Signs of a textile pest infestation
Signs of damage may only become visible after an infestation has long been established. Clothes moth and carpet beetle larvae feed deep in the carpet pile in dark and undisturbed areas, meaning infestations may go undetected for years, especially if these areas are not regularly cleaned.
If you have items in your home or business that could be at risk, it is important to look for the following signs of a textile pest infestation:
- Live or dead adult insects - such as carpet beetles or textile moths, often found gathered around window openings. Move heavy items of furniture to expose the carpet underneath and look for moths that may scurry or fly from behind or underneath furniture.
- Faeces and shed skin - carpet beetle larvae produce faecal pellets about the size of a salt grain and shed brown shell like cast skins. Part the carpet pile to expose the backing in several areas under furniture, around skirtings and in corners, and look for insect droppings. Inspect the surface of the carpet in the same areas for loose or eaten pile and insect debris such as silk threads, cocoons, tubes, cases and cast skins. Carpet pile will be removed on vacuuming in areas of severe infestation.
- Larvae: - textile pest larvae hide in dark, undisturbed locations such as under large items of furniture (that are not often moved) or in wardrobes or closets. Carpet beetle larvae have light and brown striped bodies and are covered with thick tufts of hair, hence their nickname “woolly bears”.
- Eggs: - eggs are often laid in air ducts, cupboards, wardrobes, under furniture as well as on textiles and fabrics.
Textile pest damage
A textile pest problem will usually be indicated by insect debris (droppings and/or silk threads) around the damaged area.
Textile pests are usually attracted to natural fabric items such as wool carpets, tapestries, rugs, knitted goods, leather book bindings, upholstered furniture, silks and feathered items.
Other items that they will also damage are pillows, mattresses and furniture with traditional fillings such as feathers or horsehair. Brushes and paint brushes made with natural bristles, particularly if stored for long periods of time, may also be found with damage.
Items that are stored unprotected in cupboards for several months are more prone to insect damage. The damage to fabrics and fine knitted goods usually takes the form of irregular shaped holes where yarns have been completely severed and eaten, much like the damage small caterpillars can do to leaves of plants.
Have you noticed these signs? Call us for immediate help in treating textile pests.