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The presence of indoor moths leads many people to suspect that their home is infested with damaging clothes moths. However, unlike many indoor moth pests, clothes moths are not attracted to light, and they hide in response to disturbances, making them hard to notice within infested homes. The two major clothes moth pest species found throughout the US are commonly known as the webbing and casemaking clothes moths, and their distinct yellow or golden wings that are fringed with long hairs make them relatively easy to recognize within homes. The webbing clothes moth is the most destructive and common clothes moth species in the US, and they invade Massachusetts homes more often than casemaking clothes moths. In most cases, indoor moths that residents suspect of being clothes moths are actually other moth species that inadvertently found their way indoors. Clothes moth infestations are usually first noticed when residents find damaged indoor fabrics, or when silken webs built by larvae appear within dresser drawers and closets.

Clothes moth damage is inflicted solely by wingless larvae, and not by winged adult moths. Larvae can feed on a variety of indoor fabrics, including furniture upholstery, carpeting and bedding, but most infestations see larvae eat holes in stored clothing. It should be kept in mind, however, that holes form naturally in clothing due to wear and tear, but if larval webbing, excrement (frass) or shed skins are found on or near damaged clothing, then clothes moth larvae were almost certainly responsible for the damage. Also, since carpet beetle larvae and clothes moth larvae inflict damage to the same types of indoor fabrics, it is important to avoid mistaking these pests for one another, as they are exterminated with different pest control tactics. When it comes to clothes moth damage, larvae tend to leave behind significant amounts of excrement on the clothes they damage. This excrement looks similar to ground peppers, and nothing like the shed skins that carpet beetles tend to leave in abundance on and around the fabrics that they damage. Unlike carpet beetle larvae, clothes moth larvae are not attracted to light, so they generally damage fabrics that are located within dark spaces, such as dressers and closets, while carpet beetle damage is often found in areas that are exposed to sunlight.

Have you ever had an inexplicable problem with indoor moth pests?