Clothes Moths

The common “clothing moth doesn’t actually eat clothes. In fact, clothing moths don’t even possess the ability to eat. They don’t have a mouth. Once they become a moth, rather than waste their time eating, they simply mate, the female lays her eggs, and then they die at some point. The children (larvae) are the ones doing all the damage, not unlike the human species. The larvae are able to get proteins they need from keratin- in other words, virtually any organic fiber derived from an animal. They can eat and survive on virtually any natural fiber. They’ve been known to eat wool, cashmere, silk, cotton, linen, fur, feathers, hair, lint, carpets, the bristles of brushes, pet fur and even dust.

The fibers the larva eats eventually also ends up becoming a part of the cocoon it spins for itself.

If the relentless appetite wasn’t enough to convince you that these Moths’ mean business, the larvae are also notably hardy and difficult to kill. For example, the larvae and eggs of a clothes moth can easily survive temperature extremes as high as 50 degrees Celsius and as low as -8 degrees Celsius.

Larvae will chew through whatever they need to in order to get to their food. This is because larvae and moths are actually drawn to the moisture in clothes because they must get moisture they need through their food. The dirtier the garment, the more attractive it becomes. Sweat? Sweat contains not only moisture but salt and other minerals the larvae needs to survive. Dry cleaning your clothes is an effective moth deterrent.

Rough estimates suggest a single clothes moth can lay anywhere between 50 and a 1000 eggs. Conditions in a human household are nearly perfect for a clothes moth. They are remarkable when it comes to adjusting to changes in environment. For example, the larvae stage of a clothes moth’s life can extend from 1 month to 29 months if the conditions for it to pupate are not ideal.

If an unwelcome guest is trying your suit on for size, Call Atlas today.

Clothes Moth Image Author: Olaf Leillinger (CC BY-SA 2.5)

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