eNewsletter
September 2011

What are clothing moths and how to deal with them?

There are two different types of clothing moths which are harmful to woolen cloths. These moths are not attracted to light and stay in dark places. That is why the problem is not noticed until the damage is done.

The moths larvae cause the damage to clothing, rugs, and upholstery. Since these moths stay in dark places, a dark closet is the best place for them to hide and that is where they lay their eggs.

Fabric stained by food, perspiration, or urine are more likely to be damaged. The best way to fight moths is vacuum cleaning, especially under the furniture and dark areas in the house. After vacuuming, dispose of the bag properly as it may contain eggs, larvae, or adult moths. Store clothes after laundering or dry cleaning them. If you can launder items in temperature above 120°F (49° C) for 20 to 30 minutes, and then freeze them below 18°F (-8° C) for a few days, all stages of the moth will be destroyed.

For storage, use air tight containers. Make sure the container is clean and free of pests. This is an easy way to prevent moths from being in contact with your clothes. Some people use cedar chests for storage. While cedar can help repel small larvae, it does not have any effect on large ones. Besides, cedar loses its potency with time. Moth balls may be effective when used in air tight containers. However, keep in mind that they are highly toxic to children and pets. In addition, they may react chemically with plastic buttons and containers, thus cause more damage than good.

Another option is trapping. There is a product available that will attract one type of male moths and prevents them from mating. However, it does not work on both species.

For items that cannot be laundered, dry cleaned, or heated and frozen, insecticide sprays can be used, but with caution. They might stain silk and rayon garments or ruin some types of flooring.

For more information, check out:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7435.html

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University



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