The flat diamond-shaped bug, commonly known as the case-bearing moth, is an intriguing creature to learn about.
Its unique appearance and behavior set it apart from other moths, making it a fascinating topic for both entomology enthusiasts and the general public.
Case-bearing moths (Tinea Pellionella), are known for their larvae creating tiny, portable cases from the materials they find in their environment.
These cases serve as both protection and camouflage, allowing the larvae to blend in with their surroundings. Some examples of case materials include silk, tiny debris, and plant fibers.
When comparing case-bearing moths to other moth species, here are some unique characteristics of case-bearing moths:
- Flat diamond-shaped body
- Portable cases created by larvae
- Ability to blend in with surroundings due to case-materials
Finally, let’s list some pros and cons associated with case-bearing moths:
- They help maintain our ecosystem by feeding on organic material and breaking it down
- Their unique appearance and behavior make them interesting subjects for research
- They may infest homes and structures, causing damage to stored items
- Some species are considered pests as they can harm certain crops and plants.
Understanding the features and characteristics of case-bearing moths allows us to appreciate their role in nature while also recognizing potential challenges they may present.
Overall, these small, flat diamond-shaped insects offer an intriguing glimpse into the fascinating world of entomology.
Identifying Flat Diamond Shaped Bugs
The case-bearing moth, also known as Tinea pellionella, is a small species of flat, diamond-shaped moths.
Here’s a small guide on how to identify these insects.
- Size and Color: Adult Case Bearing Moths are relatively small with a wingspan of about 9-15 mm. They usually have a mottled brown color which helps them blend in with their surroundings.
- Wing Shape: Their wings are typically narrow and elongated.
- Behavior: They are more active during night time and are attracted to lights.
- Habitat: They are often found indoors, especially in areas where natural fibers, dried foods, and other potential food sources are present.
- Size: Larvae are small, usually around 7 mm in length, but they can grow larger as they mature.
- Case: The most distinctive feature of Case Bearing Moth larvae is the silken case they create and carry around. The case is often camouflaged with debris, such as fibers and sand.
- Behavior: They drag their cases along as they move in search of food. They primarily feed on natural fibers, hair, and dried food debris.
- Habitat: Similar to the adults, larvae are usually found indoors, particularly in carpeted areas, closets, and places where natural fibers are present.
Knowing the specific characteristics and behaviors of these flat, diamond-shaped bugs can help identify the species and take appropriate preventive or control measures.
Biology and Life Cycle
The larval stage of the case-bearing moth typically consists of caterpillars, which are the most active feeding stage of the insect.
During this stage, the larvae feed on different materials, such as fabrics, hair, and dried plant matter1.
- Small, cream-colored
- Brown head capsule
- Active feeders
As the larvae grow, they construct a cocoon-like structure called the pupal case. This case provides protection as they undergo metamorphosis into adult moths.
Pupal case features:
- Made of silk and debris
- Camouflaged to blend with surroundings
- Tightly attached to materials
Adult case-bearing moths belong to the Lepidoptera order and the Tineidae family. After emerging from the pupal case, they focus on reproduction rather than feeding2`.
Adult moth characteristics:
- Small size, wingspan of 9-16mm
- Light brown to grayish color
- Diamond-shaped when wings are closed
Comparison Between Different Life Stages
|Attribute||Larval Stage||Pupal Case||Adult Moths|
|Typical habitat||Fabrics, hair, plants||Silk & debris structure||Near breeding grounds|
Habitat and Behaviour
Case bearing moths can be found indoors, particularly near walls or in cracks and crevices. They thrive in houses and garages, where they feed on carpet fibers and natural fibers.
High humidity is favorable for their growth, and they can often be found among cobwebs or spider webs.
Places where indoor infestations might happen
- Damaged carpets
- Clothes made of natural fibers
Outdoors, case bearing moths can be found in bird nests and other areas with high humidity. They feed on dead insects and are usually found near walls or other structures.
Examples of outdoor presence:
- Bird nests
- Foundations of houses
- Garden sheds
Comparison of Indoor and Outdoor Presence
|Factor||Indoor Infestation||Outdoor Presence|
|Common Habitats||Walls, cracks, crevices, carpets||Walls, bird nests, high humidity areas|
|Feeding Sources||Carpet fibers, natural fibers, dead insects||Dead insects|
|Humidity||High humidity is favorable||High humidity is favorable|
Overall, case bearing moths can be a nuisance both indoors and outdoors. It’s important to monitor their presence in order to prevent damage to natural fibers, carpets, and other household materials.
