Most insects are helpful to humans and the environment but sometimes their habits bring them into conflict with humans. Clothes moths in nature live in or near the nests of insects, birds and other animals where they are valuable consumers of shed hair, horn, skin and feathers that would otherwise accumulate and foul the environment. Some of these similar material can be found in items we value like wool clothing, leather goods, furs, and rugs made of natural fibers. A Five Star Termite & Pest Control explores what bugs can live in your carpets and clothes below.
Clothes Moths & Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles were named when most carpets were made of wool. Today most carpet is made of synthetic materials that they will not feed on. Carpets made of wool or plant fibers are still susceptible to a carpet beetle attack. When they are fully grown they are about one-half of an inch long and they may crawl 10 feet or more away from the food source and attach to walls and ceilings to form cocoons, emerging later as pale moths with wingspans of less than one-half of an inch. Clothes moths are not the ones you see flitting about lights. They feed in quiet, dark areas like closets, attics, bureau drawers, storage trunks or boxes and thrive in high humidity. They eat dead skin and consume a wide range of non-living animal and plant matter.
Carpet Beetle Larvae
Most of the eating and damage is done by the hungry carpet beetle larvae. The larvae are about one-fourth of an inch long or less and have a wormlike appearance and are often hairy. Adults are round to oval shape and usually dark in color. They are capable of feeding on a wide variety of items and usually go undetected until after the damage has been done. Adult clothes moths and carpet beetles may not eat at all. Indoors they are noticed crawling on walls, mostly in spring and outdoors they may be found around flowers, feeding on pollen.
Prevention & Control of Bugs
Items that are susceptible to attack should be kept clean and tightly sealed in plastic bags or containers when not in use. Carpets and rugs made from natural material should be regularly vacuumed especially if animal hair is present as it is a food source. Structures should be kept free from nests of birds, bees, and wasps. The pest will need to be located as well as all infested items. They will then be treated or discarded. Moth balls, crystals, and cedar oil when properly used will kill clothes moths and carpet beetles. Traps can be used to find new infestations, pinpoint sources of infestation, and to monitor pest activity. Pheromone traps use chemical scents attractive to specific pests. Once attracted to the pheromones, pests will land on them and become stuck on the adhesive. Dust formulations can be used. Killing by fumigation requires a professional. The use of pesticides should be used in conjunction with eliminating sources for them to live in.
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Inspections for carpet beetles and clothes moths can involve the entire structure, scrutinizing places often overlooked, such as spaces above false ceilings, closets, attics and crawlspaces. If you suspect an infestation in your home contact a reputable pest control company like A Five Star Termite & Pest Control to remedy the problem.