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Clothes and fabric pests like clothes moths and carpet beetles can be damaging to your property. When you find an infestation you should check carefully for every item that is infested. Clean, treat, or get rid of infested items and store woolen and similar fabrics properly to avoid future infestations.

Clothes Moths Identification

Adult clothes moths are buff-colored insects about ½ inch long. They have four wings, are weak flyers, and they avoid lighted areas so they are seldom seen. When you see small moths flying around the room and around lights are probably not clothes moths. The female clothes moth will lay 100 to 300 eggs in an area where the larvae will have plenty to eat when they hatch. It is the larvae that feed on textile items. The moths do not cause direct damage through feeding. After the larvae have finished feeding they will spin cocoons from which the adult moths emerge several days later. The appearance of the cases they emerge from is what allows homeowners to know they have clothes moths. The color of these cases will depend on the color of the fabric the larvae have been feeding on. Matching the color of the casings to your clothing will help you find the larval infestation.

What Causes Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles feed on animal materials such as wool, fur, hair, feathers, silk, horns, bone, leather and dead insects. They attack cotton, linen, and synthetic fibers if they are soiled. The adult beetles and larvae live behind baseboards and moldings, in heating and cooling system ducts and vents, dresser drawers, carpets, clothing, and upholstered furniture. The adults don’t feed on fabric and are often found around windows and on windowsills. Adult beetles can feed on flower pollen and nectar outdoors. The adult carpet beetles are small and anywhere from 1/16th to 3/16” long. They can be black or molted with white, gray and red. The adult female can lay about 100 eggs and the larvae will have plenty to eat. After one to two weeks, the larvae emerge from the eggs and are somewhat oval, brownish-black, with bristles, and they feed from nine months to three years before becoming adults.

How to Get Rid of Bugs that Eat Fabric

Good housekeeping is the tool in any good fabric pest prevention program. This cleaning will remove debris deep in rugs and carpets. Pay special attention to areas under the edges of rugs and along the wall, under couches, sofas, chairs and chests once a month. Rotate rugs and furniture to expose different areas of the floor coverings. Clean woolens and similar items at the end of winter and put them in storage. Garments made of wool and other fabrics of animal origin should be stored in tight containers with plenty of moth repellents after they have been freshly washed or dry-cleaned. Pesticides can’t take the place of cleanliness and good storage practices. There are not many insecticides that can be sprayed on fabrics, and those that are labeled for such use are not likely to provide more than six months’ protection against fabric pests. There are mothballs, flakes or crystals that are treated with chemicals that evaporate and produce vapors to repel and slowly kill insects. If you notice any signs that you have fabric pests, call Dave’s Pest Control to come up with a treatment plan.