It May Not Be Termites

If you find small piles of sawdust near wooden things, it may not be termites. It’s a small moth whose larvae like to eat wood.

“The brown-headed larva spins a silken case that is open at both ends. The case in the above image is covered with fine sand and debris, and superficially resembles a caddisfly case. The flattened case is about 10-11 mm long (3/8 to 1/2 inch). When crawling, the larva’s head, thorax, and three pairs of legs protrude out of the case, and drag it along. According to Internet sources, the larva feeds on a variety of material, including hair, fur, silk, felt, feathers, woolen clothing, upholstered furniture and carpets. It apparently prefers darkness and soiled clothing, and is not fond of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyesters.”

Look for the occupied or empty cases in your bathroom near the ceiling or in the corner of the wall behind a door.

If you find them, squish them. The moth has laid her eggs upon unvarnished wood or rattan. After the eggs hatch, they burrow around in the wood. It is when they are ready for metamorphosis that they burrow a neat round hole about 1mm in diameter out of the wood. Underneath their exit hole you will find a small pile of sawdust.

If left unchecked, successive generations can totally consume a shelf or other wooden object.

You can treat the infected wood with orange glo furniture polish or goo gone. They are very difficult to get rid of so be vigilant and persistent.

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1 Response to It May Not Be Termites

  1. Bob Sanz says:

    What is the species? What does the moth look like?


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