Ball of Hair Attached to Sticky Substance Could be the Work of Casemaking Clothes Moths

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“Can you identify this?” asks Deborah in her submission, in which she attached the photograph below. “It was found attached to a sticky substance inside a mattress cover.” Now, we assume she means the tangle of hair/fur, though there is also an oblong object in the photo that is partly brown and partly a silver-gray color, and we are not sure if she could be referring to that: given its shape, perhaps it is a worm-like creature. That said, it looks more like a rusty pen. It would have been helpful in this case to receive more context from Deborah, but alas, we’ll have to make do!

If we assume that Deborah wants the ball of hair-looking thing identified, then we would say this is likely the work of casemaking clothes moths. In that case, it would be very sloppy work, as these creatures are usually quite meticulous. Casemaking clothes moths are a species of moth whose caterpillars feed on animal-based fibers in clothing, bed sheets, carpets, and other textile items. When big numbers of them are present, they can cause quite a lot of damage to people’s clothes over time. Their name comes from their characteristic behaviour, which is to spin silken tubes from the materials they are eating. They drag these tubes around with them, and hide in them as they feed.

The adult moth typically lays her eggs somewhere the caterpillars will be able to feed once they hatch, like a mattress cover. In order to attach their eggs to the spot they choose, the moth will secrete a “sticky substance”, which we think is what Deborah found. In that case, it’s possible that this bundle of hair is or was hiding a casemaking clothes moth egg sac. Our advice is to move the ball of fur outside, and not throw it in the trash inside, because if the eggs hatch inside, an infestation can begin inside the home. Equally, it might be a good idea to search the rest of her home for more bundles like this, as well as small, white caterpillars that could be roaming around in her closets or on her bed. If she finds caterpillars, she should vacuum her home at once, and also launder any infested (and potentially-infested) clothing and textiles.

In conclusion, we think that the ball of hair Deborah found could be a sloppy attempt at hiding a casemaking clothes moth egg sac. We hope this helps and we wish Deborah the very best!

 

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Summary
Ball of Hair Attached to Sticky Substance Could be the Work of Casemaking Clothes Moths
Article Name
Ball of Hair Attached to Sticky Substance Could be the Work of Casemaking Clothes Moths
Description
"Can you identify this?" asks Deborah in her submission, in which she attached the photograph below. "It was found attached to a sticky substance inside a mattress cover." Now, we assume she means the tangle of hair/fur, though there is also an oblong object in the photo that is partly brown and partly a silver-gray color, and we are not sure if she could be referring to that: given its shape, perhaps it is a worm-like creature. That said, it looks more like a rusty pen. It would have been helpful in this case to receive more context from Deborah, but alas, we'll have to make do!
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

4 thoughts on “Ball of Hair Attached to Sticky Substance Could be the Work of Casemaking Clothes Moths

    1. Yes, any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated bc all of my ( million) attempts have been unsuccessful

      1. What do you mean by unsuccessful? that the help you have offered has been censored or that everything you have tried through your own means has not worked? please send me a note: beebeecat at yay hoo
        thanks

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