Moths: Common-Clothes & Indian-Meal

Clothes moths are a fairly small species of moth, with less than an inch for their wingspan. They are a dusty golden color, with fine orange hairs on their head. Larvae of the species feed on natural fibers, so all stages of the moth are often found in closets.

Be they male or female, the main goal of the adult clothes moth is to mate. Once maturity is reached, these moths only live for, at maximum, a month, as they stop eating. If they do successfully mate, they die soon after. The female moth will lay an average of 50 eggs during her adult lifespan. Once the eggs are laid, it takes around 10 days for them to hatch. Upon hatching, it can take up to two years for clothes moth larvae to reach their next developmental stage. This can be problematic as the larvae are the true damage-causers.

Clothes moth larvae can feed on any variation of natural fibers, including wool, silk, cotton, linen and fur. However, they will also eat synthetic fibers if those fibers are blended with wool. Larvae are most attracted to these fabrics when they have been worn, and may acquire additional nutrients from the dirt and sweat collected in the them. Unlike other moths, clothes moths are attracted to dark areas and will hide if exposed to light.


Indian meal moths are named not after India, but rather after their diet. Indian meal moth larvae feed predominantly on grains, such as “Indian-meal” also known as cornmeal. They are most commonly found in grain bins or grain storage, but have been known to feed on many foods commonly found in your pantry. They prefer tropical conditions, but can adapt to many different climates.

Adult Indian meal moths are small, only about a quarter of an inch in length, with their wingspan more than double that. They are usually rust or copper colored, but can also be dark brown or grey. As long as the temperature is above 50°, adult females can lay anywhere from 100 to 300 eggs at a time, typically directly on their food source. If the temperature is above 77° or below 68° delays in hatching could occur, but most eggs hatch anywhere between two days to two weeks. Indian meal moth larvae, when fully grown, can actually create silk, and will create their cocoons out of this threaded material. Adults hatch from these cocoons in around a week. In ideal conditions, an Indian meal moth lifespan is only 28 days, with the average lifespan of 50 days. This short life span leads to multiple generations of meal moths in just one year.

How Do I Get Rid of Moths?

The first step for controlling clothes moths is to find the item or items that the moths are attracted to. Once located, one easy home-remedy is to put the item in a bag and into the freezer! Clothing moth larvae cannot survive the cold, so putting items in the freezer can help to stop the immediate damage being caused to the item. Eggs can survive in colder temperatures though, so we suggest keeping the item separate and putting the item back into the freezer if any additional eggs hatch. You can also put the items in a hot car, as clothes moths in their various stages cannot withstand extreme heat. If neither of these options work or are doable for the item, or there is a severe infestation, call Advanced Wildlife Control! Our technicians are here to help keep your clothing safe from pesky larvae.

Control of Indian meal moths can be incredibly difficult. Larvae of these moths feed on a wide variety of grains, from cereal, bread and pasta to flour and spices. They have also been known to eat bird seed and pet food. Larvae of these moths have incredibly strong teeth and jaws, and can chew through thin plastic as well as cardboard. As a result, upon discovery of an infestation all foodstuffs not in tightly sealed containers must be thrown out. That alone is not enough to solve the problem, however, as the larvae do not always stay in the pantry area. Advanced Wildlife Control is here to help find all the areas where Indian meal moths and their larvae may be hiding, and get your house back to being pest free!

DID YOU KNOW? – Clothes moth larvae have even been known to eat flour! Even chocolate isn’t safe from Indian meal moths and their larvae!

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