By James Stuart
Clothing moths and carpet beetles can damage clothing and other animal hair products but most of the damage they get blamed for is done by something else. Tears, snags, burns, friction, sun light, and cleaning account for 99% of the calls I have investigated over the last 30 years.
Proper cleaning and storage will prevent moth larvae from damaging clothing. Storing items in cool, dry, sealed containers is a proven way to prevent moth damage. Dry cleaning has an almost permanent preventative effect on clothing. Thorough vacuuming will eliminate moth eggs, larvae, and pupae from rugs.
Most moth infestations in a home environment can be traced to a single item. Antique leather goods, antique cushions, sleeping bags, and the box of clothing you took down from the attic are some common sources.
Identification of the insects is difficult because the eggs and larvae are too small to see in most cases.
Pheromone traps are an easy way to establish whether or not you have moths. If used consistently over 2-3 months they are also a good way to eliminate a moth problem where the source can’t be found. The traps usually attract only the male adult moth so it takes a while for them to all die out. In a home environment they work really well. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of moth species, so if the moths flying around don’t go to your traps they are probably not clothing moths.
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