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Moth Fact Sheet

Infestation Identification: There are many different types of moth, below are the most common in the UK which will be found indoors and how and where to locate them:

Brown House Moth is between 8mm to 18mm long as an adult and is golden brown coloured with black markings on the wings. The larvae are a creamy colour with usually a brown head.

Common Clothes Moth is 6 to 8mm long as an adult, it is yellow to brown in colour and the end of the wings are fringed. The larvae are a creamy brown colour with a brown head and feed on fabrics.

White Shouldered House Moth is 6 to 10mm long as an adult, it is brown to dark grey with flecks of white all over and has white shoulders and head. The larvae are a creamy colour with a reddish-brown head.


Common Names: Hofmannophila Pseudospretella (Brown House Moth), Tineola Bisselliella (Common Clothes Moth), Endrosis Sarcitrella (White Shouldered House Moth).


Diet: Brown House Moths, Common Clothes Moths and White Shouldered House Moths will all be found indoors, on or around clothes, wool, leather, fur, hair or dry food such as cereal grain, bran, flour and dried bread, the larvae feed on textiles but the adults do not feed, they only drink liquids.


Habitat: Most of the common moths’ larvae which cause damage to fabrics and textiles are found indoors will be; under or behind sofas, in curtains, under beds, under skirting boards, in carpets, in wardrobes and inside kitchen cupboards.


Prevention: It can be difficult to prevent a moth infestation from occurring, however the following tips will help reduce the chances. Cleaning of all woollen, fur, feathered, cotton and other similar items before storing them in sealed polythene bags, will lessen the risk of eggs and larvae being put away with your clothes without you realising. Hanging moth repellents in wardrobes in wardrobes and putting moth ball in drawers help deter moths. Lavender is also a good natural moth repellent.

If you have birds’ nests in your gutters or trees in your guttering, clearing these out will prevent moths from entering your premises.

Carpet cleaning is also a very good prevention tip, it is important to pay extra attention to the edges and places which are usually dark or covered with furniture. 


Life Cycle: Most species of moths can lay up to 50 eggs in 3 weeks and die soon after, these eggs are attached to the fabrics or other food source which the larvae will feed on. Each egg hatches between 10 and 30 days.

The Brown House Moth from egg to adult can take up to a year.

Common Clothes Moths usually take 6 weeks to become an adult from an egg.

White Shouldered House Moth, from egg to adult takes 3 to 7 months.


General Information: Moths cause a vast amount of damage to clothes, textiles and stored products. Although most moths are nocturnal they are attracted to light and will fly around lights, lamps, torches, televisions and anything else that gives off light. The Common Clothes Moth are not nocturnal and will stray from light as they prefer dark locations.  Moths have a complete metamorphosis that includes; eggs, larva, pupa and adult, the adults will lay their eggs near or on a food source, when hatching the larvae start searching for a food source. After the larvae have fed enough, they will burrow into their food source and spin cocoons in which they will pupate. Once emerged from their cocoons, they are adults, their live cycles can take up to a year. 


Treatments: There are amateur used products which can sometimes be effective if the infestation is caught early enough. You will need to spray all affected items such as; clothing, fabrics, wool, carpets, floors and sofas with the product, this will need repeating several times usually. If the treatment is not effective, you will need to have a professional pest controller carry out a treatment. Moth traps are a good option to catch some of the moths which are adults, however they are only used as a monitor to indicate the size of the infestation. Fully trained pest controllers are licenced to use very strong chemicals which will fully eradicate the moth infestation.


Quick Facts:

  • It is the larvae that feed on textiles as adults do not feed.

  • Moth larvae are called caterpillars.

  • Caterpillars spin cocoons in or on their food source before becoming an adult moth.

  • Moths have a complete metamorphosis that includes; eggs, larva, pupa and adult.

  • After the larvae have fed enough, they will burrow into their food source and spin cocoons.

  • Moth larvae (caterpillars) look like maggots.

  • Adult moths often crawl rather than fly.

  • Moths are closely related to butterflies.

  • Their names do not always indicate their food source.

  • Lavender is a good moth repellent.

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