Brown House Moth
The commonest of the so-called clothes moths, with characteristic golden-bronze wings, flecked with black, folded flat along its back. The adult is about 8mm long and prefers to run rather than fly.
The related White Shouldered House Moth has mottled wings with a white head and “shoulders” where the wings join the body. Eggs are attached to fabric on which grubs will feed. The larvae are creamy-white caterpillars with brown heads.
They grow up to 18mm long, feeding on wool, hair, fur, feathers, cork or debris from food such as dried fruit or cereals, and are common scavengers in old birds’ nests, from which they may enter buildings.
The caterpillars spin silken cocoons in which they pupate. The life cycle takes several months to complete. Only the larval stage feeds, as a general scavenger as well as a textile pest.
The name textile pest is a general term given to any insect that has the ability to digest a natural protein called keratin. This protein is generally found in wool, fur, animal hair and feathers.
The usual signs of a textile pest infestation include live or dead insects on or around natural textile products and damage to the infested items. Textile pests can often originate from birds nests. If not recognised and treated textile pests can cause serious damage to carpets, clothing, soft furnishings and even historic artifacts.