Textile or Carpet Insects
This section covers both carpet beetles and carpet moths both of which are destructive in the home.
The larval form of carpet beetle are roughly 4–5mm in length. The body is covered in a pattern of alternating light- and dark-brown stripes. The body is usually wider at the back than at the front and also bears 3 pairs of hair tufts along its rear abdomen that can be used for self-defense. The larvae of the carpet beetle is a common household pest. Adult beetles usually lay their eggs in air ducts, in closets, under furniture, or under floorboards. Once hatched and until they pupate into adults, the larvae hide in dark, undisturbed areas and feed on organic material. The larvae are thus responsible for the damage of various items, such as furniture, clothing, blankets, furs, and carpets. Infestations can be prevented by regular vacuum cleaning, dry cleaning and airing clothing outside. Signs of an infestation include the presence of damaged articles, molted larval skins in dark areas, and an abundance of adult beetles near windows.
Both adults and larvae of carpet moths prefer low light conditions. If larvae find themselves in a well-lit room, they will try to relocate under furniture or carpet edges. Handmade rugs are a favourite, because it is easy for the larvae to crawl underneath and do their damage from below. They will also crawl under moldings at the edges of rooms in search of darkened areas where debris has gathered and which consequently hold good food.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which then begin to feed. Once they have finished larval development, they pupate and emerge as adults. Adults do not eat; rather, males look for females with whom to mate, and females look for places to lay their eggs. Once reproduction is done, they die. Contrary to what most people believe, adult moths do not eat or cause any damage to carpet, clothing or fabric. It is the larvae which are solely responsible for this, and which spend their entire time eating and foraging for food.