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Tinea pellionella, the casemaking or case-bearing clothes moth, is a small tan-grey moth with feathered hind wings (wingspan about 1.5 cms) in the fungus moth family, Tineidae. Found world-wide, it is one of the two most common clothing moth pest species (the other species being Tineola bisselliella). The larvae of casemaking clothes moths have the rare ability to feed on fabrics of wool, feathers and furs, and even synthetic fabrics if blended with wool, from which they can metabolize keratin into protein. They are particularly attracted to soiled fibers, with traces of sweat, oils, or food. Larvae live within a portable silk case that they enlarge as they grow, and finally pupate in the same case. Infestations of casemaking clothes moths are usually tidier, with less webbing and frass remains, than infestations of the similar, common, and closely related clothes webbing moth (Tineola bisselliella). The adult moths do not eat, and live solely for the purpose of mating and laying eggs. Adults seek out tight spaces and can crawl through small cracks and openings to find appropriate food sources upon which to lay their eggs. Unlike many moths, they are not attracted to light. Some methods to control infestations include freezing, heating, trapping with pheromone adhesive strips, laundering or dry-cleaning, vacuuming and storage in dry conditions. Pyrethrin insecticides and moth balls (although traditional naphthalene-based mothballs are banned due to carcinogenicity in some countries) are also commonly used.

(Cranshaw 2011; Diagnostic services at Michigan State University, 2006; Potter 2001; Wikipedia 2011a; Wikipedia 2011b)


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