Now that the weather is cooling down, you’re probably finding yourself digging through the closet to pull out your wool sweaters. And, if you’re like many of us, you’ll notice your sweaters have some small holes in them (at least, we hope they’re small).

Most likely these holes are the work of clothes moths or carpet beetles, more specifically their larvae. And while it’s a common problem this time of year, it’s one that you don’t want to let get out of control. Otherwise, they could colonize your entire closet and chew through your wool, silk and fur items.
If you discover that you have unknowingly hosted these unwanted guests, do not panic. Armed with the right information, you can stop them in their tracks before it’s too late. Here are a few tips to help you prevent a full-on infestation this fall.

Phermone Traps

The easiest way to monitor for and help control both the moths and beetles is to put out phermone traps. These can be ordered online through companies such as Insects Limited. A simple trap will attract and capture adult moths and beetles without leaving any weird odors in your closet or drawers, such as old-school mothballs. They work by emitting a female sex pheromone, which attracts the male moths and traps them using sticky paper (similar to flypaper).

Unfortunately, these traps only work to trap the males. While they somewhat prevent them from spreading and reproducing, they don’t prevent already laid eggs from hatching and the larvae from eating your clothes. You’ll need to take additional steps to get rid of the larvae that are causing the damage.

Attack the Larvae and Eggs

The only real way to protect your clothes is to get rid of all the larvae and eggs. That may be harder than it sounds, as the larvae tend to be relatively small, only reaching up to 1/2 inch in length. They like to hide in crevices and can be challenging to spot.

First, it’s highly advisable to clear out your closet and launder or dry clean your at risk clothes, as they could contain eggs or larvae on them. If you have some delicate items that can’t be machine washed, you can also put them in your freezer (0°F for a minimum of 48 to 72 hours) which will kill them. Once you’ve done that, thoroughly vacuum up any lint in your storage area such as floor and shelf edges. You should routinely inspect every 6 months any wool (including rugs & tapestries), silk, fur and feather items for signs of infestation.

Some Problems Require A Professional Solution

If you find that you have a significant clothes moth or carpet beetle infestation, it’s probably a good idea to call in a professional. If you contact us at Eco Care, we will recommend a course of action and treatment to remove the pests.