Prevention and Treatment
Cleaning and Vacuuming
One of the best ways to prevent and treat a case bearing moth infestation is through regular cleaning and vacuuming.
Vacuuming helps remove larvae, eggs, and adult moths from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces.
- Vacuum at least once a week
- Pay attention to hidden areas like closets and under furniture
For example, if your infestation is in a closet, you can:
- Remove all items from the closet
- Vacuum the entire area thoroughly, including shelves and corners
- Launder or dry-clean affected clothing
Controlling humidity is also crucial in preventing and treating case bearing moth infestations. High humidity levels can create a favorable environment for moths and their larvae.
- Maintain indoor humidity below 50%
- Use dehumidifiers or air conditioning units if necessary
Pest Control Services
Hiring a professional pest control service to manage the infestation may be required if DIY methods are not effective.
- Experienced in treating case bearing moth infestations
- Use of specialized treatments and equipment
However, keep in mind that professional pest control services may:
- Be costly
- Use chemical treatments that may be harmful to some individuals or pets
In conclusion, prevention and treatment of case bearing moth infestations can be achieved through regular cleaning and vacuuming, controlling humidity, and, if necessary, seeking help from pest control services.
Other Case Bearing Insects
Household casebearers, or Phereoeca uterella, share similar appearances with the case-bearing moths.
However, they are a separate species, known for their unique larval cases made from materials around the house like fibers, dust, and tiny debris.
Although both species create cases, the household casebearer’s case has a distinct spindle shape that sets it apart from the Tinea pellionella.
Plaster bagworms (Phereoeca dubitatrix) are often found in damp and humid areas.
They look quite similar to household casebearers, with their larval cases made from a mix of silk and debris.
However, they are primarily found in plaster or stucco walls, distinguishing them from other case-bearing moths.
Tineola bisselliella, commonly known as the webbing clothes moth, is another flat, diamond-shaped species.
It is a well-known pest, targeting natural fibers in clothing and textiles.
They are beige or light brown in color, with fringed wings. Unlike the previous species, the webbing clothes moth larvae do not build a protective case.
In summary, the case-bearing moth is a nuisance and can cause damage to fabrics and other materials.
One effective method to manage them includes regular cleaning and vacuuming. This helps in eliminating their food sources and habitat.
Understanding the features and characteristics of case-bearing moths is useful for effective pest management.
By comparing these moths with other pests and knowing their pros and cons, one can implement the best course of action to protect their homes from these unwelcome visitors.
- Entomology Department, University of Florida – Case-bearing moth ↩
- Moths of North America – Tineidae family ↩
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Case Bearing Moths
Little worms in white paper houses
Dear Bugman, I recently moved to Florida to a just constructed home. I have a monthly bug service that I pay for dearly, as our new home had cockroaches before it was even occupied.
Now I keep finding a very strange bug in my bathroom. It is a little tiny reddish worm carrying a big (1/4 inch long) paper shell, acutally dragging it around. The shell looks similar to a large sunflower seed in shape, but is white and papery.
When you go near them, they retreat into the little shell. Then when they think it’s safe, they pop out of the end and start akwardly dragging the shell around again. I keep picking them up and tossing them outside, but everytime I go into my bathroom there are more of them.
Yesterday when I was taking a bath, one crawled up out of my bubblebath, pulling his little paper shell with him. Now that’s the last straw for me. Yuck! What could these things be?
None of my neighbors have ever seen or heard of such a thing. They suggested silverfish, but I know what they look like and these definatley are not silverfish.
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae. The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends.
They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. We have gotten many letters from Florida regarding Case Bearing Moths.
Update: Invasion of Privacy????? (03/22/2008)
March 22, 2008
We are writing to you on behalf of Leslie M*^^!##s. She has asked us to contact you to see if you will consider removing the content about her … Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are ReputationDefender, Inc., a company dedicated to helping our clients preserve their good name on the Internet.
