University of Maryland Extension

Clothes Moths

clothes moth larva
Larva of the webbing clothes moth

There are two species of clothes moths in Maryland: the webbing and casemaking clothes moths. Adult moths are tiny, with only a 1/2 inch wingspan, and yellowish in color. The larvae are small, white caterpillars with brown heads. They feed on the surface of the material infested. The casemaking larva constructs a case of fabric which it carries around to hide and feed in. The color of the threads will help locate the infested material. The webbing clothes moth larva spins silk tubes over the feeding surface.


The most effective control is prevention. Clean, properly stored woolens are not attractive to fabric pests. Dry cleaning will kill all stages of clothes moths and carpet beetles. Hand washing with a mild soap for woolens should also kill the insects. Woolen articles should be cleaned and stored in sealed boxes. Vacuum susceptible areas in your home often to prevent lint and hair from accumulating. Give close attention to woolen rugs and carpets, wall hangings and tapestries.

webbing clothes moth close up
Webbing clothes moth
clothes moth larvae
Case-making clothes moth larvae

Additional Resource

Publication: (PDF) HG 80 Fabric Pests

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