Keeping Clothes Safe from Pests

Keeping Clothes Safe from Pests

Now that June is in full swing, we’ll be setting aside some of our “winter wear” in favor of cooler garb. And, yes, if you’ve lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida for more than a few months, you know we have seasons – and not just tourist and snowbird. Sure, the temperature changes aren’t as drastic as our neighbors to the North, but our blood is thinner too. Or so we keep telling each other.

Regardless, since we won’t be seeing 40s or 50s on the thermometer anytime soon, there are some clothes that will be staying in our closets. Unfortunately, those are the very same clothes that attract a certain type of pest, even in the Sunshine State.

Clothes Moths

Dark, warm and humid. That’s what clothing moths love, so it’s not a big surprise that they would enjoy not only our closets, but sometimes also our living rooms. And yes, despite our clever opening, we see clothes moths year round.

Clothes moths feed on keratin – the same substance our hair, nails and animal horns are made of. It also happens to be the primary structural protein in wool and feathers, which is why clothes moths are attracted to your sweaters, blankets, and couch cushions.

We see two primary clothes moths here in Florida – case-making clothes moths and webbing clothes moths. They’re both about a quarter to a half inch long with varying shades of yellowish brown. And it should be pointed out that the moths themselves don’t eat your clothing. It’s their caterpillar and larvae stages that are munching down – seeing the moths is a bad sign you may already have damaged clothes.

Carpet Beetles

While carpet beetles also gnaw on clothes and furniture, they also chow down on books, carpeting, leather, and even pollen. Despite their name, the natural habitats for carpet beetles are birds’ nests, rodent holes, insect burrows and sometimes spider webs. They’re much more at home outside.

But that doesn’t stop them from flourishing once they’re introduced into your home thanks to their nearly omnivorous appetites. They tend to avoid light, preferring dark cracks and corners and the folds of bedding.

In Florida, we see four main types of carpet beetles. The common carpet beetle – measures about an 1/8th of inch in length with orange scales over grey to black hairy bodies. The furniture carpet beetle has yellow, white and black scales on dark red to brown bodies, measuring about 1/8th of an inch.

White, brown and yellowish-grey scales mark the varied carpet beetle, growing to a length of 1/8th of an inch. The black carpet beetle is a little larger, usually closer to ¼-inch with black bodies and brown legs; their hairs are a little shorter too.

Protecting Your Clothes

Despite the variety of both sets of insect intruders seeking sustenance in your crowded closet, the best preventative for all of them is a little spring cleaning.

Generally, these insect pests take hold when clothes are stored for a long time in a stuffy, humid closet and sometimes forgotten about. Freshening your closet, clearing out the clothes you never wear anymore, and just a good vacuuming will prevent or interrupt most invasions by these insects before they can get started.

Using dehumidifier or moisture absorbent closet hanging bags is another great way to eliminate the atmosphere that invites carpet beetles and clothes moths to stick around. Using cedar or lavender is another great way to ward off clothes moths.

Insecticides can be moderately effective against these bugs but are often more harmful to your family and pets than they are to the insects. That’s one big reason Good News Pest Solutions uses only the greenest, most organic pest solutions available. Customers across the state love our Go Green Perimeter Plus that provides complete pest control for the most common insects you’ll encounter at a reasonable price. For more details, give us a call!


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