Case making Clothes Moths (Tineola bisselliella)
Prevention and Control
Case making clothes moths are tiny dart-shaped whitish/gray moths about a quarter-inch in length as adults. Adults do not feed. However, as a larva, they spin a protective cylinder-shaped case made of silk as well as the fibers it's been eating. If it has been eating a red wool rug, the case will have the same color and texture as the wool rug, making them camouflaged and hard to detect. The cylinders, depending on the larvae stage typically attach to the fabric at one end also making them hard to detect as they will attach to the bottom side of the furniture, even the bottom of wood furniture.
Wool, silk, cotton, and linen are all a favorite food for the case making moth and this is noticeable by bald lines in the carpet as well as a large bald spot where it looks like the carpet has been weed-whacked in an irregular line. Dart-shaped adults do not feed. Only the hatched larvae feed on your expensive fibers. We work in conjunction with pest control as only a team effort of the two of us can eradicate the moth threat. There is usually a nest inside the house or outside, even under the house and that's how they get in. Pest control needs to identify the nest and destroy it to interrupt the egg-laying cycle, then we can deal with any eggs and larvae in the home. Unfortunately as they "Become" the fabric and color of they eat, this gives them great camouflage and is hard to see. Therefore, a scorched earth approach is the best way to attack the moths. Furniture needs to be turned over, and the sacs vacuumed from beneath. Furniture wiped down and cleanable fabrics and rugs, as well as carpets steam, cleaned to allow the heat to eradicate them as well as get sucked out to the truck.
Case maker moths are only dangerous to your valuable fabrics when young. If you see an adult on your sweater, don't worry, it's not having lunch.