How to Tell You Have a Moth or Beetle Infestation

When someone thinks of invasive insects, they will commonly think of the grosser kind such as cockroaches, ants, centipedes, or millipedes. Of course, these aren’t the sole invasive insects that can make themselves comfortable in your home. Moths, as well as beetles, are a common household pest. The Clothes Moth is one of the most common and can make their nests in clothing, carpets, or other types of wool. The most common kind of beetle for infestations is the Carpet Beetle.

The carpet beetle will often make its home in abandoned birds’ nests, cereal or open food boxes, or even the corpses of small animals such as rodents or birds. Carpet Beetles are rarely dangerous themselves, but their larvae are what causes the majority of the damage to the home. It has been seen that young larvae will often feed on things such as clothing, drapes, and a variety of other fabric-based things. These larvae can do major damage if left unchecked. The adults will commonly feed on pollen or nectar, however, and are not as destructive as their brood.

Commonly, the average adult moth does not feed much at all. Their primary objective is to mate, lay their eggs, and then die. This is because of their overall short lifespan, and the fact that they reach sexual maturity in a very short time. The most common “attacked” parts of a home by these pests are quiet, undisturbed areas where clothing or carpet has been left. Typically, this damage is only noticed during the moving of furniture, or renovations. Moreover, these pests don’t solely feed on wool. It has been shown that beetles can also attempt to eat grain products, meal or mash, leather, and even leftover or shed animal fur.

Given the similarities in how these insects feed, mate, and live, their life cycles are fairly similar to each other. Adult beetles as previously mentioned have different diets than their offspring the larvae. Their food consists of pollen or nectar, and they are generally considered non-destructive in nature. It should be noted, however, that larvae as well as eggs can be present in the food in your kitchen as well.

Foodstuffs such as meal, grain, cereals, dried pet foods, bread, or other dry good items can often contain these eggs. Usually, they won’t be harmful if the food is properly prepared, however, if the food in question is left alone for a long time with these pests present, it can cause large scale damage in the long run and overall. It is just a bit gross to think about.

Why Should You Treat These Infestations?

As said before, infestations involving moths may lead to damaging both clothing and carpets, as well as other cloth-based items in your home. The longer these insects are left alone, the larger the infestation will become. The same of course applies to the Carpet Beetles as well. They may be capable of overtaking your kitchen, causing damage to both items of clothing as well as costing you money by eating all your food! Moreover, there is a danger that consuming the larvae of the Carpet Beetle may cause illness, or that these insects may carry some form of diseases which can be hazardous to your health.

Preparation before the Treatment

Before hiring a pest control service or an exterminator for your infestation problem, you should prepare your home by doing some clean-up. It is recommended that all areas – in and around the infested spaces must be thoroughly cleaned, carpets should be vacuumed, and any affected furniture or clothing should be moved away from the area. For issues involving the Carpet Beetle, it is recommended that any infested food or food containers be removed and thrown in the garbage outside and that any cabinets or cupboards which may have contained the infestation be cleaned out, sprayed, and all of its food contents removed before spraying begins. It is also recommended to check before refrigerators, ovens, and other spots in the kitchen to ensure there are no hiding nests of insects.


Once the preparations are complete, you should call a pest control service or extermination service to have the infested areas treated. Carpets, wardrobes, furniture, drawers, and more in the infested areas will be treated with a variety of insecticides. Some of the most common treatment insecticides include Effect Microtech CS, Ficam W, or Ficam D, a dust-based insecticide that comes in a powder form and kills insects on contact.

All the insecticides used are biodegradable, mostly odourless, and non-tainting. They also don’t corrode or stain wood, metal, or glass. In terms of toxicity, while they are not very harmful to mammals, it may be good to vacate the home for up to three days to allow dangerous fumes to spread out in the home and prevent buildup which can be harmful. The toxins, however, will kill the majority of insects within seconds of contact or inhalation.

What Should I do After my Home is Treated?

It is recommended that after treatment you do not vacuum, or wash down the treated spaces for a month at least; or until you no longer see dying or dead moths, beetles, or larvae. This could carry on for upwards of three months depending on the level and size of the infestation, as well as how much treatment was sprayed and used inside the home. After this time period is over, it is recommended the homeowner thoroughly vacuums the entire home, particularly areas that are not cleaned or disturbed often; as these can often be areas for new infestations to grow inside of the home.

It is also recommended that when 2 weeks have passed and you are cleaning, that you should pay special attention to areas such as rugs, carpets, draperies, upholsteries, closets (particularly clothing closets which contain wool items, or furs,) radiators, mouldings, baseboards, cracks, corners, heaters, and other undisturbed areas throughout the home. Carpeted areas under furniture, or in general, should also be vacuumed regularly to prevent the reinvesting of moths, further damage by larvae, or to remove any eggs or still living larvae which can grow to maturity and propagate to worsen the infestation again.

If it is suspected or confirmed that the vacuum cleaner contains eggs or infestation type insects, it is recommended the contents be disposed of instantly outside of the home to prevent infestations from transferring from one section of the home to another. Outside of the home, there are steps you can take to prevent further infestations from insects such as the carpet beetle. It is recommended that you remove the abandoned nests of insects, rodents, and birds (especially bees or wasps) which are near or inside of the home. It is especially important to remove insect nests; as both carpet moths, and carpet beetles can feed on the remains of the dead insects and use the existing structure to build a new nest.

Moreover, it is recommended you both regularly check any pets for insects on their fur, or to vacuum or clean their beds often to prevent nesting inside of the pet’s bed. It is also recommended to sweep and dispose of animal fur outside of the home.

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