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What Do Moths Eat?


This week, we’re opening up our mail bag! Jonathan in Miami is struggling to understand what clothes moths eat and why they’re in his girlfriend’s apartment.

Dear Moth Guy,

You already explained this but I still don’t get it. What do moths actually eat except clothes? My girlfriend’s apartment has them and I am trying to help her. She doesn’t have any sweaters or the stuff you said they eat. We live in a mid-century brick apartment complex. We run the air conditioning almost year-round and don’t open the windows. How are they alive and what are they eating? Sorry… not trying to be dense here. Love the site!


Thanks for the kudos, my man! When I first discovered my own moth problem, I was also confused. How were these creatures living in an otherwise ordinary apartment? I had about 3 wool sweaters, no animals, and kept it pretty clean.

Without knowing more about your situation, it’s possible they are living in crevices where there is an accumulation of dust. Dust is an accumulation of dead skin cells which contain… you guessed it… keratin! This is the “secret sauce” of any moth infestation. That’s why you will find clothes moths on every continent except Antarctica; wherever humans go, so will they.

This is dust. Dust is moth food.

It’s also possible that pets are attracting the moths. Do you have a dog or a cat? Without knowing this, there’s the possibility that additional factors are contributing to your infestation.

Have you checked the carpets? Older apartments may have wool-based carpeting that they could be eating. Not all clothes moths live in clothes! Keep being vigilant and follow the Moth Emergency Plan. Report back to me in three months with an update and we’ll go from there.

Rest easy.

-The Moth Guy

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