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Textile Pests

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Textile Pests

Textile pests include moths and many beetle species that feed on the natural protein 'Keratin' which can be found in any textile or product of animal origin, for example woollen products, leather and carpets. These insects cause damage to historic artefacts, clothing, carpets and upholstered furniture. They also contaminate foodstuffs and fabric–based goods.

For businesses, a textile pest infestation may also lead to a damaged reputation and loss of custom from the damage to stored items and irreparable damage to historical items.

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 Tropical Exterminators on 322-2157 for immediate help in treating textile pests.

Did you know?

Clothes moth and carpet beetle larvae feed deep in the carpet pile in undisturbed areas, meaning infestations may go undetected for years, especially if these areas are not regularly cleaned.

Tips for preventing textile pests

You can employ the following housekeeping activities to prevent a textile pest problem from occurring:

Vacuum furniture and carpets

Regular vacuuming is a vital in removing cast skins and eggs, thus contributing to breaking the natural lifecycle of textile pests and reducing their population on your premises.

Be sure to vacuum the following regularly: upholstered furniture and underneath furniture, rugs and carpet edges next to skirting boards. Pet bedding should also be regularly cleaned. It is essential to immediately discard the contents of your vacuum cleaner, outside of or away from your property.

Washing and storing clothes and fabric items

Regularly washing fabric items will also help to keep your items safe from damage. If you are storing clothes, be sure to wrap them in plastic to maintain their original state and to prevent textile pest damage.

Professional textile pest control solutions

Hygiene is a key factor in the prevention and treatment of textile pests. At Tropical Exterminators, we provide quick and efficient control of an infestation with our expert pest control solutions.


If you have noticed a textile pest infestation in your home or business, please ensure you take the following steps:

  • 1 - Once you have discovered a problem, call the experts to inspect your premises for textile pests.

  • 2 - Your local Tropical Exterminators technician will recommend a solution based on the level of infestation.

  • 3 - Our chemical control solutions involve the careful use of insecticides in areas identified with the signs of an infestation. Depending on the species and in which area they have been  found on your premises, insecticides may be applied through the method of surface-space sprays or dusts.

  • 4 - If required, our pest control technicians will set up regular visits to monitor the situation and prevent textile pests from further destroying your premises.

Contact Tropical Exterminators online to arrange a survey of your home or business. We will put in place an integrated pest management programme to get rid of beetles and other pests that cause damage to your property.

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