Clothes Moth Populations on the Rise

January 29, 2018
Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland Rank in Top 15 Nationwide

Similar to the trend that has seen the rise of bed bug populations throughout the country; webbing clothes moths appear to be on a rapid increase in metropolitan areas including three cities in Sprague’s service area footprint – Los Angeles (#3), Seattle (#10) and Portland, Oregon (#15).

A report from Insects Limited, an Indianapolis-based manufacturer and distributor of pheromone traps, indicates that webbing clothes moths are becoming more prevalent in major urban areas.

Webbing clothes moths can travel from person to person, hidden away in belongings, similar to bed bugs and cockroaches. Similar to the German cockroach, they benefit from an association with humans and the habitats that we create.

Can webbing clothes moths impact commercial facilities? 

They can be a problem in retail stores and warehouses, especially consignment or second-hand stores, where they eat fiber in wool rugs, blankets, cashmere sweaters, horse-hair stuffed furniture, fur coats, and other materials made of animal-based fibers.  Left unchecked, they can do serious damage to clothing and furniture. 

Webbing clothes moths are easily transferred and, according to the Insects Limited report, there is evidence to suggest that in densely populated urban environments, they can move from location to location by flight alone. Deferring them from doing that is an essential element in keeping their numbers down. 

To prevent the spread of this damaging insect, retail outlets and warehouses should inspect incoming shipments of furniture, rugs, textiles or clothes to make sure they are free of moths. 

Exclusion measures including installing door sweeps and window/ventilation opening screens to prevent neighboring moth populations from entering a facility. The use of clothes moth pheromone traps in your facility will yield valuable information including the presence of moths and the source of an infestation.

Eliminating clothes moths, especially on large items including rugs and furniture, is best done by a pest management professional. Contact Sprague for more information if you suspect a clothes moths infestation.  


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