Clothes Moths & Carpet Beetle Damage
The Damage Done-Going After Keratin
The clothes moths and carpet beetles are in search for keratin. These insects are capable of digesting keratin. Keratin is a protein found in natural fibers. Only these fabric insects have the capability of digestion of the keratin. Other insects such as silverfish, crickets, and cockroaches can damage fabrics by chewing or shredding, but they do not eat the fabric for the protein in keratin.
The adults of clothes moths and carpet beetles do not cause the damage, but the larvae are responsible for eating the fabrics. Wth Clothes Mothes, the larvae will not only feed on keratin, but any place on fabrics that has been stained with fluids such as human body oils, urine, sweat. They will also attack spots stained from soft drinks, beek and tomato juice.
Although clothes moths are usually blamed for for insect damage on fabric, other insect pests, most notably carpet beetles, are also capable of causing damage. Serious infestations of clothes mothes and carpet beetles can develop undetected in a home, causing significant damage to clothing, floor coverings and other items.
The immature stages (Larvae) of both the clothes moth and carpet beetle feed on a variety of materials that are animal -based, including fur, wool, silk, feathers and leathers. Items commonly infested include wool sweaters, coats, clothing, blankets, carpets, decorative items, down pillows and comforters, natural bristle brushes, toys and animal trophies.
Neither the clothes moth or carpet beetle can digest cellulosic fibers (such as cotton, linin, or rayon) or synthetic fibers(such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic)so they generally leave these alone. However, synthetic fabrics that are blended with wool may be eaton along with the wool, even though they are not digested. Cotton, linen and synthetics heavily soiled with food stains or body oils may be attacked.
Other insects such as Silverfish, can damage fabrics but do not digest keratin.
Fabric Destroying Pests - On The Rise
In the United States, the most common fabric -destroying insects are two moths and four carpet beetles. There has been a re-insurgence of these fabric pests in part due to the increased use of garments made of natural fibers such as wool, silk, furs, etc. There has been a move away from the synthetics and polyesters. The other partial reason is the ban of long-residual chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT and aldrin. Good news for use, but there has been an increase in these types of pests.
Most Common Types of Fabric Pests
The most common clothesmoths that damage clothes and fabrics are the webbing clothes moth, casemaking clothes moth and the carpet moth (tapestry moths). The carpet moth is not as common as the webbing and casemaking clothes moths. The tapestry moth wing spread is larger than the webbing or casemaking cloth moths. The other set of insects that cause fabric damage are the carpet beetles.The four common carpet beetles are the varied carpet beetle, black carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, and common carpet beetle.
Clothes moths and carpet beetles damage sweaters, furs, coats, blankets, furs, hair, hides, feathers, horns, hides, carpeting, furniture, linen, silks, insect and animal collections and stored products such as meats, fish, meal, and dried milk are susceptible to these insects.