Friday, March 9, 2012

I Get Critters To Identify

 A client brought in this one two days ago. Several of these were found in a bathroom on the floor. At first I thought they were maggots and I wasted a lot of time searching for them, but I did learn a lot about maggots. Then I axed the maggot approach and I finally came up with what they were; case bearing moths (Tinea pellionella). Here's a video of them showing how the larvae extend out of there protective case and drag it along.

The 'cases' are shells of silk they weave for themselves that are sticky; that's why you see all the dust and dirt adhering to them. They eat wool, feathers, fur, hair, upholstered furniture, leather, fish meals, milk powders, lint, dust or paper. There is no shortage of things for them to eat in a bathroom.

Controlling them is a matter of hygiene and environment. They like to hide out and feed on dust and fibers, so keeping baseboards (where these two were found) and other hard to reach areas adjacent the floor clean is important. It also very important to dry clean your clothes if you are going to hang them up for a couple of days. The moths are attracted to dirty wool and fabric. Keeping your house relatively dry also keeps them away. UC Davis's IPM sight has more information here.
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