Our founders and employees are all regular Internet users. Like our clients, and perhaps like you, we think the Internet is sometimes unnecessarily hurtful to the privacy and reputations of everyday people. Even content that is meant to be informative can sometimes have a significant and negative impact on someone’s job prospects, student applications, and personal life.
We invite you to learn more about who we are, at [web address removed] . When our clients sign up with our service, we undertake deep research about them on the Internet to see what the Web is saying about them. We find sites where they are discussed, and we ask our clients how they feel about those sites.
Sometimes our clients express strong reservations about the content on particular websites. They may feel hurt, ashamed, or “invaded” by the content about them on those sites. As you may know, more and more prospective employers, universities, and newfound friends and romantic interests undertake Internet research, and the material they find can strongly impact their impressions of the people they are getting to know.
When people apply for jobs, apply for college or graduate school, apply for loans, begin dating, or seek to do any number of other things with their lives, hurtful content about them on the Internet can have a negative impact on their opportunities.
At some point or another, most of us say things about ourselves or our friends and acquaintances we later regret. We’re all human, and we all do it! We are writing to you today because our client, Ms. M*^^!##s, has told us that she would like the content about her on your website to be removed as she considers it outdated.
Would you be willing to remove or alter the content? Simply omitting her last name would be more than sufficient. It would mean so much to Ms. M*^^!##s, and to us. Considerate actions such as these will go a long way to help make the Internet a more civil place.
Thank you very much for your consideration. We are mindful that matters like these can be sensitive. We appreciate your time. Please let us know if you have removed or changed the content on this site by sending an e-mail to: [email address removed].
If another individual would be more appropriate to contact on this matter, we’d be grateful if you could forward this message to him or her. Yours sincerely,
ReputationDefender Service Team
Though it is time consuming, we can provide a do-over for her by removing Ms M*^^!##s name from our website post haste. We never intended to invade her privacy. We merely posted a query letter she willingly sent to our site.
We would hate to impact her potential dating opportunities, her chances of getting into a university (we would never forgive ourselves if this was a deal breaker with Harvard) or her chances of getting a lucrative job merely because of the world knowing that she had Case Bearing Moths in her bathroom.
It is sad that potential love connections and employers could be so cruel and insensitive when a good look at their own closets, kitchen cupboards or bathrooms might reveal an infestation of carpet beetles, meal moths or bathroom flies.
Our sympathies go out to Ms. M*^^!##s and we wish her all the luck in her subsequent internet romances, post graduate work, and securing that six figure income now that she cannot be connected to Case Bearing Moth Larvae on the internet.
Our readership weighs in:
On the ” Leslie M*^^!##s” thing.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this young woman probably had a problem with an entirely different place all together. Or perhaps had no problem at all and this company is phishing.
Either way, they just did an internet search for her name and, since it came up on your site, they mailed you. That’s my opinion and can be taken as such. This sort of thing always makes me mail the person in question to see if it’s true. Bye! Love your site!
Invasion of Privacy
Dear What’s That Bug,
At first I thought that your letter from the ReputationDefender team was a joke since it was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.
Ironically, I think that worse than having your name associated with a picture of a Case Bearing Moth Larvae in your bathroom, is being associated with a “reputation defender team” trying to get your name removed from being associated with a picture of a Case Bearing Moth Larvae in your bathroom!
Personally, I would feel honored to have my name as one of those privileged few who have had their pictures and/or letters posted on such a respected and loved web site.
In fact, I wouldn’t want to have as friends or employers those who would think that writing such a letter to What’s That Bug would be liability. Some of the coolest and most interesting people I know are those who are frequent visitors to this site. Keep up the good work!
Laura from NJ
Letter 2 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Subject: Weird bug in oblong casing??
Location: Southern California
October 13, 2012 1:24 am
I found this in my bathroom the other day. I looks to me like a larvae in some kind of sack/cocoon/casing thing. The casing is an oblong shape with two entry/exit holes on opposite sides. The bug inside comes halfway out occasionally, but never completely out.
It moves very slowly and pulls the casing along with it, like a hermit crab. The bug itself looks like a tiny caterpillar, like it has many small legs. It appears to be wither white or a very pale yellow with black stripes. The casing is no more than half an inch long.
Thank you so much for your help!
