“Is this a case-bearing clothes moth?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the silver moth pictured below. “I’m in Georgia. Thank you for your time.” Now, while we are in the business of identifying the worm-like offspring of insects, we are not the best people to ask about adult insects, so we will have to warn our reader that the information and advice we provide may not be the most credible she could find. With that said, we will do our best to identify this organism and help her. With that said, our opinion is that she has already done the bulk of the work for us, because this does indeed look like a case-bearing clothes moth.
Case-bearing clothes moths are tiny, gray, and furry – just like the creature is in the first photo (seen below). The second photo is also excellent, because it shows us the underside of the moth’s wings, which has us that much more convinced that this is a case-bearing clothes moth; the silvery-sheen of the wings’ underside is characteristic of the case-bearing clothes moth. Alone, a case-bearing clothes moth is nothing to worry about, because the adult moth does not eat anything. They also do not spin cases and bear them around as their name suggests. Their name and their status as a household pest comes entirely from their offspring, the case-bearing clothes moth caterpillar.
The caterpillars are white, thin, and will often be dragging around a tube of silk with them, which they spin so that they have something to hide in as they munch on their day’s findings. They feed on animal fibers found in textile materials like wool, silk and leather, and they can be found anywhere in the home where such materials might be present: on upholstery in the living room, clothes in the closet, or sheets in the bedroom. We do not know what context our reader found the moth, but if it was in her home, we recommend that she search for any of these larvae, just in case the moth was pregnant and laid eggs in her home. Even if she does not find any larvae, we recommend that she give her home a thorough vacuum and launder the textile item the moth was found on (if that is the case). We recommend doing this because the moth may still have laid eggs that have not hatched yet, and they can be hard to spot with the naked eye. If she does find more larvae, it is imperative that she repeat these steps a few times, as infestations can be hard to get rid of.
In conclusion, we agree with our reader that this is a case-bearing clothes moth. We hope for her sake that the moth did not lay any eggs in her home, as it is only the larvae that one needs to be concerned about, and we wish her the very best.
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