Fabric Pest Identification & Prevention

What are fabric pests?

Fabric pests refer to those insects that present a danger to silk, wool, furs, rugs, and other synthetic fabrics that may be stored in our Kansas City homes and businesses. In most cases, it is actually the larvae of these nuisance pests that feed on the materials, not the adults.

a carpet beetle crawling on the floor of a farley missouri home

The most common fabric pests living in the Kansas City Metro area include carpet beetles and clothes moths.

Carpet beetles
Adult carpet beetles have a rounded dome shape and are very similar in appearance to a ladybug. Their exact color and mottled color pattern are species-specific. Carpet beetle larvae are about 1/4 inch long and have a tapered (carrot) shaped body. They are brown with lighter colored stripes and bristles covering their bodies.

Clothes moths
Clothes moths have long, narrow wings that are a buff-yellow color. Their front wings have three dark spots, and their hind wings appear fringed with long hairs coming off of them. The clothes moth larvae are about 1/2 inch long, have a worm-like appearance, and are whitish with a black or brown head.

Are fabric pests dangerous?

Fabric pests are not dangerous to people. They aren't known to spread diseases, and they don't bite or sting. Fabric pests are, however, harmful to a property because of their habit of feeding on natural fabrics. They chew holes through things like clothing, carpets, blankets, carpets, upholstered furniture, and pantry items. Also, carpet beetles are attracted to the oils that are found in people's hair and on their bodies. When they come into contact with a sleeping person, they have the potential to cause an itchy, raised rash. The rash often causes people to think their home has been invaded by bed bugs, which is incorrect.

Why do I have a fabric pest problem?

Often, fabric pests are carried into a home on items that are already infested. They are attracted to any animal-based fabrics and dry goods that they can feed and lay their eggs on. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the material. Adult carpet beetles are attracted to light and are often drawn to the windows and doors of homes, finding their way inside through gaps found under or around them. They can also be brought in on used furniture, boxes, and clothing. Clothes moths like the dark, so if you have clothing or items stored in dark, undisturbed areas you could have a problem with clothes moths.

Where will I find fabric pests?

Inside of homes, carpet beetle larvae are found living on floors around baseboards, in closets, in basement areas, inside of cardboard boxes, beneath upholstered furniture, and under carpets. Clothes moths like the dark, and avoid artificial lighting. Therefore, they are often found living in dark basements, closets, and other storage areas.

How do I get rid of fabric pests?

To eliminate fabric pests from your home and property, partner with a professional pest control expert. At Augustine Exterminators we provide the advanced modern methods needed to solve your unique pest problems and prevent future ones. Our trained and certified specialists offer homeowners effective and affordable fabric pest control services. To learn more about the residential and commercial pest control services we provide throughout the Greater Kansas City area, call Augustine Exterminators today!

How can I prevent fabric pests in the future?

Fabric pests are a problematic pest to guard against. There are some steps you can take to make your Kansas City Metro property less attractive to these destructive pests.

  • Remove dry goods from their original packaging, and place inside air-tight containers.

  • Inspect outdoor plants and flowers before bringing them inside.

  • Make sure window and door screens are intact.

  • Install weather stripping around windows and doors.

  • Professionally clean carpets, upholstered furniture, and curtains.

  • Regularly vacuum and dust your home to remove hair, dust, dead insects, and other debris that larvae feed on.

  • Do not store clothing, blankets, and similar items inside cardboard boxes. Instead, place them inside pest-proof boxes or bags.


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