This is a Case Bearing Moth Larva, Phereoeca uterella. According to BugGuide: “larvae feed on old spider webs; may also eat woolen goods of all kinds if the opportunity arises.” BugGuide also notes: “The larval case is silk-lined inside and open at both ends.
The case is constructed by the earliest larval stage (1st instar) before it hatches, and is enlarged by each successive instar. In constructing the case, the larva secretes silk to build an arch attached at both ends to the substrate. Very small particles of sand, soil, iron rust, insect droppings, arthropod remains, hairs and other fibers are added on the outside.
The inside of the arch is lined exclusively by silk, and is gradually extended to form a tunnel, while the larva stays inside. The tunnel is closed beneath by the larva to form a tube free from the substrate, and open at both ends.
After the first case is completed, the larva starts moving around, pulling its case behind. With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside.” We suppose they can be considered Household Pests, especially based on this amazing photo from our archive.
Letter 3 – Cocoon Bugs are Case Bearing Moth Larvae
I have these very strange bug/cocoon things hanging all over the outside of my house, and they are on the inside of the porch. The just appear to hang there, and occasionally they must move, but I have never seen them move. I have attached several pictures of them on the porch. We live in South Florida and they are here all year. Any input would be appreciated.
Sorry for the delay in answering. You have a type of Casebearer, Family Coleophoridae. This is a type of moth which forms a case in the larval stage and pupation occurs in the case. They are often pests on apple and other fruit trees.
Letter 4 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
what is this ??
Location: SE. Florida, Ft.Pierce
January 25, 2012 10:44 am
Dear Bugman, I found this flat bug in my bathroom, in S.E. FL. in January,
It is about the size and shape of a watermelon seed, speckled grey and black, it has a long thin head that appears to poke out and pull itself along. I have attached two photo’s
thanks for yur help.
Signature: Ray in FLA
This is such a wonderfully detailed image of a Case Bearing Moth Larva. While they might be considered as Household Pests that could damage organic fibers like wool, they are most likely benign and feeding off shed pet hair, human hair and other organic debris like food crumbs in the home. The case is made of silk and incorporated particulate matter.
WOW, That was a fast response, Thank you for clearing that up. we called it a flounder bug., left it alone last night as we went to bed, When we woke up she was gone..
thanks again, great service you have.
Have a great day.
Letter 5 – Household Casebearer
Inchworm in dirt cocoon?
September 9, 2009
This creature was found on our kitchen counter early yesterday morning. My wife thought it was a bit of dirt (like a small, dried chunk of mud that fell out of a groove in the tread on the bottom of a tennis shoe).
Then a small dark-brown head of what appears to be a worm protruded approximately 3mm, and the “dirt cocoon” inched it’s way along in roughly 0.5-1.0 mm increments, moving along just like an inchworm does. The head end extends out 1-3 mm, then it drags the “cocoon” along behind it.
The “cocoon” appears to be made of fine particles of dirt (very fine particles like silt) or maybe wood or paperboard (like cereal box material).
The cocoon is open at each end, slightly fluted (like the mouthpiece of a trumpet), and the “worm” inside can stick its head out of either end.
It seems to be quite shy, as most of the time it stays inside the cocoon, motionless. When taken out of the plastic bag (with a smallpiece of moistened paper towel kept in the zip-lock bag) and set out free on the table, if we are very quiet it will stick its head out after a few minutes and start to inch along.
I might be able to take a video of it moving, using our ditigal camera, if that is of interest (although like all videos the file size could be too large to send easily, and the resulting video does not have the best resolution/clarity). Let me know if you would like the video and I will make one.
We would be most appreciative if you can identify this creature for us. We will make donation to support the website as soon as this is submitted.
“How does this work?”, or “What happened to my submission?”
I’m wondering how this works. When you, BugMan, or BugMan’s proxy, reply to a “What’s That Bug” submission, does the submittor receive an email notification that you have responded? Or does the response only appear on the website and the originator of the submission needs to check back on the website to see if a response has been posted?
Also, gving the benefit of the doubt, I made a $20 donation immediately after I submitted my question (subject: “Inchworm in dirt cocoon?”, submitted 2009-09-09 circa 17:30 Pacific time US), but I see a few submissions that were made after mine have already been answered on the website, whereas mine has not been replied to as yet.
