You never know what you'll find in the deep, dark corners of your closet. Sometimes, the hidden surprise is a pest infestation. Some bugs that live in closets eat your clothes, so dealing with the pests quickly can save your favorite outfits. Learning to identify and deal with common closet bugs helps.
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As the name suggests, the larvae of clothes moths like to eat your clothing, which makes them a destructive bug to have in your closets. While the adults leave your clothes alone, the larvae typically eat materials that come from animals, such as leather, wool, silk, and fur. Closets and other dark places without much traffic are favorite spots for the larvae.
To get them out of your closet, find the clothing items that are infested with clothes moths or their larvae. If the items are damaged beyond repair, bag them up and toss them. If you can save the clothes, wash them in hot water and dry them in the dryer if the care instructions allow for it. Dry cleaning can also kill them.
Next, vacuum the closet area, including the carpet and the edges of the closet where the walls meet the floor. If you want to treat the closet, look for an insecticide formulated to treat fleas or fabric insects. You might also need help from professional pest control services if the moths don't go away.
Carpet beetles are busy during their short 20- to 60-day adult life — they can lay as many as 100 eggs. The larvae hatch in a week or two, and you can have larvae for up to a year. Adult carpet beetles are tiny black bugs that often come inside your home to lay eggs. The larvae are small worms covered in hairy bristles.
It can be difficult to get rid of a carpet beetle infestation, especially if it's severe since you have to get rid of the eggs, larvae, and adults. Clear out the closet and vacuum and steam clean it to help remove and kill them. Your clothes should go in the wash to help kill the bugs. Adding vinegar to the wash cycle can help kill them.
You can also apply treatments to kill the pests. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the infested carpet dehydrates the larvae. You can also use indoor insecticides with active ingredients of cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, or bifenthrin. If you can't get rid of the infestation on your own, hire a pest management company to handle it.
Firebrats and Silverfish
Firebrats and silverfish are similar creatures that sometimes end up in your closet and eat your clothes. These centipedelike bugs look similar, but silverfish are silver, while firebrats are brownish. You'll often find them in bathrooms since they love moisture, but they can also hang out in closets. Both like to eat rayon and cotton. Silverfish also like silk, and firebrats like linen.
You won't typically have huge firebrat or silverfish outbreaks, so controlling the environment is usually enough to stop them from eating your clothes. To prevent them from gathering in your closet, control moisture and humidity. Make sure your clothes are dry before putting them in the closet and use dehumidifiers to keep the overall moisture low. Vacuuming your closets regularly can also help.