Moth infestation

Asked January 20, 2018, 5:49 PM EST

Hi, I've been finding small moths in my home - maybe about 3 or 4 per week - and I cannot figure out the source. I'm wondering if someone at the Extension Office could take a look at the attached photo, identify the critter, and perhaps give me some suggestions about how they're getting into my house. I've been finding tiny holes in some of my clothing as well, but I haven't detected any larvae. I have, however, put cedar blocks in my closets and drawers now! Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Washington County Oregon insect issues insect identification

3 Responses

Thank you for the image of the moth. It does not appear to be one of the 2 common fabric damagers: the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) or the case-making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). The reason: The wings are not fringed at the tips.

Both of those moths tend to fly in the evening - at, or after, dusk. The larvae hide when disturbed. So, you're unlikely to see them. Their main food stuffs are wool clothing, upholstery, or rugs; fur, and feathers.

If you do have a problem with clothes moths, the best remedy is to thoroughly clean the potential targets – wool clothing or rugs; fur, and feathers – before they are stored. Effective are a hot water wash and dry, or professional dry cleaning. Cedar has the reputation of preventing moth damage but that was true only in the day of cedar chests which closed securely.

See “Clothes Moths”

Thanks, Jean. At least I know that these little guys aren't causing the problem with my clothes. I would still like to know how they're getting into my home and if I can do anything about them. We've been living in this house for 12 years and we've never had a moth problem. So weird!

Even though insects and their kin all belong outdoors, they do get in now and then. Easy entryways include cracks and crevices, open doorways and windows, torn screens, and even via hitching hiking on firewood, clothing, cut flowers, harvested vegetables, and more.

The few moths you reported may indicate a bigger problem is possible. The key to avoiding those few multiplying and developing into a problem is to locate the source, get rid of it. If the damagers are clothes moths, they are feeding on fabrics, carpets, or furs.

Do you have any stored woolens? Perhaps heirlooms or long forgotten clothing? If you find any that are damaged by moths, replace any cardboard box(es) they’re stored in and, as mentioned previously, launder, dry clean, or discard the contained items.

If you have further questions, please ask.