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The webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella, also known as the common clothes moth, is a small tan-grey moth (wingspan about 1.25 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 the casemaking clothes moth Tinea pellionella). The larvae of the webbing clothes moth 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, from which they derive essential nutrients. An infestation of larvae leaves copious amounts of silk webbing and frass. The adult moths do not eat but 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. They are especially drawn to dark areas; unlike many moths, they are not attracted to light. Originally from western Eurasia, Tineola bisselliella has been spread world-wide by humans in clothing, carpeting, or related goods, and is now a common household pest. It is thought to have arrived in North America before the 1860s. Some methods to control infestations include freezing, heating, trapping with pheromone adhesive strips, laundering or dry-cleaning, 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 2011)


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