About Clothing Moths


The clothing moth, also known as the Tineola bisselliella, is an insect that is most known for being a pest. It has wings and can fly. In particular, this type of moth likes to fly into closets where clothes are stored and consume the clothing for nourishment. It has a tendency to eat many different fabrics and fibers from a variety of garments including coats, scarves, skirts, pants and sweaters.

The Facts

The clothing moth is a winged insect that develops from a caterpillar, much like a butterfly. It is first hatched out of an egg to become a larvae. These insects feed until they have enough energy and then begin the pupate process. Then, they begin metamorphosis to develop into their final stage as an adult moth. Male adults look for females to mate with by the pheremones the females release. The females look for a place to lay their eggs and die a short time later after the job is done. Once they have become adults, clothing moths no longer eat. This means that it is the clothing moth larvae that do all of the damage to fabrics, not the adults. Types of clothing moths include the webbing clothing moth, the casemaking clothing moth and the tapestry or carpet moth. The webbing clothing moth is the most commonly found clothing moth.


The presence of clothing moths causes damage to personal property. These moths are notorious for wreaking havoc on people's personal possessions, especially clothing, bedding or any material made of natural fibers. While they are not particularly dangerous to humans, they are a severe nuisance. Anyone who has ever lost a prized garment or blanket to the unforgiving chew of a clothing moth knows how frustrating they can be.


The effect of a clothing moth is often seen as a hole in a fabric. They can chew through animal hairs, so they prefer cashmeres and wools over most other fabrics. They chew sporadic holes that can compromise the integrity of a garment, often leading to the complete unraveling of a piece of fabric so that it is no longer usable in the way it was originally intended. This means that soon after a moth has taken to drawing sustenance from the fabric, the item must be thrown away.


Clothing moths do not stick to any one area in the world. They have been known to overrun any area where their desired fibers are stored. This could mean any closet, any boutique or any storage facility in any area around the world. They are particularly found infesting the fabrics of items that have not been used for some time, or have been stored in some sort of storage facility and remain unused.

Risk Factors

There are plenty of risk factors involved in having moths present in your home, but there are some ways to alleviate the potential damage they can cause to your personal property. In fact, they are such a severe nuisance for homeowners that some have developed strategies to get rid of them. Some of these methods include setting traps to suspend procreation and further infestation, freezing the moths, heating the moths to extreme temperatures or exposing them to sunlight. It is recommended that a person heavily vacuum the infested area because the moths will often hide in places where they are not highly visible. Cedar is also a valuable tool in deterring clothing moths because it is able to kill larvae before they develop into adults.

About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.

Photo Credits

  • www.extension.umn.edu