Clothes moths are a problem for many people's home closets, but for those who run or own stores that sell clothing, clothes moths can cause much more damage. Casemaking and webbing moths are very small, about 6 millimeters and 7 millimeters, respectively, but the damage they can cause to certain boutiques and retail establishments can be substantial.
Many business owners need to enlist the help of pest control services to get these pesky and detrimental insects out of their stores. Because of the complexity of treating a pest like clothes moths, pest management firms often use an integrated approach to ensure an effective treatment.
If you're worried that there may be clothes moths in your retail establishment, look for some of the telltale warning signs of the two most common clothes moths in North America.
Although moths may be most noticeable and upsetting to potential customers, it's the larvae of these moths that cause the damage to clothing. Named for the cases that they create, casemaking moths build silk-like tubes within the clothing they eat. Casemaking larvae commonly damage wool, carpet, felt and even hemp.
Aside from the holes that these moths make in shirt collars, cuffs and other slightly covered areas, they may be spotted by their webbed tubes too. They're open at both ends to allow the larvae easy feeding in each direction. These larvae like dark and isolated areas, so you don't have to worry about your displays. Keep a close eye on sweaters and other thick winter clothes being stored for next season, clothing in the store room in general and even items on the shelves that may have come in with the pests already.
Webbing moths are also prone to damaging wool items, but can eat hair, fur, feathers and other materials made from animals too. Rather than living in a tube, they're more likely to create a type of silk sheet that they stay underneath. Their webbing is very difficult to detect because they use the threads from other materials and blend in. If you suspect an issue or get a customer complaint, you may want to consult the experts to find any further issues.
Prevention is key
The best way to keep clothes moths at bay is to keep your store clean. Although the exterior is likely spotless for the customers, it's important to vacuum and tidy up your store room to prevent moths from settling anywhere.