Rankings of Cities with the Most Clothes Moths

For the very first time, Insects Limited has released a ranking of the top clothes moth cities in the United States.

Clothes Moth Map

New York City topped the list in 2017, followed closely by Boston. Find the entire list of rankings below.

Clothes Moth
Photo by Patrick Kelley, Insects Limited

1. New York
2. Boston
3. Los Angeles
4. Santa Fe
5. Philadelphia
6. Chicago
7. San Francisco
8. Minneapolis
9. Washington DC
10. Seattle
11. Dallas
12. Wilmington, DE
13. Albuquerque
14. Orlando
15. Portland, OR

Clothes Moth Populations on the Rise
Similar to the trending that we have seen with the elevation of bed bug populations throughout the country, webbing clothes moths, Tineola bisselliella, appear to be on a rapid rise in many metropolitan areas (See Note below). Research has suggested that webbing clothes moths are prevalent in cities and are rarely found in rural areas (Krüger-Carstensen & Plarre, 2011). They do not typically come into our homes and businesses from natural reservoirs (E.g. bird nests, dead animals) unless those natural reservoirs are in an area heavily populated by people These moths instead travel from
person to person, hidden away in our belongings. They are identical to the German Cockroach in the fact that webbing clothes moths benefit from an association with humans and the habitats that humans create.
As we pass along our wool rugs & blankets, cashmere sweaters, horse-hair stuffed furniture, fur coats, and other materials made of animal-based fibers to other people, we are aiding in the spread of these moths. While the presence of webbing clothes moths in nature in completely rural areas is nearly non-existent, areas like the highly populated
northern portion of the Eastern seaboard (Maine to Washington DC) seem to have more than their share of this moth pest. There is evidence to suggest that in densely populated urban environments, the moths can move from residence to residence by flight alone. Keeping them from doing that is an essential element in keeping  their numbers down. To prevent the spread of this damaging insect, make sure that all incoming furniture, rugs or textiles are free of moths before they enter into your home. Install exclusion measures (door sweeps, window screens, etc.) to keep neighboring moth populations from entering your residence or business. Clothes moth pheromone traps are available to inform you:
1. If you have the moths
2. Where they might be coming from if you do have them

(See: www.GreenWayTraps.com or www.InsectsLimited.com to purchase pheromone traps).

If you find suspected moth activity in small items such as sweaters or individual articles of clothing, these materials can be frozen for a 2-week period in any standard freezer or “super-heated” in a clothes dryer for 1 full hour on the hottest setting, to kill all stages of of the moth (egg, caterpillar, pupae and adult: Click here for video on clothes moth life-cycle). Larger items such as area rugs and furniture must be treated by a professional pest management service.

Note: The list of top cities was compiled based on the total number of sales of clothes moth traps into the greater metropolitan areas of each ranked city during the period of January 1 – December 31, 2017. The statement above that the webbing clothes moth populations are on the rise is based solely on increased sales of pheromone products related to this insect and an increase in customer inquiries about clothes moths over several decades.

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.

Clothes Moth Adult and Larvae

Larvae, pupa and adult stage of the webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella
Photo by Patrick Kelley, Insects Limited



Parental Care from an Insect’s Perspective

Parental Care from an Insect’s Perspective

By: Pat Kelley, BCE – Insects Limited

Parents are some of the most influential and important figures in our lives. Let’s face it, without them we wouldn’t even be here! When making a list about the qualities of a good parent, we will probably add the attributes that they:
1. Provide a safe place to live
2. Provide food to eat
3. Give us the best chance that they can for us to
make it on our own in the world.


What we probably wouldn’t consider is that this list is also true for insect parents and their young. Insects don’t initially come across to us as the best caregivers, but nature provides plenty of examples that prove this to be wrong. In the food category, nearly
every female insect deposits her eggs on or near a food supply for her offspring. For example, clothes moths lay their eggs on cashmere wool, cigarette beetles lay
their eggs on tobacco or spices, and so on. This ensures those newly hatched eggs immediately have sustenance to grow.

Protection of Eggs
The defenseless egg stage in an insect’s life is the most susceptible to predators who can eat them. To protect against this, a few species go to the extent of having the females hold their eggs inside their body cavities until they begin to hatch. This type of live birth (called viviparity) protects the unborn eggs until they have a chance to physically run and hide from predators. An example of an insect that does this is the Madagascar
Hissing Cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa (see the photo and video attachment below).


