Clothes moths keep coming back!

Asked July 14, 2018, 9:06 PM EDT

I have a bad clothes moth infestation and can't remedy it. I washed all fabric items in hot water & borax, then stored them in space bags. Threw out a lot of old clothes with larva, then washed the closet with vinegar solution. Also bug bombed the apartment. When I went on vacation for 3 weeks afterwards they must have rehatched because I'm seeing them nesting on the walls again. I have kept the clothes in space bags still. I put lure traps out and they are filling the traps. I do have cats who shed fur, so maybe they are feeding on their fur. Do I really have to get every scrap of fur vacuumed to curb infestation? I'm at my wit's end and really don't know what else to do other than pest control experts fumigating.

Multnomah County Oregon insect issues clothes moths

1 Response

The key to getting rid of clothing moths is to find their food source. Key fabrics to look for are woolens which may go far beyond clothing. Consider carpeting or small rugs; keepsakes such as a woolen piece obtained while on a trip or received as a gift; pillow covers; needlepoint; afghans; and, if you are collect antiques and/or collectibles, old overstuffed furniture. In one instance, the “food” was an heirloom woolen military uniform that belonged to a grandfather; it was stored in a long-forgotten cardboard box at the back of a closet.

Once the infested articles are located, they must be cleaned or dry cleaned. The next step is to put out bug traps (as you've done) but you must continue replacing them as long as they are catching the pests. The process may sometimes take months. (The traps catch male moths, thus, interfere with mating.)

Unfortunately, bug bombs aren’t effective. However, this document describes how to effectively fumigate with dry ice which, of course, requires that the “food source” is located. See “Clothes Moths” for all the management details - http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7435.html.

In the end, you might want to again consider hiring a pest control company familiar with eradicating clothing moths.