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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/habits of clothes moths

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Question
Hi,

I am recovering from an infestation of clothes moths which was in one closet and took things to the dry cleaners or washed them.  I thoroughly cleaned the closet and then began putting things back in.  I wasn't sure which kind of clothes moth I had, so I bought pheromone traps for both kinds.  In the first week I had a couple of both kinds.  Since then, I have only caught the webbing clothes moths. Now it has been 2 months and I have killed about 35 moths, this includes the ones caught in the traps and ones I have killed myself.   In the past 4 days I have not caught any in the traps, but have killed 3 males (I assume they were males because they were flying), and about 10 females (I assume they were females because they didn't move or they waddled).  The females where climbing up a blank wall, or just 'landed' on something. In one case, on my white fabric lamp shade which I was standing near, from one moment to the next suddenly there is a clothing moth on the shade.  I killed 4 or 5 that were just proudly walking up the wall. I am not finding an infestation however. I pulled the clothes out of the closet again and vacuumed/brushed them all, but only scared out 1 moth. So, I am wondering, if females don't mate, do they go crazy and put themselves out in a more open place in the hopes of still attracting a male?  How do they act when they want to lay eggs?  How do the act before they die?    Anyway, I am still working on elimination from the infestation I had a couple of months ago, and I am obviously not being that successful, so any suggestions would be helpful.  thanks for your time.

Answer
Lara,

You might want to contact your local Extension office (extension.org) and get a few of your catch identified because some of this behavior does not sound like clothes moth. If you have a mix of things it could explain the difficulty you are having with control. Also, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/clothes_moth.html for some background about these moths and control suggestions. Difficult-to-control infestations often originate in cloth scraps or lint accumulations so be sure to check sewing rooms carefully. Let me know what Extension tells you and we can discuss what steps to take.

Jack DeAngelis  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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