A Madagascar hissing cockroach female holds her egg case within her body until the nymphs begin to hatch, ultimately giving live birth. Patrick Kelley – Insects Limited 2017

Sometimes, even the insect fathers take a protective role with their offspring. The male Giant Water Bug, Abadus herberti holds the unborn eggs of his progeny on his back until they are old enough to hatch out.  Upon laying the eggs, the mother physically glues
the eggs onto his back. The father then continuously does water aerobics and makes frequent trips to the surface to supply oxygen to the eggs. He is also quite adept at avoiding creatures that would like to eat him or his eggs. This type of protective parenting give the young giant water bugs several legs up on the competition!


A male giant water bug has his offspring glued to his back to protect them. C. ALLAN MORGAN Peter Arnold, Inc. 1998 Scientific American

Good parenting doesn’t always stop after the eggs are hatched either. Some species will protect the young nymphs or larvae as well as the eggs. Take for example, the Brazilian Tortoise Beetle, Acromis sparsa. The adult female tortoise beetle guards her youngsters from the time that they are eggs into their adolescence. She will round them up like sheep and hover over the top of them and use her broad wing covers to protect
them. The young larvae aid in their own defense as well by grasping onto their own feces with hooks at the end of the abdomens and waving it at any potential predator. Together they form an intimidating (and foul tasting) shield against enemies.

Generation to Generation?
Although parental care never goes beyond one generation in insects and it is usually only used in extremely harsh or unfavorable environments by a handful of species, it is still an effective plan to protect the young. Be it mankind, mammals, reptiles or
even the lowliest insects, creatures on this earth are set on making sure that their species survives to the next generation. Insect parenting is no exception.

Please Note
The article “Child Care Among Insects, Why do some insect parents risk their lives for their young?” by Douglas W. Tallamy, photographs by Ken PrestonMafham, published in the January 1999 copy of Scientific American was the source of much of the material in
this article. Thank you to them for the wonderful information and most of the outstanding photographs seen here.


A female Brazilian tortoise beetle hovers over her larvae. The larvae
wave droplets of feces from the ends of their abdomen to create a
protective shield against predators – Copyright 1998 Scientific American photograph by Ken Preston-Mafham

NYC Rodent Control Academy

NYC Rodent Control Academy

By: Tom Mueller – Insects Limited

As declared by Rick Simeone, the Director of the Department of Pest Control for New York City, “It’s science. It just comes down to science.” I was fortunate enough to attend the NYC Rodent Academy hosted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in May. Let me tell you, that statement holds true. Dr. Bobby Corrigan did the majority of teaching throughout the academy. I have had the pleasure of listening to him speak many times, and every time I am amazed at his ability to captivate an audience with the science behind rodent pest control. It doesn’t matter if it is for an hour long presentation or a three day New York City academy; Dr. Corrigan has the talent and passion for talking about rats. He has a way of making his audience feel passionate about them as well.

On the academy’s first day we started with a single projected picture of a “gorgeous” rat. This picture led to an hour and a half discussion of rodent anatomy. What a fascinating start to what became a three day crash course including classroom learning as well as field training of rodent behavior and biology. I personally took sixteen pages of notes. Undoubtedly, the rodent program at each attendees’ company improved in more ways than one.

As for the classroom setting, academy attendees from four countries around the world and five states in the USA had the privilege of listening to speakers such as renowned Rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan, and city officials such as the Director and Assistant
Commissioners for the NYC Pest and Animal Control sector of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Robin Nagel, an Anthropologist from NYU captivated us on the history of New York City trash and how, since the 1850’s, humans have made it so conducive for rats to not only survive, but thrive in every square mile of Manhattan. Sylvia Kenmuir
from Target Specialty Products provided the group with information about Rodenticide labeling and federal regulations which seemed to enlighten the attendees no matter their experience. It is easy to see why the rat population is so prevalent in New York City. However, Caroline Bragdon from New York City’s Division of Environmental Health was able to give many ways New York City is attempting to reduce its rodent infestations by gaining a grasp on the extreme city wide trash and refuse problems.

Juvenile Rate on Hind Legs with caption

The organizers of the Rodent Academy, Bobby Corrigan, Carla Rossi, Karlette Sylvain, and Ryan Chan then gave us the opportunity to put our studies to use in the field. Split into teams and given a “Keen Observations Exercise,” we were tasked with traveling around to four predetermined locations to investigate the area for Active Rodent Signs (ARS). Our group discovered over sixty-eight signs of rodent activity among the locations. It is amazing how your eyes can be opened with the right education.

