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Are Webbing Clothes Moths Dangerous?
This tenacious pest can do considerable damage to your most treasured items. They particularly prefer finer wools (such as cashmere) and are very discreet about how they do the destruction. It’s very unlikely that you’ll see hundreds of them flying around. You may notice one or two here and there and think nothing of it until you go to put on that favorite sweater of yours only to notice it has a giant hole. Webbing clothes moths are not to be taken lightly and if great care is not taken to eliminate them, you will face extensive damage to your belongings.
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How to Prevent a Webbing Clothes Moth Infestation
Webbing clothes moths are very hard to treat, so it is always a good idea to implement prevention techniques into your regular cleaning schedule.
- Clean/Heat All Woolen Clothing
- Heating a woolen item in a dryer under high heat for 30 minutes will kill all stages of webbing clothes moths. Dry-cleaning will also kill all stages of this moth.
- Seal Woolen Clothing
- After either of the previous methods has been completed, you need to seal your woolen items in some sort of mothproof container. This also helps to contain the moths should the item(s) be infested.
- Vacuum Woolen Rugs
In addition to attending to woolen garments, it is critical that all woolen rugs, especially the portion of the rug that goes under and behind furniture, be vacuumed regularly. Fabrics that are used frequently or are in high traffic areas will probably not be infested. It is stored fabrics and other organic items and fabrics in undisturbed areas (i.e., under and/or behind sofas, beds, chests, bookcases rugs, and other large, hard-to-move items), that are vulnerable and typically damaged. It is a good idea to have your wool carpets (i.e., Orientals, Persians, etc.) professionally cleaned if you suspect you have webbing clothes moths.
What Do Webbing Clothes Moths Look Like?
Adult webbing clothes moths have long, narrow wings that are approximately ½” wide in total. Their wings and bodies are mainly golden, but they also have some reddish hairs on their heads.
When Are Webbing Clothes Moths Most Active?
This tenacious and destructive pest has two (2) main flight periods. Adults are on the wing (i.e., flying) from about May through June and then again from August through September. There can of course be some overlap due to environmental conditions such as relative humidity, heat, cold, etc.
- Eggs (this stage lasts about 4-10 days)
- Larvae and silken feeding tube (this stage lasts about 55 days)
- Pupa/Cocoon (this stage lasts 8-40 days)
- Adult (this stage lasts about 15-30 days)
What Do They Feed On?
The larvae feed on materials such as wool, hair, fur, etc. The larvae often choose to eat in places that they can hide in such as collars, carpeting, upholstered furniture, animal hair, stored wool, etc. They do not feed on cotton or synthetics unless there is a wool blend component.
Below are items that are known to invite webbing clothes moth infestations:
- The felt found in pianos
- Wool rags
- Wool wall hangings
- Parts of heating units
- Water pipe and duct insulation
- Military garments
- Old wool rug remnants
- Wool brushes
- Lint from wool rugs
- Pet hairs behind baseboards and in flooring cracks