Textile Pests

Textile Pests - The Facts

Textile Pests

Textile pests belong to two orders:

  • Moths (Lepidoptera)
  • Beetles (Coleoptera)

Listed below are some of the more common textile pests:

  • Common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)
  • Case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella)
  • Brown house moth (Hoffmannophila pseudospretella)
  • White-shouldered house moth (Endrosis sarcitrella)
  • Varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)
  • Fur beetle (Attagenus pellio)

Textile pests are unusual in that they can digest the protein keratin which is the principal constituent of wool, animal hair and feathers. Many of the textile pests are also pests of stored foodstuffs.

The four moths and two beetles listed above are the most significant pests in the UK. They will all attack clothing, carpets and fabrics made from natural fibres. It is important to deal with these pests as soon as you discover them. When you see an adult moth, the damage is already done as they will have laid their eggs on your clothing and when the larvae emerges from the egg, they are the part of the life cycle that cause the damage to your clothing.

Sometimes these pests can live and breed in birds’ nests it is therefore vital that you should have your loft inspected for evidence of birds nesting. If birds are found then they have to be removed along with their nesting material and fouling. The loft would then have to be sealed professionally to prevent bids from re-entering. If bats are found in loft spaces, treatment cannot be carried out if it disturbs the bats as they are protected under law.

In extreme cases where infestation of valuable goods occurs where spraying is not suitable then fumigation of goods may be necessary. Any good pest control company will be able to advise if fumigation is necessary.

This expensive woollen rug was taken from a client’s flat in St John’s Wood in London, the client had stored the rug in a cupboard with some other rugs and had been left there for some time. The owner of the flat called me in when she started to see moth in her flat, when I got there I opened the cupboard and pulled the rugs out, the dark marks that you can see on the rug are holes made by textile moth. This rug had to be treated against moth and disposed of. The client told me that she had paid in excess of £2000 for the rug. As I have explained, textile moth will attack only natural fibres and this rug was made from pure wool.

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