There have been a number of large moths in the Sydney region over spring which are Bogong moths (Agrostis infusa) that are migrating south to the Snowy Mountains for the summer. Bogong moths will come inside the house during the day to shelter but are happy to get outside again whenever they can. Bogong moths are different from the much smaller clothes moths and they don’t eat clothes. They vary in colour from light brown to almost black and have a wingspan of about 5cm (2″) with marks on each fore wing.
The smaller clothes moths come from the Tineidae family which has 1385 different species. There are about three or four different clothes moths that cause a lot of damage to clothes and another five or six species that are less damaging. In general they would be smaller in total area than a five cent coin with wingspans rarely more than 2.5cm (1″). Their wings are often long and narrow with a silvery sheen and a hair fringe. They come into the house on the fabric of clothes or by flying in at night but are reluctant to fly in open light places and prefer dark corners of the house, like a wardrobe. Clothes moths eat clothes, tapestry, carpets and any wool product that hasn’t been given some anti-moth treatment, even hair. These moths are not seasonal and live in your clothes all year round.
What to do:
The best method of stopping moths in clothes and reducing the likelihood of infestation is to wash everything thoroughly before you put it away. An annual spring clean is also helpful because it opens things up and gets the moths moving. Naphthalene and moth balls are a useful repellant to keep clothes moths out of your clothes but they don’t kill moths once you have an infestation.