I don’t know what to expect from your website, so please take a moment and enlighten me as to what to expect. Was the $20 donation too small, or did I submit a difficult question, or are you off on a trip? Please advise & enlighten.
First we want to thank you for your generous contribution. We also apologize for our delay and your resulting confusion. We have a very small staff (one person who makes the identifications, formats the images and posts the letters and images to the site, and another person who manages the logistics and technical problems of the website), so we are only able to respond to a fraction of the inquiries we receive.
Though contributing a donation does not ensure that we will be able to respond to a question, we felt guilty that you were given that impression, and we tracked down your original submission in our inbox. To respond to your question, we try to post interesting or unusual letters or photos, or submissions that might have a general timely relevance and we also directly email that response to the querant.
Other letters just get a brief identification email response, but the majority of letters are unanswered. Your household intruder is a Household Casebearer, Phereoeca uterella. BugGuide has much information, including: “Habitat Larval cases can be found on wool rugs and wool carpets, hanging on curtains, or under buildings, hanging from subflooring, joists, sills and foundations; also found on exterior of buildings in shaded places, under farm sheds, under lawn furniture, on stored farm machinery, and on tree trunks
Food larvae feed on old spider webs; may also eat woolen goods of all kinds if the opportunity arises
Remarks The larval case is silk-lined inside and open at both ends. The case is constructed by the earliest larval stage (1st instar) before it hatches, and is enlarged by each successive instar. In constructing the case, the larva secretes silk to build an arch attached at both ends to the substrate. Very small particles of sand, soil, iron rust, insect droppings, arthropod remains, hairs and other fibers are added on the outside.
The inside of the arch is lined exclusively by silk, and is gradually extended to form a tunnel, while the larva stays inside. The tunnel is closed beneath by the larva to form a tube free from the substrate, and open at both ends. After the first case is completed, the larva starts moving around, pulling its case behind. With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside.
[from Featured Creatures, U. of Florida].” Again, thanks for your generous contribution.
Letter 6 – Feeding Frenzy: Case Bearing Moth Larvae eat dog biscuit
Subject: What’s my bug?!
Location: Irvine, California 92612
February 17, 2011 6:34 pm
Living in Southern California. Have searched and searched and can’t find anything resembling there. They have a papery outer shell, and the head protrudes by only a couple of mm.. These pictures are of them feeding off a dog biscuit – when I’ve left one they turn up within an hour from under the baseboard. This is the most so far (16). They are mobile but very slow as the head / thorax comes out and drags the rest of the papery shell along.
Signature: Many thanks, Toby
Your image of an infestation of Case Bearing Moth Larvae has us aghast. We have never seen documentation of so many in one place at one time. Most identification quests for this cosmopolitan Household Intruder are of single individuals. They feed on organic debris including shed pet hair.
Hi Daniel, thank you so much for getting back to me. This is very interesting.
From what I can gather from the internet they’re pretty harmless, so I’ll leave them be for now. Incidentally I tried them on a Lucky Charm but they seem to prefer the dog biscuit..
I think I’ve seen a maximum of 20 at one time, there are 16 in the pic I sent you. Note also in the pic that there’s one emerging from the baseboard at the top, as well as a juvenile in the lower left. Right now there are also a couple more making their way towards the biscuit across the bathroom floor, but they still have a yard or so to go.
Interesting also that they are _very_ alert – any motion around them and they go hide in their casings for a good 10 minutes.
Many thanks again, Toby.
Thanks for the update Toby. We really enjoyed your observational account of the behavior of Case Bearing Moth Larvae.
Update: July 26, 2014
Hope you’re well.
We’re very slowing relocating from Irvine to Utah. The house here in CA is empty now and I’m slowly doing a final clear out and tidy up.
I’ve noticed a couple more Case Bearing Moth Larvae roaming around in the same area that I’d seen them back in 2011. I think I’ve seen the odd one in the years since then but infrequently and I’ve not really gone looking for them..
I’ve offered the obligatory dog biscuit so I’ll leave it for a day or so and see who turns up.
Letter 7 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Location: indoors on wall and on the floor
December 18, 2010 5:14 pm
I have these odd pods everywhere inside my home. I find them on the floor or attached to the walls…I am hoping for identification and of course I want to get rid of them!
