Insects Limited Lists 'Top Clothes Moth Cities'

For 2019, the top four cities for clothes moths were New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, according to a new report from Insects Limited.

March 17, 2020

Editor's note: In its recent Fumigants & Pheromones enewsletter, Insects Limited included its annual list of the Top 15 Clothes Moth Cities in the U.S.

For 2019, the top four cities for clothes moth remain unchanged; New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Minneapolis inched up two spots to grab the final spot in the top five. The state of Texas made big leaps this year as Dallas moved up considerably, and Houston joined the list while Atlanta dropped off.


Eastern Seaboard. The Eastern Seaboard again owns the top three spots on this list with NYC, Boston and Philadelphia highlighting those spots.

Other cities. Los Angeles remained steady at the No. 4 spot. Denver tied with Dallas by moving up four spots from 13th to 9th. Washington DC was the biggest mover overall on the list, dropping from the 5th spot to the 12th. Chicago moved up from 8th to 6th.

Texas. Moth populations in Texas look like they are on the rise with Dallas moving from 11th to 7th on the list and Houston coming out of nowhere and moving right into the 11th spot.

States. As far as US states go, no state has more than two cities on the list. Besides Texas having both Dallas and Houston, California has Los Angeles and San Francisco on the list. New Mexico continues to surprise with both Albuquerque and Santa Fe remaining on the list.
What can I do about clothes moths? 
Knowing what to look for is essential in identifying clothes moth activity. Finding and eliminating the moths early in an infestation can prevent years of battling these pests if they get out of control in your home. Pheromone traps are a good means of identifying and locating problems, but knowing the telltale signs of the frass and webbing from the larvae eating the clothing and rugs can prove extremely valuable in early detection. Luckily, now there are some great YouTube videos out there that can help. Here are links to a few of those:
Where will they go next?

Webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella, appear to continue to be on a rapid rise in many metropolitan areas. Research has suggested that the webbing clothes moth does not come into our homes and businesses from natural reservoirs (E.g. bird nests, dead animals) but instead travels from person to person1.

This type of behavior is called synanthropic, which means the clothes moths benefit from an association with humans and the habitats that humans create. As we pass along our wool rugs, blankets, sweaters, fur coats and feather pillows, etc. to family members, friends or other means of trade, we also move the moths from location to location. The densely populated northern portion of the Eastern Seaboard (Maine to Washington DC) again accounted for over 70% of the clothes moth sales for the entire country. As people move about the country, they carry the clothes moths with them, so even if your city isn’t on this list now, be prepared because they still might be coming your way soon!

**The list of top cities was compiled based on the total number of sales of clothes moth pheromone traps into the greater metropolitan areas of each ranked city during the period of January 1 – December 31, 2019.
1Krüger-Carstensen, B., & Plarre, R. (2011). Outdoor trapping and genetical characterization of populations of the webbing clothes moth Tineola bisselliella (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) in the broader area of Berlin. Journal of Entomological and Acarological Research, 43(2), 129-135.