In their natural habitat, clothes moths eat feathers, beaks, horns, hides and fur that other insects and animals will not eat. In that environment they are useful, but unfortunately, they stray into the path of human habitation where the food sources they choose make them a pest. lothes moths thrive in humid, coastal locations ideal for breeding. In Australia, the two most frequently encountered types of clothes moths are the case-making clothes moth and the common clothes moth. The case-making clothes moth is a major household pest in the warm climate of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
The adult case-making clothes moth is small and greyish-brown with three dark spots on each wing. The common clothes moth is also small with shiny, unmarked wings.
There are four stages to the life cycle of both types of clothes moths. The first stage, the eggs, is very small, cream coloured and almost translucent. They hatch in 5 to 10 days into the second stage, the larvae. These are cream coloured caterpillars with a brown head. After approx. two months they become inactive as pupae while they transform into adult moths. After 8 to 12 days they emerge from the pupal cases, mate and lay eggs, repeating the cycle. The moths die after just 14 days.
Clothes moths are found wherever there is food and shelter. This includes homes, shops and commercial premises where textiles and fabrics are predominant. They thrive when undisturbed in dark places such as cupboards, wardrobes and drawers, and moist areas such as a linen cupboard in a bathroom.
Within the human environment, the larvae of clothes moths feed on textile products made from animal fibres such as wool, fur and mohair. This is the only stage that feeds.
Detrimental Effects to Humans and Property
During the feeding stage, damage is caused to any textile product that is the food source. Woollen clothing and blankets are especially vulnerable if they have been stored away without adequate protection. An undetected infestation leaves behind droppings and moult material, as well as the many small holes in the fabrics where they have fed.
Stored fabrics should be chemically protected or encased in plastic bags, and dark recesses of cupboards, drawers etc. should be regularly disturbed. This may provide adequate protection against small infestations. Large infestations need intervention by experts.
The team at Bob Gunn Termite Solutions are trained, experienced and licenced to advise on the best method for dealing with clothes moths and will offer a solution that suits each individual circumstance.