They are difficult to see unless they are on a white wall, I am afraid that they are in more places and I will have a few nasty surprises soon. I have searched your site already and the web but have found nothing similar. Many many thanks for any guidance
Case Bearing Moth Larvae, like the one in your photograph, are often found indoors on walls. They feed upon shed pet hair and other organic fibers, and the best way to control them is to meticulously vacuum away their food source.
Letter 8 – Case Making Clothes Moth
Hi, I was cleaning out my room, sort of spring clean when I found out these were all over the place, below the bed on the carpet. Most of them were underneath boxes and underneath chests of draws.
A closer inspection could see that some were wriggling, worm like creature with small brown heads, that were popping out of the pods as shown. Im kind of feeling quite sick now, never had them before, what are they? where do they come from? how do I humanely get rid of them?
About 6 months ago I had purchsed a new mattress could that be the cause? I did look on your website but cannot find anything that resembles what I found. I have enclosed a photo.
You have two different insects. In the center is a Dermestid or Carpet Beetle Larva. The cocoon are some type of moth. We checked with Eric Eaton and here is his identification: “Looks like casemaking clothes moths, Tinea pellionella, or webbing clothes moths, Tineola bisselliella. family Tineidae. I am no expert, but that is what I suspect. Really curious what is under the bed, though:-) Eric”
Letter 9 – A Cache of Case Bearers
a mystery bug I found
I’ve attached a photo of several egg “casings” I found in my bedroom. I placed these casings (each between 1/4 – 1/2″) in a plastic bag, and you can see some wormy-looking things popping out of some. They eventually turn into a thin brown bug with wings. What are these things ? (I live in South Florida).
That is quite a Cache of Case-Bearers you have there. These are moth larvae that build a protective case and usually feed on pet hair. They are an annoyance but basically benign.
Letter 10 – Case Bearing Moth Larvae eat Catfood
Subject: catfood insects
Location: North central Florida
March 27, 2016 5:52 am
Hi, lately I’ve noticed some kind of insect or something around the catfood bowl. They arrange around a solitary piece of catfood in a flower petal fashion. At first I thought some type of silverfish, but these don’t have any noticeable antennae or feet. I thought they must move extremely slowly, but recently I noticed some move.
They appear to gather around a piece of wayward dry catfood for days. When I first saw them, they were completely around a piece of catfood and it looked like (from a distance) a plastic flower or something, so I picked one of them up. They almost cotton-like to the touch. Any ideas?
We are amazed that the organized manner in which these Case Bearing Moth larvae are eating cat food.
Letter 11 – Case Bearing Moth Larva from Malaysia and Cave Dwelling Centipede from Borneo
what’s this bug?
I was casually eating my cocopops and bran-flake breakfast in my apartment this morning, when I noticed this strange insect hanging from the underside of my table. The coin is a 20 Sen MYR coin, about 1 inch in diameter.
The small white ‘cocoon’ was oval shape with a hole in each end, and the worm-like creature would coninuously poke its head out and crawl along a tiny distance each time. I assume it’s the larvae of some insect, but have no idea what. If you can identify it, I’d be highly grateful.
Ps, I thought you may appreciate a photo of what looks very similar to a house centipede, but was actually observed in a remote cave in the interior of Borneo, which if I’m not mistaken would make it a “Thereupoda decipiens” aka a Long-legged Centipede. All photos are my own, so do with them as you please.
Your mystery cocoon is a Case Bearing Moth Larva. These are benign creatures that feed on pet hair. We love the Long Legged Centipede photo.
Letter 12 – Case-Bearing Moth Larva
I was going to email you with my pictures of this bug that I have found twice on the walls of my home in Southern California but fortunately found the ‘Case Bearing Moth’ email on your site. Thanks for solving my riddle! Here are my pictures if you’d like them for your database
We like the dime for scale.
Letter 13 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Egg-sack thing with worm
I live in Sherman Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles. I’ve been noticing at least one of these egg-sack things appear in and around my house lately, usually attached to a wall a few feet up from the floor. They are medium brown in color, look and feel like small scrap of paper, and are about one centimeter long. Do you know what is hatching out of it? The little worm keeps poking in and out of a hole at both ends of its “home.”
