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Moth holes in fabric
MFA# 1996.56


Any of 140,000 flying insects of the Lepidoptera order. Moths have four wings, are partly scaly and colored with dull shades of brown and gray. Most moths are nocturnal and photophobic. Some moths, such as clothes moths and casemaking clothes moths, can be destructive to textiles. The adult female moths lay eggs on a plant or fabric that serves as the food source for the hatched larvae. The eggs hatch in 4 to 14 days. Each moth species has a particular preference in food and the larvae of clothes moths are attracted to body oil and skin residue. Their larval stage lasts about 6 months at which point they spin a cocoon, become pupae then transform into a moth. The adult moth does not eat for 5 to 15 days. Several odors repel clothes moths and have been used to prevent moths from laying eggs in clothing. Some natural repellents are extracted from: mint, rosemary, Lavender, cedar, thyme, southernwood, and santolina.


Synonyms and Related Terms

moths (pl.)

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • at Link
  • Rosalie Rosso King, Textile Identification, Conservation, and Preservation, Noyes Publications, Park Ridge, NJ, 1985
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998