Moths & Caterpillars

English: Common Clothes Moth in Altona, Hambur...


A moth is an insect related to the butterfly, and are extremely common in the United States. There are thought to be about 160,000 species of moth (nearly ten times the number of species of butterfly)with thousands of species yet to be discovered. Most species of moths are nocturnal. The most common moth, that is considered to be a pest, is the webbing clothes moth.

Size: Moths range in size from 3/8 inch long, to well over a foot in some parts of the world.

Color: Moths range in color, but are most commonly a cream or golden color with shiny, tan wings. The wings are usually long and narrow and there is a fringe of long hairs along the lower edge of the hind wing.

Habits: The webbing clothes moth is the most common fabric pest and is notorious for the damage it can do to woolen fabrics and other fabrics of animal hair origin. In addition, the larva will feed on fungus, skins, dead insects, and any other protein associated with animals. They have been known to feed on cotton fabrics if necessary, and may cause damage to synthetic fabrics, which they cannot digest. This moth actually avoids light and feeds primarily in dark, hidden areas. The larvae are best identified by the damage being done to fabrics and the presence of silk and fecal material over the damaged area.

Diet: These moths feed on wool clothing, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, furs, stored wool, animal bristles in brushes, wool felts in pianos, and fish meal in fish food. Synthetics or fabrics such as cotton are fed on if they are blended with wool.

Reproduction: Females lay 40 to 50 eggs over a period of 2 to 3 weeks and die afterwards. Males live on and continue to mate throughout their lives. Eggs are attached to threads of fabric with an adhesive secretion, and hatch in 4 to 10 days. Larvae spin webbing as they feed and may partially enclose themselves in a webbing cover or feeding tube, depending on species.


Caterpillars are the larvae of moths. They feed primarily on plants and leaves, but will sometimes eat other insects. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture. Many species of moths are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce. After feeding, caterpillars will form cocoons and remain dormant before eventually hatching into moths or butterflies.

 Common Moths & Caterpillars:

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