Thank you, – Shel
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae Phereoeca fallax. Here is some information issued by the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures Department: Entomology Laboratory Services: “Case-bearing Moth Larva (Phereoeca fallax) this is a common species in the Los Angeles basin, specially along coastal areas.
The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends. They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures.
Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. Thorough vacuuming should help control their numbers. The adult moths are very small and are rarely seen.”
Letter 14 – Case-Bearing Moth
Ok this one is really gross. I live in Singapore. A couple of days ago, I looked down and saw this flattened rice krispie looking thing on my floor. I looked closer and it was moving.
A tiny little brown head looking thing came out and helped it inch along. That head like thing could come out either end. The “casing” whatever it was looked like a whitich rice krispie. I think it was something the thing had excreted. I think it is a worm inside but I am not sure.
Maybe it is something in its larva stage. Do you know what this sick looking thing is?
wendi in Singapore
Dear Wendy in Singapore,
There are certain moths that have a caterpillar that spins a cocoon like case that they live in. They can drag the case around. sounds like that is what you saw. The family, called Casebearers, is Coleophoridae.
thank you so much. It is difficult to find pictures but I did find one that is similar of the one that eats Larch. The one here is whiter casing but I think you are correct. I really appreciate your reply.
Letter 15 – Fanmail and Case Bearing Moth Larvae identification
Subject: Meal moths and case bearing moths
February 21, 2014 10:57 am
Thanks so much for your extremely helpful site!
I’ve read your identification responses for both the Indian meal moths and the case bearing moths. I was wondering if the Indian Meal Moths also make the flat pods.
I have found worms, cases and moths in my house for months now.
We moved to Puerto Rico from Maryland and I believe we unpacked the pests after they sat in a shipping container for two months.
We threw away everything that we thought was contaminated, but they seem to be back! Just wondering if all three are maybe the same thing or if we have two kinds of bugs.
Thanks for any help!
Letter 16 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Subject: Strange bug
Location: Naples, FL
October 25, 2014 2:15 pm
Yesterday I found a bug in the bathroom, a type I have never seen before. Since we occasionally have silver fish, I thought it might be an odd looking one. Then today I saw something move ever so slightly at the rug’s edge [an area rug in the den]. Closer checking and it looked just like the bug I found yesterday.
I got a magnifying glass and tried to figure out what it might be. I spent the last 90 minutes searching the web as best I can. No luck. I’m as puzzled now as ever. I will attach a couple of photos, though not the best, but the best I could do.
The bug measures 5/8 inches by 1/4 inch. Color appears to me to be a tan or ivory and the head appears to be a redish color.
Signature: Charles Sebrell
case bearing moth larva
Dear Daniel Marlos,
That was quick. My thanks. I have now checked it out with that title. Must admit, I have never seen one before.
My sincere thanks!
Life is just simpler if you plow around the stumps.
Thanks so much for your kind response to our terse identification of a Case Bearing Moth Larva. We have decided that your original written request was so nicely worded and your response was so kind that we retroactively determined to go live with a posting.
Letter 17 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Subject: Odd creepy crawly
Location: Southeast Florida
February 23, 2017 5:09 am
Ive recently found a bunch of these hanging around, a hard casing with what seems to be a little black worm inside along with silverfish. The worm will stick its head out and move itself around surprisingly fast as well.
Its starting spring and its been raining quite a lot here in southeast Florida. They also seem to be more active at night but that may be because I’m not around much of the day. Thanks.
This is a Case Bearing Moth Larva, a common household pest that will feed on many types of organic matter in the home, including pet hair.
Letter 18 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Geographic location of the bug: Brazoria County Texas
Time: 12:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: These little things stick to the interior and exterior of one particular wall of our house. The front wall is where our porch light is and our bathrooms (they tend to be in the bathrooms more than not) but they were all over the place under our exterior shutters when we took them down.
They stay stuck on the wall when they die. The “tongue-like” part extends to grab a new spot and it pulls itself up and repeats the process. I see them dead as often or more than I see them alive. Thanks for any insight.
How you want your letter signed: JA
This is a Case Bearing Moth larva, a common household nuisance that will feed on pet hair and other organic materials found in the home.
Letter 19 – Case Bearing Moth Larva
Subject: The pumpkin seed looking bug
Geographic location of the bug: Brownsville TX
Time: 10:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I have seen these things several times and at first thought it was a pumpkin seed, but as it began to crawl I figured it sooooo was NOT one!! I could really use your help, never seen one befor,.
