Fabric Destroying Insects
Imagine you’re going to the chicest party on either coast, and you pull one of your swankiest Donna Karan dresses or Giorgio Armani suits from the closet. Now imagine that clothing, on which you spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars, being full of holes.
Or imagine your prized oriental rug, handed down over 10 generations, or your reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry purchased on that weekend getaway to Paris, slowly disappearing while you stand in helpless anguish, not knowing how to stop the destruction.
You’ve probably fallen victim to one or more of the insidious fabric-destroying insects. And you’d likely never knew you had them until their destruction of your clothes and carpets is already done — unless you know for what you are looking.
The two most common fabric-destroying moths are the webbing clothes moth and the casemaking clothes moth, and the babies of both species cause the most damage. As with most babies, they are almost constantly hungry, and your closet filled with thousands of dollars of clothing is the restaurant — and they do not discriminate. Wool clothing and rugs? Check. Furs? Check. Upholstered furniture, animal bristles in brushes and wool felt pads in pianos? Check, check and check.
Now they do avoid synthetics or cotton-blends unless the combination contains wool, although the larvae might use cotton fibers to make their pupal cases. What’s scariest about these moths is that most of their damage remains unseen beneath collars, cuffs and crevices — a classic case of not knowing what you have until it’s gone.
Females of both species lay about 40 to 50 eggs in a 2- to 3-week period, so it’s not hard to understand how an infestation could grow with such blinding speed that, before long, your entire wardrobe is ruined.
Varied carpet beetles also enjoy dining on woolen fabrics, but their palate is far more varied than their moth cousins. Carpet beetles will eat almost anything that isn’t nailed down — carpets, woolen fabrics, dead insects, furs, hides, feathers, horns, hair, silk and bones.
But at least they’re pretty — they get their name from the colorful rainbow coloring they carry on their backs.