Fabric Pest

Fabric Pest Identification

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What’s a Fabric Pest?

Fabric Pests, including variations of clothes moths and carpet beetles commonly infest fabrics throughout your home. In most cases the adults lay eggs in cracks and crevices. Fabric pest treatments are sold by application and are treated with a state approved material.

Varied Carpet Beetle

Varied Carpet Beetle

Anthrenus verbasci – Varied carpet beetles get their name from the rainbow of colors on their back surfaces. Their coloring is striking and they are easy to identify: the adults round bodies have black centers, with white, brown and yellow patches in an irregular pattern. They have 6 legs and a pair of antennae. Adults are about 1/6th of an inch. The larval stage of this pest feeds on, natural fibers in carpets, woolen fabrics, dead insects, furs, hides, feathers, horns, hair, silk and bones. It can take 249-354 days to three years for varied carpet beetles to grow from an egg to an adult.

Carpet beetle adults don’t feed on fabrics or natural fibers but on pollen and nectar. They are attracted to sunlight, and you’ll often find them feeding on the flowers of crape myrtle, spiraea, buckwheat, and other plants that produce abundant pollen. However, you can accidentally bring these pests inside on items such as cut flowers. With their rounded bodies and short antennae, carpet beetles somewhat resemble lady beetles in shape.

Black Carpet Beetle

Black Carpet Beattle

Attagenus unicolor – Adults and larvae of the black carpet beetle are distinctly different from the carpet beetles described above. Adult black carpet beetles range from 1/8 to 3/16 inch long. They are shiny black and dark brown with brownish legs. Full-sized larvae can be as long as 5/16 inch and range from light brown to almost black. Larvae are shiny, smooth, and hard, while short, stiff hairs cover their body. Their body tapers toward the rear and ends in a tuft of long hairs. In parts of California and other arid areas, the black carpet beetle is a more serious stored-product pest than a fabric pest.

Webbing Clothes Moth

Webbing CLoth Moth

Tineola bisselliella – Adult moths are 1/2-inch long from wing tip to wing tip; when the wings are folded, the insect is about 1/4-inch long. The wings and body are buff/golden except for reddish hairs on top of the head. There are no spots on the wings. The antennae are darker than the rest of the body, and the eyes are black. Larvae are 1/2-inch long when mature, appearing as small caterpillars that are a clear to creamy-white in color with a light brown head capsule.

The females place their eggs deep in the mesh of the infested fabric by attaching the eggs with a glue they secrete. Each female lays 40 to 50 eggs which hatch in four days to three weeks. Newly-emerged larvae begin to feed immediately. They spin silken tunnels or mats, mixing fragments of the textile being infested and bits of feces into its construction. The larvae molt five to 45 times, depending on conditions, taking from 35 days to two years to finish development. They eventually spin a silken cocoon in which they pupate. Adults live for approximately two weeks. Webbing clothes moth larvae feed on clothes, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, felt, animal hair, and stored wool. They especially like to feed on soiled materials. Adults have nonfunctional mouthparts and do not feed.

Casemaking Clothes Moth

Casemaking Cloth Moth

Tinea pellionella – Adult casemaking clothes moths are approximately 3/8- to 1/2-inch from wing tip to wing tip. The wings and body are buff to golden with a brown tinge; the front wings have three dark spots, but these distinguishing characteristics are often rubbed off. The larvae are small caterpillars (3/8-inch long) that live within a small portable, silken case which they carry as they feed. The larvae have dark head capsules and the first thoracic segment (leg segment) is dark brown or black. Adults are unable to feed and it is the larvae stage, which are small cream-colored caterpillars, with brown head capsules that damage fabrics. In houses, they are most frequently pests of clothing, carpets, rugs, upholstery fabrics, piano felts, brush bristles, blankets, hair from pets, furs, lint from woolens, and any stored wool or silk products. These products all contain the animal derived protein keratin.

Females begin laying eggs (37-48 days) after emergence as an adult. The larva feeds for about 33-90 days and molts 5-11 times. The mature larva then finds a sheltered place to pupate. The insect pupates within the silken larval case. Developmental time (egg to adult) is about 46-116 days. The casemaking clothes moth is usually more common in the southern states where there are two generations per year. Adults may lay eggs year around in the northern states but have only one generation per year.

When you don’t have the time or inclination to do deal with fabric pests all by yourself, call Corky’s at 1-800-901-1102.