Webbing Clothes Moth

Webbing Clothes Moth adults have a wingspread of about 1/2-inch; when the wings are folded, the insect is about 1/4-inch long. The wings are golden and the hairs on the top of the head are a red-gold color. Adults are rarely seen because they avoid light. The larvae are 1/2-inch long when mature and are a creamy-white color with a light brown head capsule.

The adults have non-functional mouth-parts and live for only about two weeks. The females carefully place their eggs deep in the mesh of the infested fabric by attaching the eggs with a glue they secrete. Each female lays 40 to 50 eggs which are about 1/40-inch long, ivory white, and oval. Eggs usually hatch within 4 days to 3 weeks. The newly emerged larvae begin to feed immediately. They often spin silken tunnels or mats, incorporating fragments of the textile being infested and bits of feces into its construction. The larvae molt 45 times and, depending on environmental conditions, take from 35 days to 2 -1/2 years to finish development. They eventually spin a silken cocoon in which they pupate.

Webbing clothes moths larvae feed on clothes, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, felt, animal hair, and stored wool. They especially like to feed on materials that are soiled. These moths are the most common clothes moth found in the United States.

Prevention of infestations by these moths by frequent, thorough cleaning is the most effective control. Clothing or material infested with these insects can be decontaminated by dry cleaning or laundering. Pheromone traps can be used in an attempt to catch the adults before they have a chance to breed.