Both carpet beetle and clothes moth are considered serious pests. They can cause serious damage to woolen fabrics, carpets and rugs, woolen goods, animal skins, furs, stuffed animals, leather book bindings, feathers, animal horns, whalebone, hair, silk and dried plant products. To successfully eradicate these pests you will need to look carefully at the life cycle and feeding habits of both of these pests.
Carpet beetle adults don’t actually feed on fabrics but seek out pollen and nectar. They are attracted to sunlight and you can normally spot the adult carpet beetles on window sills trying to escape out of windows. 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.
Adult carpet beetle will lay eggs on woolen fabric so their larvae have a food source. The larvae are the ones that cause all the damage. Larvae prefer dark, undisturbed places so normally are found under beds and furniture, corners and crevices along skirting boards etc. Normally the damage is not discovered until a spring clean or maybe when moving house.
How to get rid of carpet beetles.
The best place to start would be to thoroughly clean and vacuum all carpeted areas including under furniture. This will not only remove food sources such as dead insects and debris but also help to remove as many eggs and larvae as possible that may be hiding deep in the fabric. Next would be to apply an insecticide to help kill any remaining larvae. This might be required once a month for about three months to stop the life cycle. To control the adult beetle the best way would be to use fly screens to keep them outside and even some sticky traps that are specially treated to attract the adult beetles and catch them.
Females lay eggs in clusters of between 30 and 200 which normally adhere to surfaces such as the ceiling and cornices with a gelatin-like glue. These hatch between four and ten days later into near-microscopic white caterpillars that fall to the ground ( normally the woolen carpet) and then immediately begin to feed. Clothes moth caterpillars are notorious for feeding on carpet, clothing and natural fibers; they have the ability to digest keratin protein in wool and silk.
The clothes moth prefer dirty fabric for egg laying and are particularly attracted to carpeting and clothing that contains human sweat or other organic liquids which have been spilled onto them; traces of dirt may provide essential nutrients for larval development. Larvae are attracted to these areas not only for the food, but for traces of moisture so they do not need to rely on liquid water. Unlike carpet beetles, the adult clothes moths don’t feed at all and there only purpose is to breed, lay eggs which turn into the caterpillars that cause all the damage.
How to get rid of clothes moth
There are a few ways to get rid of clothes moth. The first starting point would be to clean and vacuum all areas that might provide food sources for the caterpillars. Brushing vigorously in bright light can dislodge eggs and larvae that have attached to ceilings etc., which may then drop to the ground to be easily vacuumed up.Then apply an insecticide to all there food sources and hiding places and use glue traps to capture adult moths.
Mothballs may help but camphor may be a safer option over mothballs,
Dried lavender leaves in a bag or oil on a sheet of fabric may help but the strong perfumed smell may be overpowering.
Insectides using permathrin which is a synthetic pyrethroid.
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