There are three commonly found types of moth that can do a great deal of damage to clothes, carpets and soft furnishings. The damage is caused by the feeding of the larvae and not the adult moths.

Common Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella)

This moth is a shining golden colour, between 6-8mm long. Although these moths are chiefly seen in the early summer and autumn they may be found at almost any time of year. Larvae are a creamy white colour with a brown head, up to ½ inch long and spin thread, constructing silken tunnels.

Case Bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella)

This moth has larvae that spin a distinctive silken case in which it lives. The head and foreparts of the larvae protrude as it moves about, dragging the case with it.

The adults vary in length from about 4-12 mm. The fore wings are dusty brown with three blackish spots. The moths may be found most commonly from June to October.

The Large Pale Clothes Moth (Tinea pallescentella)

The adults vary in size but are normally 8-12 mm and have greyish brown wings with dark marks at either end. The adults may be found from June to October.


Clothes Moths neither carry germs nor do they spread disease hence their presence does not constitute a risk to health. However, the activities of the larvae will cause damage and indeed ruin carpets, animal furs and leathers.


Moths are often indicative of poor hygiene conditions. The area should be thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed to remove any eggs, larvae and pupae. Residual sprays may be applied to the infested areas.

Individual adult moths may be knocked down with a flying insect spray.

Care should be taken when using any insecticide spray, the advice and directions for use should be carefully followed.

For heavy infestations you may require the services of a pest control contractor.


In order to prevent infestations in confined spaces, such as drawers, where woollens etc. are stored the use of approved moth proofers or slow releasing insect repellents should be considered.

Thorough cleaning, dusting and airing of clothes can also help avoid infestations.