They just began appearing inside house, not all move though. I have tried looking them up, but have not found anything that might help. I also have a video of it moving. Thanks…
How you want your letter signed: Odette
Because others have also compared its appearance to a pumpkin seed, we suspected correctly from your subject line that you were inquiring about a Case Bearing Moth Larva, a common household intruder found globally. In the home, they often feed on debris like shed pet hair, but they are also known to feed on pet foods and other organic materials.
Letter 20 – Case-Bearing Moth Larva
What’s this bug?
I live in Southern California , about a mile from the beach. I have been seeing these in my house for about 2 years now. They are usually slowing climbing up a wall, but just yesterday my son found one on his shirt. Any help would be appreciated.
You have a Case-Bearing Moth Larva, Phereoeca fallax. They usually feed on pet hair and will not harm clothes.
Letter 21 – Case Bearing Moth
Good day Bugman! I have been searching everywhere for someone who has the knowledge to help me out! I am currently living in Taiwan, and have recently moved into a new apartment. My landlord told us that this apartment had been vacant for about 10 months before we moved in.
Well, I started seeing these strange spots on the walls, and realized that they moved imerceptibly! Taking a closer look at what I initially thought was cobwebs (because they like to move up and down the wall in the corners where 2 walls meet), I discovered they are in fact alive!
When I squish them, they are as thin as paper, and there is no crunch or resistance of any kind. The black protrusion you see coming from the bottom can protrude from the top or the bottom, but not simultaneously. It has no big range of motion, and has a very tentative hold on the surface it is against.
This one is on the outside of my toilet bowl. And you’ll notice that this one has an orange coloring, very distinct. Most of the ones I’ve seen have been all brown and mottled, resembling tree bark, without this orange splash. There never was any big population, I found maybe 10 in the whole 3 bedroom apartment when we moved in.
Since then, I’ve found maybe a dozen more, and these at long intervals…since this one on the toilet bowl, I haven’t seen another for 2 weeks or so, and so it’s not a question of infestation or management, I just can’t seem to find anyone who can tell me what this is!
I hope these pictures and this information reach you alright, and I am eagerly anticipating your response! Thanks again for your excellent site, and I hope to hear from you soon!
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae probably Phereoeca fallax or a near relative. The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends.
They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. We have gotten many letters from Florida regarding Case Bearing Moths.
Letter 22 – Case Bearing Moth
Can’t quite figure this one out…
Hello Mr. Bugman!
I love your site and you’ve done a great job cataloging and explaining to people what bugs they have been lucky enough to photograph or see. I searched and couldn’t find out about my bug. I suspect that it’s a bagworm but i’m not sure. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida in an older wood framed house.
We have lived her for 2.5 years and i’ve never seen this insect until the past few weeks. I’ve seen probably a 8 or so. They are usually >crawling up a wall – inching their way up pulling this sandy very flat sack like thing behind them. In the photos I’ve attached, I placed in on my bathroom sink to get a better shot.
He has some lint attached to >him from the baseboard. I didn’t measure this one but another one I just found is about 1/8″ and he was smaller than this one. I would appreciate any feedback if possible.
Thanks so much!
Hi Mo Eppley,
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae. We have additional information on our clothesmoth page. The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends.
They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. We have gotten several letters from Florida regarding Case Bearing Moths.
Letter 23 – Casebearer
I live in Guernsey Island, just off coast of Cherbourg peninsula. I have just seen a bug which looked a bit like a tiny hermit crab. It was a little larger than a grain of rice, and it’s shell or cocoon looked to be composed of tiny grains of grit and sand. A head and legs were just visible as it crawled along the top of a granite wall.
Other cocoons, stationery, appeared to be fixed in crevices in the wall. Looking in books, I found it resembled a caddis fly larva – except it was not in water. I took a picture, but it is almost impossible to see the bug, as it matches its background so well. So here is my drawing. I’m intrigued as to what it might be.
You have Casebearing Moth Larva, Phereoeca fallax. They are harmless, and often feed on fallen pet hair. Your drawing is pretty great. You can see photos and get more information by visiting our clothesmoth page.