Do Moths Really Eat Wool?

While the upmost care is taken to ensure only products of the highest quality leave our factory, occasionally, despite our efforts, a customer may find their socks have a fault. We’re of course more than happy to provide a refund or exchange for genuine manufacturing faults. You can read more about our Returns Policy, here

A genuine knitting fault is easy to spot because there will be a dropped stitch, which indicates something has gone wrong in the machine. 

But, if you haven’t worn your wool socks or apparel for a while and have pulled them out of your sock drawer or wardrobe and have noticed a hole, these creepy crawlies could be to blame.

Which Insects Eat Wool?

Clothes Moth

PHOTO SOURCE: CSIRO

 

It’s a common misconception that moths eat clothes, but it’s actually when they are larvae, (the caterpiller state before they transform into a moth) that they can cause havoc in our wardrobe.

Natural fibres like wool are the clothes moth larvae’s food of choice. They’ll even snack on natural fibres mixed with synthetic fibres.

If you have clothes moths, you’ll notice small holes in your socks or apparel. They may also leave behind white webbing from their cocoon.

 

Carpet Beetle

 

As the name would suggest, carpet beetle larvae are attracted to carpet, but they also like to munch on clothes. And, like their clothes moth cousins, prefer to feast on natural fibres like wool. 

While carpet beetle larvae are hard to spot given their size, if you see an adult carpet beetle, or their shell, there’s a high likelihood there are also larvae about. 

According to Pestworks, damaged clothing is a sign of a carpet beetle infestation. You may also notice bald areas in your carpet, sand like pellets, egg cases and live and/or dead beetles.

 

How to prevent moths eating wool 

When you’re not wearing your wool socks or apparel, Woolmark recommends storing un-worn clothes by either vacuum sealing or keeping them in storage bins. 

To deter clothes moths, while your socks and apparel are still on rotation, Woolmark recommends cedar blocks or coat hangers, instead of moth balls, which have a strong odour. 

To avoid carpet beetles finding your socks and clothes, you should avoid leaving them on floors. 

Both clothes moths and carpet beetles are less attracted to dirty clothing, so if possible, it’s best to wash your socks and clothes before returning them to a drawer or wardrobe. 

 

Other Handy Information

Identifying and controlling clothes moths, carpet beetles and silverfish - WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

How to Store Wool Clothes – Woolmark 

Tips for dealing with clothes and pantry moths in your home – ABC Canberra