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Indian Meal Moth

Appearance

About 3/8-inch long. Cream, with a tuft of red hair on the top of the head. The larvae are white. Larvae will be found on fabrics among thin sheets of webbing that they spin to shield themselves. They often leave strands of silk on fabrics they infest.

Habitat

Clothes moths tend to stay confined near clothing, which makes them easier to control.

How do they affect me?

Fabric pests such as clothes moths, although not particularly dangerous, can sometimes cause irreparable damage to personal belongings. These moths are able to digest animal hairs and, therefore, feed on almost any item made of natural fibers, particularly wool and cashmere.

What should I do?

Do not store boxes of clothes in the attic, garage or basement, if possible. If clothing must be stored in boxes, thoroughly clean the boxes before storage and seal all corners and openings with tape. Prior to storage, clean woolen and natural fiber clothing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In closets, store natural fiber clothing items by covering them with individual plastic covers. Consider storing clothing in large zippered plastic units. Use mothballs to help deter fabric pests, but be aware that they may leave an odor that could require dry cleaning. Indian Meal Moths are covered under our Home Pest Prevention program.

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