Carpet moths are one of the more exotic species of moth regularly encountered in the UK. The webbing clothes moths, which are responsible for eating your clothes and causing havoc, are much more common and easily identified thanks to their golden colour. Similarly, the case-bearing moth is of a similar size to the webbing clothes moth but they have distinctive black spots which make them relatively easy to pick out.
If you think you have a moth infestation in your home or business, identifying the species of moth responsible is essential for dealing with the issue correctly. Trying to treat the wrong kind of moth infestation creates numerous difficulties, not least of all when it comes to removing eggs and larvae. Contrary to popular belief, moths themselves don’t eat or damage fabrics. However, the larvae they leave behind do; it is the larvae of clothes and carpet moths that give them their reputation for wreaking havoc on fabrics. The terms ‘clothes moth’ and ‘carpet moth’ both refer to the same species.
To definitively identify what species of moth you are dealing with, you will usually need a trained professional. However, carpet moths will only lay their larvae in animal-based fibres, where there is plenty of keratin for them to feast on. Adult clothes moths don’t live long; their larval stage persists for a couple of years. Because of this, it is difficult to identify a clothes moth infestation from the appearance of adult specimens alone. Instead, look for the damage they cause. If you do manage to capture a mature moth, you will need an expert to tell you what species it is.