Insects Limited Releases 'Top 15 Clothes Moth Cities' in the U.S. in 2018

Insects Limited Releases 'Top 15 Clothes Moth Cities' in the U.S. in 2018

The Eastern Seaboard leads the way with NYC, Boston and Philadelphia taking the top three spots.

February 15, 2019

Which cities in the U.S. have the worst clothes moth problems? Here is your answer. For the 2nd year in a row, Insects Limited released a ranking of the top clothes moth cities in the United States. For 2018, the top two cities for clothes moth remain unchanged in New York City and Boston. This year, there were lots of new cities joining the list and a few that have dropped off. 

The Eastern Seaboard owns the top three spots on this list with NYC, Boston and Philadelphia highlighting those spots. Washington DC is not far behind at No. 5. Big movers this year were Cleveland, OH who jumped all the way up to the 9th position from not even being on this list last year. Other cities new to the Top 15 this year were Denver, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia.

The New Mexico cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque fell off a bit over the past year. Santa Fe dropped 8 spots to the 12th position while Albuquerque dropped 1 spot to 14th.

Similar to the trending that we have seen with the rise of bed bugs throughout the country, webbing clothes moths, Tineola bisselliella, appear to be on a rapid rise in many metropolitan areas. Research has suggested that the webbing clothes moth does not come into our homes and businesses from natural reservoirs (e.g. bird nests, dead animals), but instead travels from person to person 1. 

This type of behavior is called synanthropic, which means the clothes moths benefit from an association with humans and the habitats that humans create. As we pass along our wool rugs, blankets, sweaters, fur coats and feather pillows, etc. to family members, friends or other means of trade, we also move the moths from location to location.

The presence of webbing clothes moths in nature in completely rural areas is nearly non-existent, while the densely populated northern portion of the Eastern Seaboard (Maine to Washington DC) again accounted for nearly one-third of the clothes moth sales for the entire country. As people move about the country, they carry the clothes moths with them, so even if your city isn’t on this list now, be prepared because they still might be coming your way soon!

The list of top cities was compiled based on the total number of sales of clothes moth pheromone traps into the greater metropolitan areas of each ranked city during the period of January 1 – December 31, 2018.

1 Krüger-Carstensen, B., & Plarre, R. (2011). Outdoor trapping and genetical characterization of populations of the webbing clothes moth Tineola bisselliella (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) in the broader area of Berlin. Journal of Entomological and Acarological Research, 43(2), 129-135.