Clothes Mothes & Carpet Beetle Inspection


Look For Live Or Dead Insects

Look for live or dead insects. Live insects may be hard to find because these pests avoid the light, hiding in the folds of the fabric or in the cracks and crevices of closets. You can sometimes find dermestid larvae by shaking the damaged fabric over the middle of a white sheet spread out on the floor. Live adult carpet beetles and clothes moths are rarely found because they do not feed on fabric. Carpet beetles adults sometimes can be found dead on window sills, and clothes moth adults do not feed.

Look For Cast Skins and Insect Fragments

Look for cast skins, insect fragments and products. Cast skins of larvae are often found with damaged fabric or fur. If you need to remove insect fragments for identification, carefully place them in a small vial or tin and take them to an Extension diagnostic lab. Brittle insect parts break apart easily when placed in an envelope. Clothes moths will often leave silken webbing, cases, pupae or frass in the damaged fabrics. These "parts" will help identify the pest.

Look At Types Of Fabrics

Carpet beetles and clothes moths can digest keratin, a component of animal hair, which includes wool, fur and feathers. Fabric made of wool blends may also be damaged. They also feed on silk. The other fabric pests tend to damage fabrics only if the fabrics are stained with food or perspiration.

Look For The Larvae

The adult cloth moths like to fly towards light. The larvae of both clothes moths and the beetles prefer to feed in secluded, hidden places. Using a flash light and a small spatula may be necessary to seek out the larvae.

The larvae of both cloth moths or carpet beetles may be found in dark clothes in closets, furs, woolens, and carpet bits, or other material in storage. They can also be found in lint and animal hair found under baseboards, edges of carpeting, under upholstered furniture, under edges of carpets, in air ducts, and occasionally in stored products in the pantry, like cereals. The use of a knife blade or spatula will help examine the lint closely for live larvae or cast skins.


Natural Sources Of Infestations

Woolens and Linen

It is important to consider natural sources when making an inspection, such as woolens. Larvae are often attracted to soiled fabrics (such as clothing soiled with body oil or perspiration) and cracks and crevices where lint, food crumbs or dead insects accumulate.

Also Stored Pantry Products

Carpet beetle larvae may also feed on stored cereals, dry pet food and wool piano felts. Carpet beetle infestations are more likely to be discovered because of the damage they do; not because large populations are being found.

Although larva and adults are easily killed, eggs and pupa are not. Look for articles of woolen clothing which may have been stored and neglected, and check the premises for old furniture and rugs which may be a source of a continuing infestation.

Bird Nests

Other relevant areas of concern may be include sites which represent the natural habitat of these insects. Sparrow, starling, or other bird nests, inside or outside of the premises, are common points of origin. Bird nests in fireplaces and attics can be common sites.

Wasp Nests

Wasp nests, which are found under eaves and in attics, are also common sources of carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations.

Pet Hair

Another source of food material for carpet beetle and clothes moth larvae is accumulations of animal hair, which may be found quite often in homes where pets are kept. Shed hair may accumulate in heating ducts, beneath furniture, or in hard-to-clean corners. These loose tangles of hair may be sufficient to sustain a small population of fabric pests for a long period of time, even in places where all wool products might have been treated.

X Lure Trap An aid to inspections and monitoring for certain of the clothes moths and carpet beetles is a folded sticky-card trap, that contain a pheromone to attract them.

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