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Ask the Bug Doctor: How do you prevent clothes moths infestations?

In this edition of "Ask the Bug Doctor" we ask Nancy Troyano, PhD BCE, Entomologist/Director of Technical Education and Training, a question about pesky clothes moths.


Ugh! I took my winter coat out of storage only to find that it was ruined by moths. My coat has holes in it and I found dead moths. What can I do to prevent this from happening again next year?


I’m so sorry to hear about your coat! Unfortunately, many of us have been the victim of clothes moths at one point or another.

These moths feed on fabrics, but especially items that are made completely of or contain a blend of animal products, such as wool and furs. Fabrics can become more attractive to clothes moths if they are soiled by even imperceptible traces of sweat, food, and other fatty stains. This makes our sweaters, coats, winter blankets and even rugs prime targets!

To avoid discovering that your favorite items have been damaged by clothes moths, be sure to shake items out and clean them thoroughly before putting them away for the winter. Professional cleaning is best, but it may not remove all residues that attract clothes moths. Putting items into bug-tight containers can help keep these flying insects away, too.

You may also want to hire a pest control professional to come out and inspect your home for clothes moths, particularly the closet where the damaged coat was found. He or she can perform a treatment to help further protect your belongings.

For questions and solutions to clothes moths or other insects, contact your local Western Exterminator pest control specialist today!

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