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FABRIC PESTS

Fabric pests cause extensive damage to carpets, clothes, furniture, etc. They feed on the keratin contained in animal furs, hairs, feather, etc. An understanding of this will help in identifying and managing these pests. We will discuss the most common of these pests, the common carpet beetle, the black carpet beetle, the casemaking clothes moth, and the webbing clothes moth.

IDENTIFICATION

Common Carpet Beetle
  • Size: About 1/16 to 1/8 inch long
  • Shape: Oval
  • Color: Black with a pattern of whitish and orange/red scales on the back.
  • Head: More or less concealed from above
  • Larvae: Up to 1/4 inch long, reddish brown covered with black hairs Fabrics typically have extensive surface damage and odd shaped holes. Tacked down carpets will have damage done along the edges. Furs and brushes will have damage to the ends of the hairs. See CONTROL page for treatment procedures.
Black Carpet Beetle
  • Size: About 1/8 to 1/4 inch long
  • Shape: Elongated Oval
  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Head: More or less concealed from above
  • Larvae: Up to 1/4 inch long, carrot shaped tapering towards the rear and covered with golden brown to dark brown hairs Fabrics typically have surface damage and occasional holes. The larvae can create large irregular holes in material. Furs have damage to the base of the hairs, giving the hide a bare appearance. See CONTROL page for treatment procedures.
Casemaking Clothes Moth
  • Adult Size: 3/8 to 1/2 inch from wingtip to wingtip
  • Color: Body and wings buff to golden with brownish tinge, except for 3 dark spots on each front wing
  • Larvae: Up to 3/8 inch long, whitish except for brown head
Silken cigar shaped cases (1/16 to 3/8 inch long), with pieces of infested material mixed in, contain the larva and give this insect its name. Irregular holes in material can cause severe damage. See CONTROL page for treatment procedures.
Webbing Clothes Moth
  • Adult Size: About 1/2 inch from wingtip to wingtip
  • Color: Both wings and body uniformly buff/golden except for tuft of reddish hairs on top of head
  • Larvae: Up to 1/2 inch long, white and shiny except for brownish head
The larvae leave silken tubes in hidden places in clothes, like under collars, or silken mats or patches on material. Both the tubes and mats have fibers and feces incorporated within them. Surface grazing on fibers and holes in material are also present. In fur, these insects attack at the base of the hair causing bald spot on the hide. See CONTROL page for treatment procedures.

See also: HOW TO CHOOSE A PEST MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!