Clothes Moth

Clothes Moth

Scientific Name: Tineola bisselliella

How to identify a clothes moth

There are actually two main species of clothes moth, the webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth. The adult Webbing moth is light, gold coloured less than 1 cm long.  The adult case-making moth is darker with faint dark spots.  The larvae of both are cream coloured with a dark head.

Where are clothes moths commonly found?

Generally, clothes moths are more common in the coastal areas of Australia, where the humidity helps their development. The case-making clothes moth prefers warmer parts of Australia, whereas the webbing clothes moth can be found all over Australia.

Clothes moths eat a wide range of animal fabrics, but primarily fabrics containing wool. They will also damage fur, silk, feather and leather.

Clothes moths are poor flyers, likely to be hiding in dark areas near to where the larvae are feeding.

Why are clothes moths considered a pest?

Clothes moths are considered a pest due to the damage they cause to fabrics, cloths and curtains, also furniture and edges of carpets.

What is the biology and lifecycle of Silverfish?

The lifecycle lasts for about 65-90 days, with the female adult moths living for about 30 days and potentially laying up to 300 eggs. The larvae that hatch from the eggs do the damage, as the adult moths themselves, known as 'millers', pose no threat to your knitwear or fabrics.

Management Tips for Clothes Moth


  • Items of clothing or curtains suffering damage (or items close stored close by) should be placed in a sealed black plastic bag in the sun for 1-2 hours. This will kill any larvae / eggs. The items can then be washed. Any delicate items that may be impacted by heat should be inspected individually.

  • Any cupboards which have been sites of cloth moth activity should be treated with an insecticide spray (all shelves and drawers). Items of clothing should be removed before treatment and replaced once the treatment is dry.

  • If you suspect clothes moths presence / damage in carpets, all affected areas should be sprayed with insecticide (either aerosol or ready to use pump spray), paying particular attention to damaged areas and other areas under furniture.


  • Regularly vacuum all carpeted rooms, especially around the perimeter and under heavy furniture.

  • Regularly move cupboards and heavy furniture in carpeted rooms. Inspect the carpet for signs of damage and insect activity.

  • At the end of each season, wash and store clothes in a sealed bag / suitcase.


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