Abstract Odours from dried yeast localized oviposition on fabric by Tineola bisselliella (Hummel), Tinea translucens Meyrick and Tinea pellionella L. in choice experiments in the laboratory. In Tineola bisselliella this effect was augmented by odours from the faeces from conspecific larvae that had eaten a favourable diet containing dried yeast. In contrast with these Lepidoptera, oviposition by Anthrenus flavipes LeConte was unaffected by yeast odours and deterred by odours from conspecific cultures. Blood-stains did not influence ovipositional choice. Some plant phenolics and flavonoids and quinones incompletely deterred oviposition. Both vegetable oils and fatty acids from wool wax deterred oviposition equally well when present in large amounts. Treatment of wool to control micro-organisms might reduce insect damage indirectly.