So why would a National Accounts Manager of a stored product insect pheromone manufacturing company want to attend a rodent academy? The answer: “It’s
science. It just comes down to science.”

Insects Limited and Fumigation Service and Supply are two companies that have based their entire existence on science based decisions. Find out your target pest’s biological requirements, remove those environmental factors, and the pests will either leave or they will die. It is amazing how many tactics from the rodent world can
transfer to stored product insects.

Tom Mueller is the National Accounts Manager for Insects Limited, Inc.

The Entomologist

The Entomologist

By: David Mueller, BCE – Insects Limited – Purdue Class of 1975

J.J. Davis was a pioneer in Entomology and Pest Control at Purdue.

I just want to share with you a short piece from his 1958 “The personal experiences of an

The sundial’s method
suits me fine, It only
marks the hours that
shine, What a delightful
thing tw’od be,
To have a sundial memory.

When his parents learned ‘June’ was going to the University of Illinois to study bugs, they wondered how he could make a living at it. Isn’t that what most people think today? Very few realize Entomology is one of the most profitable and interesting vocations in the field of Agriculture and basic sciences. I wonder if our high school graduates realize the marvelous opportunities in Entomology – as research workers, as teachers, as
extension specialists, in sales work, in consulting work, in museums, and in commercial pest control, to mention a few. May I add that it is one of the most interesting
vocations because it is never monotonous. Every day brings a new problem and a new challenge.

Rachel Carson was a great writer and a brave woman. I didn’t know Rachel Carson personally but her words affected me in my business and the way I look at nature today.
She was an accomplished scientist. She wasn’t from Purdue or an entomologist, but she is known throughout the world for what she wrote about nature.

Steve Yaninek and Dave Mueller - the entomologist with caption

After becoming a proficient oceanographer for the US Department of Interior at Woods Hole Institute, she found a second career as a writer of books about nature and the environment. She wrote five books, all became best sellers. Her book “The Sea Around Us” in 1951 was on the New York best sellers list for a record 86 weeks!

For a time, she had both the #1 and the #3 best seller “Edge of the Sea”. Rachel Carson was famous for her poetic way of describing nature and the way nature interacts. If you
haven’t read her book, “The Sea Around Us”, you should. Her new found fame and financial success allowed her to quit her government job and start writing full time.

One day Rachel Carson, living in Maine, woke up in the spring and didn’t hear the robins that were normally present this time of year. She researched the problem and found that pesticides were impacting nature. She then decided to write a book called Silent Spring about how pesticides impact the environment. She stated that, “Man believes it is the conquer of nature.” How did Rachel Carson affect our generation of alumni? Simply
put, she was a spark that ignited the environmental movement. She was a flashpoint much like Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle”. Her credibility from her previous writings made people lesson to the story of “Silent Spring”. Companies that focused on pest
management started offering alternatives to pesticide applications. The trend helped me start our business, Insects Limited, in 1981.

I was first an environmental science student at Purdue. I took an entomology class and found out that I enjoyed studying the niche of biology. The combination of Entomology and Environmental Science offered me a chance to work in both areas. I recorded Dr. John Osmun in 1993 saying that he believed that a statue of Rachel Carson should be placed in front of every entomology building in the country. Not only for what she said, but what she did to increase funding of pesticide research and environmental

Dr. John V. Osmun was truly a Boilermaker.

Besides being a department head of Entomology, he was the federal architect of pesticide licensing and continued education…. “Let’s educate rather than regulate.”
The smile on the statue reminds me of the smile that Dr. Osmun wore most of the time. (Susan you did a perfect job of representing his smile. I love your statue). I see
Dr. Osmun as the young entomologist. Dr. Osmun was a friend of the student. We were invited to the Osmun home often and especially during the Purdue Pest Control conference each year. It was something we looked forward to. Pesticide Licensing: In 1974 my Entomology 515 class was the first group to take the pesticide licensing course.
Dr. Osmun’s blueprint at the new EPA affects many, many people here in the US and throughout the world. One day I walked up those steps and Dr. Osmun stopped me and asked me if I was Board Certified in Entomology. I said no and he shook his finger at me and said: “Son, if you want to be professional, let’s get professional.”

