Common Moth Species

Moths may look small and harmless but they can cause surprising amounts of damage to your clothing and textiles and stored products in general. In the UK there are four species of moth in particular, which can cause problems in your home or business.

It is very common to see Brown House moths in your home.


Adults are 8-14 mm long.
Brown in colour with three or four darker spots.
Larva are up to 20 mm long.
Larvae feed on animal textiles like wool, leather and feathers.


Normally one generation per year.


Larva may wander considerable distances prior to pupation.
Generally regarded as a scavenger.

The Common Clothes Moth larvae are responsible for making irregular holes in fabrics.


Adults are 6 - 8 mm long.
Straw coloured wings with no markings.
Trailing edge of the wings is strongly fringed.
Larvae are up to 10 mm long. They are creamy white with a brown head.


Egg to adult is usually 6 weeks. May reach 10 to 18 months if the food is poor or temperatures are cold.


Adult does not feed. Runs rather than flies, avoids the light.

The Case-Bearing Clothes moth makes more regular holes in fabrics.


Adults are 6 - 8mm long.
Dark buff forewings with three faint spots (may appear as two).
are up to 10 mm long. They are creamy white in colour.


Similar to the Common Clothes moth.


More rare than the Common Clothes moth.
Check imported goods such as hides or other objects of animal origin.

White-Shouldered House moths are generally less damaging to textiles.


Adult are 6 to 10mm long.
With white head and mottled wings.
Larvae are up to 12 mm long. Cream coloured larvae with red-brown head.
Pupa in a silk cocoon.


Normally one generation per year.


Often found in unheated outdoor buildings. Larvae scavenge on a wide range of foods.

The presence of moths in your home can be frustrating. Not just because of the damage they can cause, but it's likely to be damage to clothes and fabric that you may have an emotional attachment to - nobody wants to find damage on their carefully stored wedding dress. The damage these pests can cause to carpets, curtains and upholstery can also become very costly.

Underneath beds, especially in little used spare rooms.
Infrequently used cupboards, drawers and wardrobes
Lofts and Attics, moths can be attracted to bird nests in eaves of homes.

FACT: Moths don't actually eat fabric, their main purpose is to reproduce. It is their larvae that do all the damage.

In the UK there are 4 species of moth found in homes that can cause problems and these moths have differing preferences for materials, which means their larvae cause slightly different damage to fabrics and materials, for example:

  • Common clothes moth larvae cause irregular shaped holes in fabrics
  • Case bearing clothes moth larvae create smaller, more regular shaped holes in garments
  • Brown house moth larvae tend to prefer animal based materials like feathers and leather
  • White shouldered house moth larvae scavenge on a wide range of food, so are a little less damaging to textiles
  • The first thing most people notice is the damage caused to clothes, fabrics or carpets but there are other indicators of a moth infestation:
  • Small, maggot-like larvae (moth caterpillars)
  • Silken tubes or cases, in which the moth larvae live.
  • Pupae (silk cocoons) from which larvae emerge as moths.
  • Adult moths often crawling rather than flying.
  • Another cause of carpet or fur damage can be fur or carpet beetles rather than moths. These textile beetles along with house moths are often referred to as textile pests.

Moths don't pose a health risk, however, they can cause unsightly damage to clothes, carpets and other materials in your home. Take action as soon as you see the tell tale holes, or spot small maggot-like larvae or silk cocoons.

There are a number of things that you can do immediately to help get rid of moths:

  • Find out where the heart of the problem is. It might be in a wardrobe, chest of drawers or cupboard. It should be fairly obvious because you'll see the signs of damage in that particular area.
  • Start to get rid of the moths by using moth traps to catch the adults.
  • Vacuum regularly in the affected area to remove all the larvae.
  • Thoroughly launder all your clothes and other fabrics in the infected area, including bed sheets, linen, towels and blankets.
  • Clean and wash down affected wardrobes, cupboards and drawers, especially cracks and crevices where eggs might be hiding.
  • Clean suitcases, bags and containers as these might be hiding more eggs or larvae.

If you've done all this and still can't get rid of the moths, call Peskill and one of our experienced and trained technicians will handle the problem for you.

It can be difficult to prevent moths, but there are practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of an infestation.

Try if you can to deny them access indoors, to help protect your clothing and other delicate items from moth damage.

Moth repellents and other DIY products are available to try and control a small problem on your own.

To guarantee complete control of a large and repeat infestation, professional treatment is the best option.

Preventing moths in your home or business must always include ways to deny them entry indoors. Once inside moths will lay eggs in dark and rarely disturbed areas such as wardrobes or cupboards, where clothes or other textiles are stored and could be damaged.

Use fly screens or draw curtains at night to prevent moths entering your home through doors and windows.

Vacuum regularly to ensure hidden areas such as under large furniture or sofas are regularly vacuumed, to try and remove moth eggs before they hatch.

Keep stored textiles in sealed bags - if you plan to store textiles for a long period of time, keep them in sealed plastic bags or suitcases to prevent moth's access to lay eggs.

Clean clothes regularly as moths are attracted to dirty or soiled garments, so always clean clothes thoroughly before storing them.

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