Advice and information on Clothes and Food Moths

Clothes Moths

A variety of moth species and their larvae feed on textiles such as wool, hair, fur, feathers and debris. This includes the Brown House Moth, White Shouldered House Moth and the larvae of Clothes Moths


Brown House Moths have golden-bronze wings with black flecks. The White Shouldered House Moths has mottled wings with a white head and white shoulders where the wings are attached to the body. Its larvae look like cream-coloured caterpillars with a brown head. The Common Clothes Moth has pale plain golden-buff wings fringed with hair and the larvae are white caterpillars with golden-brown heads.


Clothes moths feed off moisture and food traces, therefore they are attracted to smells, perspiration, food stains and spills.


A moth infestation can be detected from irregular holes in clothing, threadbare patches and holes in carpet and other textiles. Damaged fabric often have silken cases, lines of silken threads and fecal pellets over the surface. Moths prefer darker, undisturbed areas in which to lay their eggs. Therefore places, such as under furniture and along skirting boards, corners in drawers and wardrobes are common places.


  • Clean out old birds’ nests, pieces from the loft, carpets in particular the edges, any cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuum clean all of the clothing and areas affected in particular, along the seam, folds and gaps in floors and shelves where fluff might collect.
  • Spray all items with an aerosol mothproofer
  • Clean all woollens and furs and store them in sealed polythene bags in a cool room
  • Alternatively fold in a disc of moth repellent, wrap the clothes closely in paper and store in tightly closed drawers
  • Hang moth repellents such as cedar wood or anti-moth sachets, in wardrobes
  • Place moth traps in susceptible areas to monitor the presence of the moths as well as break the breeding cycle to prevent the laying of further larvae which would cause further damage

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Food Moths

Food moths and their larvae feed on stored food such as cereals, chocolate, cocoa, dried fruits, nuts and flour products.


The adults are mottled grey and brown, about 10-15mm long whilst their larvae are white with brown heads and spin light matted webbing as they feed.


  • Remove the food from the affected area and vacuum clean thoroughly focusing on the edges, cracks and crevices
  • Treat any visible moths, larvae and eggs with insecticide
  • Finally, put in food moth traps to break the breeding cycle and monitor for further moths

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