Why Do Moths Eat Wool?

For the very sensible reason that they’re hungry and they like the taste of wool.

why do moths eat wool

The eaters are actually the larvae, or caterpillar stage the moths go through before they get their wings. The caterpillars have mouths with strong, biting jaws that can chew cloth and fur.

When the caterpillar changes into a winged creature, a moth, its mouth changes too, and it can only suck nectar from flowers through a hollow tube at the front of its head.

You may wonder how these tiny crawling caterpillars get to the wool clothing in the first place, since they cannot fly. This is because the female clothes moth lays her eggs on clothing and furs and in rugs and carpets. When the larvae hatch, they first eat their eggshell, then begin to eat whatever material they rest on.

While caterpillars have very poor eyesight and can see only light and dark, adult moths have keen vision through the thousands of eyes on each side of their head!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

3 thoughts on “Why Do Moths Eat Wool?”

  1. A few months ago I found what looked like a twig in the linen basket…it moved and on inspection realised that it was infact a caterpillar!! As it was getting cold I put him into a jar with Ivy and very soon he formed a cocoon around him and hid between two leaves. I did not think that he would appear until spring when I could let him go. Unfortunately he thought spring was yesterday and on checking he flew up from the jar! He stayed in and have now have moved him to a bigger jar with Ivy twigs. He sits on the glass looking out. What should I give him to eat?? Will he live?? It is snowing outside…OH!!!

  2. Only one type of caterpillar eats wool, the clothes moth caterpillar. Carpet beetle larvae will also eat wool. Any other type of caterpillar will leave it alone. Moths don’t eat wool at all.

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