.D.

Thank you for the reply and the helpful PDF link. Looks like we've got a challenge on our hands, first of which is to try to identify the enemy.