If you're coming upon this knowledge because one of your favorite outfits has become a tasty snack for bugs, I'm sorry for your loss. It is no fun when clothing moths attack. They can thoroughly ruin a cashmere sweater or silk blouse--well technically, their babies can. It isn't actually the full grown moths that do all that damage. It is the caterpillar-like larvae that hatch and feed in your closet.
Why are moth larvae dining on my clothing?
They can't help it. They think your clothes are yummy. Moth larvae feed on natural animal fibers such as wool, hair, fur and some carpet threads. They can damage expensive items like wool and cashmere sweaters, and put holes in antique rugs. Clothing moths are attracted to dirty fabrics for oviposition, a process by which a female moth lays its eggs with little or no other embryonic development inside its body. They are particularly attracted to fibers that have human sweat or other decomposing organic matter on them, which are essential for larvae development.
How did they get into my closet?
Clothing moths can fly--although, female moths of this species are terrible fliers. That's why, if you see moths flying around your home, they are most likely pantry moths. Clothing moths fly only briefly. These moths are also not attracted to light, but drawn in by shed fibers on furniture and floors.
Inside a home, clothing moths seek out places where clothing is stored. They can also be brought in on other garments purchased at a store. Inspect new clothing for silken tubes in hidden areas or surface grazing.
How do I stop this madness?
To protect your clothing from invading moths, put them in plastic clothing bags and keep clothing storage areas clean. Vacuum floors and furniture regularly to keep hair fibers picked up. If you already have infested clothing, bring those items to a dry cleaner.
For a large infestation, or to keep moths from infiltrating your closets in the first place, partner with a pest management company. They can keep a large variety of invasive pests out of your home, including clothing moths.