The Clothes Moth Life Cycle

Clothes moths go through four distinct lifecycle periods with significant change at each stage.  Understanding the clothes moths life cycle is key to knowing how to best deal with moth problems in the home, in both eradicating and repelling these destructive domestic pests.

1. Clothes Moth Eggs

The beginning of the Clothes moth lifecycle – adult female moths can lay 100-400 eggs over their short life and these eggs are tiny, typically 0.5mm in length. The eggs hatch from between 4 and 10 days depending on temperature and humidity.

2. Clothes Moth Larvae

clothes moth damaged clothes 

The eggs hatch as clothes moth larvae – this is the destructive stage.  The larvae are typically a few millimetres long upon hatching but then grow to 1-1.5cm in length, dependent on availability of food (i.e. your natural woollen and silk clothing or carpets as examples!) and moisture to help intake of water – they cannot ‘drink’ in a conventional sense and hence require humidity.  This is why residual perspiration or food and drink stains on clothing attract moths. Clothes moth larvae can stay at this stage for up to 30 months (2 ½ years!) happily eating your clothing whilst waiting for the right conditions to turn into adult moths.  This is precisely why clothing moth issues persist through the winter, not just from the Spring when the adults tend to start flying.

3. Cocoon

When the temperatures are right and the larvae have reached the right size, they then start the pupation stage, spinning a cocoon in which they metamorphose into the adult moth.  This process typically takes 8-10 days.  You may find the ‘debris’ from this stage in the form of used webbing cases from which the webbing clothes moth takes its common name.

4. Adult Clothes Moth

The final part of the life cycle occurs when the adult clothes moth measuring about 1-1.5cm emerges from the cocoon. Whilst relatively harmless in their own right, the presence of adult clothes moths signals a potential infestation should they be allowed to lay their numerous eggs.  The female adult clothes moth tends to hop or crawl – it is the male that flies more often in search of a mate.

Whichever stage of the clothes moth life cycle you believe are present in your home, you’ll find all the solutions here at – we suggest you start either with the advice and identification guides found at the bottom of every page of this web site.


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