In conclusion, during my senior year, Dr. Osmun took my resumes to a national meeting. Soon after he returned I received two phone calls for interviews. I received two
job offers and 43 years later entomology continues to be my career. He did this for many students. I could speak for hours about my Purdue Entomology professor, mentor, and friend. But the story I want to tell you is about John Osmun the Boilermaker. John
religiously attended Purdue football, men and women’s basketball games. He was truly a Purdue Fan. If he was here today, at this point he would raise his arm and say, Go Boilers!!

This presentation was given by Dave Mueller on April 8, 2017 at the dedication ceremonies of the statue “The Entomologist”. If you are near the campus of Purdue
University, go to Pfendler Hall at 715 W State St. and look for the “Black Swallowtail Butterfly.”

Watch a video of David Mueller at the dedication here:


Mark your calendars for June 12-14, 2018

‘25 Years of Sharing Through Education’ Lubeck 1993, Bologna 1995, Chicago 1917, York, 1999, Copenhagen 2003, Thessaloniki 2005, Monterrey 2007, Bremen 2009, Indianapolis 2012, Krakow 2014, Adelaide 2015, Indianapolis 2018

F and P conference logo

“Pest Management Around the World”

Indianapolis, Indiana

The theme of the 13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference is “Twenty-five Years of Sharing Through Education”. This conference will feature new and practical applications of pest management with two hands-on workshops with field demonstrations. Each speaker has been carefully selected to offer an international perspective on how
we protect our food, grain, structures, wood, and fiber from invasive pests. Throughout the past 25 years, this biennial conference has followed the guiding principal of “Sharing Through Education.” This 2018 version will be no different. Since our first international conference in Lubeck Germany in 1993 and many training conferences since 1978 (our very first training program here in Indianapolis) we have worked hard to improve our
skills to help improve stored product protection. Stored product protection is a unique niche. We use products which are less toxic and have less impact on the environment as well as methods which are more proactive and less reactive than out of control
pest issues. Twenty-five years ago, the thought of pheromones and non-pesticide applications was in its infancy. Today, the rush to develop and utilize proactive approaches is a sign that our industry has listened to the technology and our customers and offered them choice of options. Options that include insect growth regulators, genetic selection, fumigant scrubbers, mating disruption, pre-emptive application of low impact pesticides, scanners and cell phone applications of recording and communicating. Yet new invasions of pesticide resistance, and new pest insects and bacteria are appearing and commanding our attention with new research, new jobs, and continued training.

Programs for the conference will be mailed in the coming months. Registrations and details will be found in these programs and on Insects Limited’s website: http://www.InsectsLimited.com

Register: https://store.insectslimited.com/fumigantspheromones-conference-registration

Bugs in the House… Come on in and stay awhile

Bugs in the House… Come on in and stay awhile

By: Pat Kelley, BCE – Insects Limited

Ziggy by Tom Wilson

Insects are known to be some of the best organisms in the world at finding and exploiting niche environments. We find insects living in nearly every setting on the surface of the earth. There are insects that live in ice, snow, deserts, jungles, swamps,
forests, prairies, mountains, valleys and everything in between. Knowing their affinity to find suitable homes anywhere and everywhere, it is not unusual that our own homes can
become sanctuaries for many insect species. Let’s take a tour of a typical house and see who we might be inviting in.

Pat Article - bugs in home

Pat Article - bugs in home 2

Outdoor Landscaping
As we walk up towards our house from the outside, the lush trees, flowers and other plants that decorate the outside of the home are a food source to a wide variety of insects that feed on leaves, wood and pollen. The tree mulch around the base of the house provides food, moisture and shelter for termites, ants and fungus moth insects as well as non-insect critters such as springtails, millipedes, centipedes and sow bugs. Our pet dog or cat that is sitting on the front porch is a host to fleas and ticks. When day turns to night and we leave the light on located next to the front door, we will be attracting hundreds of species of night flying insects and the spiders that feed on them.

Pat Article - bugs in home 3

Family Room
As a family sits around together each evening enjoying a show on the television, odorous house ants and other ant species are busy beneath the sofa picking up our food scraps that we have dropped after we were munching on popcorn or other snacks. In the bay
window in this room, a colony of carpenter ants is taking advantage of an old leak that has caused “wood rot” in the window frame. These large black ants have begun to excavate a nest there.

“Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite” isn’t just a cute phase in our bedroom in this house. Bedbugs that live behind the headboard and along the sides of the mattress as well as mosquitoes that fly in our open windows at night are after us for a blood donation during the quiet of the night.

The wool sweaters, fur coats, feather-filled comforters and felt lined jackets that we store in our bedroom and/or front hall closets are a windfall in edible food for clothes moths and carpet beetles alike.

