Trichophaga tapetzella, the tapestry moth or carpet moth, is a moth of the family Tineidae. It is found worldwide.

Carpet moth
Trichophaga tapetzella 681c0543-167b-4f2a-94d3-61e9d3183ad3.png
Adult specimen
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tineidae
Genus: Trichophaga
T. tapetzella
Binomial name
Trichophaga tapetzella
  • Tinea tapetzella Linnaeus, 1758
  • Trichophaga palaestrica Butler, 1877
  • Trichophaga tapetiella (lapsus)
  • Tinea pulchella Fabricius, 1794

The wingspan is 14–18 mm. The head is white, the forewings ochreous-white, thinly strigulated with grey; basal 2/5 dark purplish-fuscous; a roundish grey posterior discal spot; some small black spots about apex. Hindwings light brassy-grey.[1][2] The moth flies from June to September depending on the location.

The larvae feed on animal skin, bird nests, pellets, fur, clothing and floor and furniture covering made of animal skin.

Tapestry moths complete their cycles within a year and are more like webbing clothes moths in that they spin webbing in areas where they like to reside. Their speed of development depends entirely upon local temperature, humidity and food supplies.

Carpet moths, known scientifically as Tineola bisselliella, are small insects that can cause significant damage to carpets, clothes, and other household fabrics. They are part of the Tineidae family of moths, commonly referred to as fungus moths. Although carpet moths are often mistaken for clothes moths due to their similar habits and appearance, they are indeed distinct.

Carpet Moth - Main CharacteristicsEdit

Carpet moths belong to the family of fungus moths, Tineidae. With sizes less than half an inch, their diminutive stature often conceals their potential for causing damage. They vary in color from golden to brownish, depending on their species. Adult carpet moths are nocturnal and are drawn to the darkness and solitude of closets, basements, and other rarely disturbed areas of the home, where they seek suitable materials for egg-laying.

It's essential to highlight that adult carpet moths aren't the fabric-damaging culprits. Instead, their larvae are responsible for the harm, feeding on keratinous materials. These materials include wool, silk, fur, and feathers, which are protein-rich, offering the larvae the nutrients they need for growth and development.[3]

Types of Carpet MothsEdit

The term 'carpet moth' is more of a common name that captures a group of moths known for their destructive tendencies towards household fabrics. It does not denote a separate species but refers to various moth types, including the Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella), Case Bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella), Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), and White-Shouldered House Moth (Endrosis sarcitrella).

Each of these moths has distinctive physical features. The Webbing Clothes Moth, for instance, is characterized by its golden-yellow color and a tuft of reddish hair on its head. The Case Bearing Clothes Moth, on the other hand, has a more subdued coloration, with its mottled, greyish appearance. The Brown House Moth is, as the name suggests, brown, with distinct dark spots on its wings, while the White-Shouldered House Moth is recognized by its contrasting white shoulders against a darkly colored body.

Life Cycle of Carpet MothsEdit

The life cycle of carpet moths is indeed a captivating sequence of stages that manifests nature's intricacies. It comprises four key stages - egg, larva, pupa, and adult, each of which plays a pivotal role in the moth's lifecycle and its interaction with the environment.

Beginning with the egg stage, adult female moths seek out and lay hundreds of tiny eggs on suitable fabric materials, including wool, fur, and feathers. These fabric materials not only provide a safe haven for the eggs but also serve as an initial food source for the hatched larvae, effectively setting the stage for the next phase of their lives.

Upon hatching, the larvae embark on a period of intense feeding, representing the most destructive phase of the carpet moth's life cycle. This larval stage, which lasts for varying durations depending on the species and environmental conditions, sees the larvae voraciously consume fabric materials. This results in the typical 'moth-eaten' damage often associated with moth infestations.

The pupa stage, also known as the cocoon stage, follows the larval stage. Having consumed enough nutrients, the mature larvae weave protective cocoons around themselves. These cocoons serve as a shield, providing the larvae with the safety required for the next significant transformation in their lives.

Within the safety of these cocoons, the larvae undergo metamorphosis, a biological process through which they transform into adult moths. This remarkable transformation marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, setting the stage for the perpetuation of the species. Upon emerging from the cocoons, the adult moths seek out mates to reproduce, thereby ensuring the survival and continuation of their lineage.

Differences Between Carpet Moths and Clothes MothsEdit

The terms 'carpet moth' and 'clothes moth' are often used interchangeably, leading to some confusion. Although both types share many similarities, including their lifecycles and destructive habits, their names mainly indicate their preferred breeding sites. Clothes moths, as the name suggests, are more often found in closets, drawers, and wardrobes, laying eggs on clothing items. On the other hand, carpet moths typically infest carpets and rugs. However, both types can and will infest a range of household materials, making the distinction less critical from a pest control perspective.[4]

Damage Caused by Carpet Moths in HouseEdit

The damage caused by carpet moths in the house can be quite extensive due to the larvae's appetite for organic fibers, especially animal-derived ones such as wool, fur, and feathers. These larvae, in their pursuit of sustenance, chew through these materials indiscriminately, leaving behind a trail of visible damage that often appears 'moth-eaten'.

The consequences of an infestation are typically evidenced by the unsightly holes in clothing, rugs, and other fabric-based items. Yet the harm extends beyond aesthetics. In severe cases, carpet moths can compromise the structural integrity of certain items, such as carpeting and upholstered furniture.

Furthermore, the cost of replacing or repairing these items can escalate quickly, making carpet moth infestations not just a nuisance but a potentially significant financial burden. Hence, early detection and timely intervention are vital to prevent these small pests from causing substantial damage.

Pest ControlEdit

Dealing with a carpet moth infestation involves a multi-pronged approach. Regular and thorough cleaning is a primary step. Vacuuming helps remove any eggs and larvae from carpets, rugs, and upholstery, potentially preventing an infestation from developing. Regular inspection of clothes, particularly those in long-term storage, is also recommended.

For larger infestations, professional pest control services may be necessary. These services can offer a range of treatment options, including insecticide sprays and heat treatments, to effectively deal with widespread infestations.

In addition to cleaning and professional help, using specific pest control measures such as pheromone traps can help manage the infestation. These moth traps lure adult moths with a synthetic hormone, trapping them and preventing them from laying more eggs. Monitoring trap captures also provides useful information about the infestation's severity and the success of control efforts.[5]


  1. ^ Meyrick, E., 1895 A Handbook of British Lepidoptera MacMillan, London pdf   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Keys and description
  2. ^ Reinhard Gaedike, 2019 Tineidae II : Myrmecozelinae, Perissomasticinae, Tineinae, Hieroxestinae, Teichobiinae and Stathmopolitinae Microlepidoptera of Europe, vol. 9. Leiden : Brill
  3. ^ (2021-12-15). "House Moth Identification". MothPrevention. Retrieved 2023-05-29. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  4. ^ (2022-07-05). "What Are Moths? Facts and Control Tips". MothPrevention. Retrieved 2023-05-29. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  5. ^ "Clothes Moths Management Guidelines--UC IPM". Retrieved 2023-05-29.

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