Clothing Moths

Asked December 4, 2017, 11:36 PM EST

My home is infested with small clothing moths that look like feathers. I am find imbedded larvae in some clothes and tiny black dots that may be moth excrement. I had an exterminator come out after I loaded all my clothes from drawers and my bedding into large garbage bags. He inserted a novian strips in the bags and I notice that some of the moths were killed. I also washed and dried many of my clothes and the dryer seems to kill some moths. However even though the exterminator sprayed my house, I still have moths. What can I do?

Montgomery County Maryland pest control fabric pests pest insects and mites

3 Responses

You have started along the right path.
The primary food of clothes moths larvae is soiled woolens. They cannot complete development on clean wool since they require certain vitamins present only in stained or soiled fabrics.
All of your woolens need to be cleaned well, and then stored in sealed containers. The heavy plastic storage bags where you can suck our the air, or large ziplock-type bags.

Here is our page about them: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/clothes-moths

cm

I am following up with your response. The exterminator used Nuvan strips for all the closets and garbage bags filled with bedding, towels and clothes from my drawers and storage boxes. At first I think the number of moths decreased and I saw dead moths on the clothes that were treated. I am washing clothes that were treated and taking some to the dry cleaners. However, the moths are everywhere in the house and I think are now infecting the clothes in the closet that were treated. I am at my wits end. Should we bomb all the rooms in the house with the insecticide used for fleas? I am traveling for the Christmas holidays and would like to do it when I leave. Suggestions?

Do not bomb your house. Releasing all those chemicals in your house could prove irritating or unhealthful for you and your family and/or pets.

First of all, the moths that are still alive will have to continue their life cycle--hatching or flying around--but if they have no food sources they will die.

However, be certain they do not have food sources besides clothes. For example, rugs and blankets are a big possibility. Many have wool in them. Wool socks, gloves, scarves, caps, shawls that are little used or packed away may be infested. Even table linens or ornaments could be a source. You may have to think outside the box a bit.

Reread our clothes moth publication, which contains more detail than the webpage: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG80_Fabr...

Remember that they don't go only for wool but any animal fabric--including feathers, animal hair stuffing, furs, etc. In many cases, you may need to use moth balls because you can't wash everything.

ECN