Casemaking Clothes Moth

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Tinea pellionella


What Do They Look Like? Case making Clothes Moth Case making Clothes Moth image licensed under CC
  • Size: Their bodies are about 3/8 to 1/2 inches long, while larvae are up to 1/2 inch long.
  • Color: Casemaking clothes moths have brownish-gray wings with three dark spots. These spots can be rubbed off on older moths. Larvae are yellowish in color.
  • Characteristics: Their wings are long and narrow. These moths build cases of silk particles that they drag about wherever they go to feed.

How Did I Get Casemaking Clothes Moths?

Older houses with warped doorframes or siding are susceptible to casemaking clothes moth infestations. Modern homes may meet the conditions these pests need to flourish, as well. Things that are likely to attract these moths into homes include:

  • Infested materials.
  • Pet hair or lint around baseboards and corners.
  • Unwashed garments in undisturbed closets or chests.

How Serious Are Casemaking Clothes Moths?

The larval stage is the damaging stage of this species. Damage comes in the form of holes or threadbare spots in cloth. These pests infest a variety of fabrics that can damage clothes and furniture.

Signs of Infestation

Casemaking clothes moths can be difficult to identify. As a result, the first signs of infestation from these pests may be their damage. They can be unnoticed by homeowners until someone is cleaning out a closet or moving stored fabrics that were rarely disturbed.

How Do I Get Rid of Casemaking Clothes Moths?

What You Can Do

Controlling and preventing casemaking clothes moth infestations are very similar to what works for webbing clothes moths. Since reducing food sources and favorable habitats are critical to these control pests, control entails cleaning the home to remove food sources. However, as they eat both animal and plant products, removing their food sources may not be possible.

What Orkin Does

Ensure the infestation is taken care of by a professional. Your pest management professional will recommend:

  • Discarding infested food items.
  • Dry cleaning infested fabrics prior to storage.
  • Frequently inspecting clothes closets and storage areas.
  • Regularly disposing of vacuum bags.
  • Storing fabrics in airtight containers.
  • Vacuuming adult and larvae moths.
  • Washing infested fabric or items in hot water.

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage casemaking clothes moths and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep casemaking clothes moths in their place and out of your home or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

Adult male and female casemaking clothes moths, much like the webbing clothes moth, prefer to stay close to their source of food. These pests commonly feed on:

  • Carpet
  • Fur
  • Furniture
  • Hemp
  • Silk
  • Tea
  • Tobacco
  • Wool

Fabric Moths vs. Food Storage Moths

Homeowners often confuse fabric moths, such as the casemaking clothes moth, with food storage moths. Unlike most other species, casemaking clothes moths are not strong fliers and light does not attract them to living spaces. If the homeowner sees moths flying around lights or in well lit rooms, it is more likely to be food-infesting rather than a fabric moth.

While the casemaking clothes moth is less common, and far less economically important, than the webbing clothes moth, they can be a difficult insect to control in storage facilities.