Below is an informative video about clothes moths in closets:

When it comes time to use the bathroom, we won’t be alone. A silverfish is unsuccessfully trying to run up the side of the empty bathtub after it accidentally fell
in. It has lived its entire life in the moist wall void adjacent to the tub. Small moth flies (aka: drain flies) are popping out from the rarely used drain in the sink.

Basements in our neighborhood tend to be a little damp. This is the perfect environment for smoky brown cockroaches. A floor drain in the basement leads directly into the city sewer and a multitude of American cockroaches waiting for a way to come inside. Cellar spiders and wolf spiders have made a good living here along with the centipedes who eat the plethora of insects that have made their way into the basement.

Just because the attic is high above the ground doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of activity there. A broken screen on an attic vent has allowed an English sparrow
to make a nest inside. Carpet beetles are doing quite well living on the dropped feathers in the nest. Cluster flies and Asian Lady beetles have accumulated in the attic space at numbers in the thousands as they look for a place to spend the winter. The same vent that allowed the bird to enter has proven to be a perfect entry point for umbrella wasps to make a nest containing nearly one hundred wasps.

Pat Article - bugs in home 4

There is always a warm meal for a stranger in this house. House flies that came in through the front door really like sucking the juices from the baloney in our baloney sandwich. Indian meal moths have taken a liking to the almonds in our pantry and fruit flies tend to always find the one banana that is turning black before its time. The ants living in the outdoor mulch just outside the kitchen, have made a trail through a
crack in the foundation right to the tile floor around the trash can. These uninvited guests give a new definition to an “eat-in” kitchen.

We are Not Alone
As busy as our house seems, we are no different than the house next door or any of the houses in the neighborhood across town. Insects and other critters have survived throughout time by adapting themselves to find ecosystems that give them what they need. People are happy to supply them with these ecosystems in our homes as we attempt to make our own lives comfortable. So, the next time that you open
the breadbox and a moth flies out, say “Good morning! I hope that you had a good night’s sleep!”

Fun Fact
Insects are everywhere in the world on land, but no insect spends its entire life in the ocean. The reason for this is that insects are believed to have evolved from crustaceans living in the oceans about 480 million years ago. Once the insects left the salty ocean waters, they never returned. This is quite possibly due to the fact that their crustacean cousins provide too much competition to survive in the ocean waters, or it may be something else entirely. What we do know is that on land, the insects rule!

Red and Confused Flour Beetles: A Food Industry Pest

Red and Confused Flour Beetles: A Food Industry Pest

By: Tom Mueller and Peggy Rutkowski – Insects Limited

One group of troublesome pests in the food industry and homeowner’s pantry are the Red and Confused flour beetles. These important stored product insects look
similar. Under a microscope they are different in appearance, and in your production facility they are different in biology and behavior.

Take fumigations for example. The Red flour beetle is much harder to kill and can take three times the dosage rate needed for a Confused flour beetle.

These small beetles are reddish brown and about 3.5 mm long, but do not rely on color alone to help distinguish between the two species. There are many reason why
color should not be a factor, but if you put them under a strong magnifying glass you
will see the last four segments of the Confused flour beetles’ antennae are gradually enlarged towards the tip.

confused flour bettle

The Red flour beetles has antennae that are abruptly enlarged to form a club with the last three segments. Flour beetles can cause customer complaints in stored products. These beetles are pests of flour, but also feed on processed beans, nuts, spices, chocolate, and pharmaceuticals. Both adults and larvae cause damage. Female red flour beetles will deposit 200-500 eggs in food during a 1-2 year life span. Eggs hatch in 5-12 days, and the larvae can mature within 30 days or as long as 120 days depending on temperature. The Red flour beetle has the ability to fly in temperatures above 90 degrees.

Red Flour Beetle

Video Showing the Different Life Stages of the Red Flour Beetle

Practical Pheromone Techniques: Flour beetles produce an aggregation pheromone to communicate with each other. Pheromone manufacturers have the ability to synthesize this pheromone to mimic its production within food storage and production facilities. This allows members of the pest management industry to utilize pheromone lures and traps to monitor flour beetle infestations. Traps can be placed year-round but should
be greater in numbers during the warmer months. Place traps near materials susceptible to attack at one per every 10-15 feet and check them weekly. Depending on manufacturers recommendations, pheromone lures should be replaced every 60 – 90 days.

all beetle traps

For more information: http://www.insectslimited.com