Entomology (Study of Bugs)/unknown bug


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QUESTION: i have found this insect?? in my home for some time now. in the past i just vacuumed it up without realizing it was a living thing. the i saw one on the bathroom floor, touched it, and it moved. any ideas?

ANSWER: Hi, Ron:

Thank you for including the images with your question.

They are indeed insects, some kind of casebearer caterpillar in the family Tineidae most likely.  Here are links to two potential suspects:



Store vulnerable garments, blankets, furs, silks, etc in a cedar chest to prevent infestation.  Cedar has proven repellent qualities and is more effective than mothballs, safer than moth crystals (which are at least potentially carcinogenic).

Store vulnerable foodstuffs in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  Remember dry pet food is vulnerable to infestation.

Hope this helps; happy holidays!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: eric. thank you for your quick response. the pictures i retrieved through your links sure look the same but there are no references that they are found in southern California.

only other thing i would say is along 1 side of my place there are some fruit trees, fig & plum, but as far as a moist environment goes, there isn't one, we do have irrigation (twice a day) on rose bushes in front of my place about 10' from my front door.

you sounded confident that you knew the insect, are you still?

if i sound a bit over concerned its because my cat has been having a weight loss problem and i wanted to be sure these weren't responsible. I'm exploring all options best i can.



Yes, I am certain that it is a casebearer in the family Tineidae.  Another look at the images and I would say it is probably the Case-making Clothes Moth.

These insects would have NO health consequences to your pets whatsoever.  Please do contact your veterinarian to explore other possible issues with your feline (and best wishes for nothing serious).


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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