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Home Pests That Are Hungry For Your - Clothes?

Nelon-Cole Pest Control for the Carolinas

Although it hasn't happened to all of us, for some homeowners getting pests in their clothes closets can be a difficult situation to cure. Nobody wants to spray pesticides all over their nice suits or dresses! So what are some of the pests that can be commonly found in the closets of Carolina homeowners, and how can you fight back? The experts at Nelon-Cole has some answers!


Any analysis should first start with identifying the most likely pests to be munching on your shirts, so lets list the some of the more common culprits -

Nelon-Cole Pest Control for the Carolinas
closet moths are the most common threat to clothes in your home

Clothes Moths

Clothes moths are small insects that are part of the Tineidae family. The two most common species that can be found in the Carolinas are the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). These moths are notorious for their larvae, which feed on natural fibers found in clothing and other fabrics.

Clothes moths like to feed on linens for a variety of reasons. They feed on materials containing keratin, a protein found in animal fibers such as wool, silk, fur, feathers, and leather. Keratin provides the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. They primarily target natural fibers because synthetic fibers do not contain the nutrients they need (your 70's 100% polyester disco suit is safe!). However, they can damage synthetic fabrics if they are blended with natural fibers or stained with food, sweat, or body oils. Clothes moths prefer dark, undisturbed environments such as closets, drawers, or storage boxes. This reduces the likelihood of disturbance and increases the chances of survival for the larvae.

Although regular cleaning of clothes with natural fibers can be the most effective method of prevention and treatment, there can be severe infestations that can require the services of your Nelon-Cole pest control technician.

Nelon-Cole Pest Control for the Carolinas
though small, carpet beetles can really do a number on clothes and fabrics

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects belonging to the family Dermestidae. There are several species of carpet beetles that can be found in Carolina homes, but the most common ones that affect clothing and other household items are the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci), the black carpet beetle (Attagenus unicolor), and the furniture carpet beetle (Anthrenus flavipes).

Like clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae feed on keratin, a protein found in natural fibers such as wool, silk, fur, feathers, and leather. Keratin is essential for their growth and development. They prefer natural fibers (just like moths) because they provide the necessary nutrients. Synthetic fibers are not typically targeted unless they are blended with natural fibers or contaminated with organic matter. The larvae are the most destructive stage. They actively feed on materials containing keratin. Larvae can survive for several months, consuming fibers and growing.

It is important to regularly vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Clean clothing and textiles, particularly those made of natural fibers. This removes larvae and eggs.

Nelon-Cole Pest Control for the Carolinas
silverfish are more rare to spot than the others, but an infestation can still cause significant damage to clothes items in your home

Silverfish Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) are small, wingless insects that are named for their silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like shape and movements. They belong to the order Zygentoma and are known for their quick, darting motion and nocturnal habits. Silverfish are about 12-19 mm long, with a flattened, elongated body covered in tiny scales that give them a shiny, metallic appearance. They have long antennae and three long tail-like appendages at the rear of their bodies.

Silverfish are attracted to starchy materials and items containing polysaccharides such as dextrin, which is found in adhesives, book bindings, and some textiles. They can also damage clothing and other fabrics made from natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, and rayon. They are particularly attracted to items that are starched. They are more likely to eat fabrics that are contaminated with food, sweat, or other organic residues, and may nibble on clothing for traces of these substances.

Since silverfish thrive in humid environments, reducing humidity in your home can help deter them. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements and bathrooms. Ensure proper ventilation and fix any leaks to reduce moisture buildup. Regular cleaning can help prevent silverfish infestations. Vacuum regularly, especially in dark corners, under furniture, and in closet. Avoid leaving piles of papers, books, or cardboard boxes undisturbed for long periods.

Nelon-Cole Pest Control for the Carolinas
rodent damage can be far reaching in your home, in addition to the significant health risks to your family and pets


Rodents like mice and rats are known to chew on clothing, but they don't do this primarily for food. Instead, there are several reasons why these pests target clothing. Mice and rats use clothing to create nests. Fabrics are soft and insulating, making them ideal for building a comfortable, warm environment for raising their young. Rodents instinctively shred materials to create nests. This behavior is driven by their need to provide a secure and cozy space.

Rodents have continuously growing incisors that require constant gnawing to keep them at manageable lengths. Chewing on various materials, including clothing, helps wear down their teeth. They explore their environment by gnawing on objects. They may chew on clothing as part of their exploratory behavior. Clothing that has food stains, sweat, or other organic residues can attract rodents. They are drawn to the scent and may chew on fabric to access these residues. Items that carry human scent, especially those worn frequently, can attract rodents seeking the familiar smell of potential food sources.

Keep your living space clean and free of food crumbs and spills. Regularly wash clothing and linens to remove any food residues and scents that might attract rodents. Store clothing in sealed containers or plastic bins to prevent rodents from accessing them. Avoid leaving clothes in piles on the floor. Inspect your home for potential entry points such as cracks, gaps, and holes. Seal these with appropriate materials like steel wool, caulk, or metal mesh to prevent rodents from entering. Ensure that doors and windows are properly sealed and have no gaps that rodents can squeeze through. Store food in airtight containers and keep pet food sealed when not in use. Avoid leaving food out overnight.


Your Nelon-Cole technician is trained in the very latest methods of pest control and prevention. If you are noticing the signs of pests in your closets and around your clothes, do not hesitate to call and speak with a member of our award-winning team. We are here to help, and are able to offer safe, effective, and affordable treatments to rid you of pest problems for good! Charlotte Pest Control - Gastonia Pest Control - Asheville Pest Control - Spartanburg Pest Control - Hendersonville Pest Control - Lincolnton Pest Control

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