Insect identification > Lepidoptera > Heterocera > Case-bearing clothes moth

Case-bearing clothes moth

The case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella L.). - This is the most generally distributed of the three species and is the most common one in the North. The moth flies at night and may frequently be seen in infested houses flying about the rooms but not attracted to any light there may be present.

In fact, if any tiny moth flies to the light in a room at night, that fact is of itself fair presumptive evidence that it is not a clothes moth.

The adult is grayish yellow with faint spots, its hind wings more nearly a silvery gray. It spreads about half an inch. The eggs are generally laid on woolen goods of any kind, furs or feathers. They hatch in about 10 days and each larva constructs a case made of particles of the materials on which it feeds, lined with silk, and with its body in the case, crawls about, feeding as it goes.

As it grows and the case becomes too small, the caterpillar enlarges it and when full-grown attaches it to some object and pupates in it, the moth emerging some weeks later. The length of life in the early stages varies greatly with the temperature and, while there may be only one generation near its northern limit, there may be two or even more in the South, and in heated houses the moths may be found at all seasons.