Carpet beetle: Wool carpets are particularly endangered

Carpet beetle: Wool carpets are particularly endangered

These tips will help you spot the culprits and get rid of them.


Fur beetlesBacon beetlesCarpet beetlesBrass beetlesMuseum beetlesBall beetlesDress mothFurry moths

Fur beetles, clothes moths, carpet beetles: some pests don’t target our food supplies, but our wardrobes. When it comes to holes in clothing, many initially think of clothes moths. But other pests also eat textiles. How do you recognize the vermin and how do you get rid of them?

The expert Mario Heising from the German Pest Control Association gives some important advice. However, it also warns against fraudsters without expertise: "The supposed pest control agents are often mediated via so-called craft exchanges." Often the lay people would not provide any service, but would ask for 300 to 1,000 euros in cash. You can find reputable pest controllers through the association, for example. You can also help yourself with these tips: 

These pests destroy your clothes
Photo series with 11 pictures

Fur beetles: voracious larvae destroy clothing

One of the most common pests in German wardrobes is the fur beetle. There are two subspecies: the brown fur beetle (Attagenus smiernovi) and the spotted fur beetle (Attagenus pellio).

The brown fur beetle is about three to five millimeters long and has light brown wing-coverts. Its head and neck are a little darker in color. The larvae of the brown fur beetle are up to seven millimeters long. They are golden yellow to light brown. Your whole body is covered with thick, tight-fitting hairs. They have a bristle tail made up of longer hair and scale bristles on their segments. 

Spotted fur beetle: It is elongated oval and about three to 5.5 millimeters long and two to three millimeters wide. (Source: Wildlife / P.Hartmann / dpa)

The spotted fur beetle is elongated oval and is about three to 5.5 millimeters long and two to three millimeters wide. It is dark red-brown to black, its elytra are somewhat lighter. The spotted fur beetle got its name from several hair spots: it has a white hair spot on each of its wings and three more on the back of its neck. The very hairy larvae grow a little longer than the beetles. 

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Fur beetles themselves do not live very long and often do not eat any food at all. If possible, they fly outside and feed on nectar. The problem is their larvae: the development from egg to beetle takes about a year at room temperature, sometimes even two to three years. The females can come into the house to lay eggs towards the end of May. Meanwhile, the larvae avoid the light and crawl between the cracks in the floorboards, under cupboards or in crevices in the wall. 

The larvae feed on keratin, which is contained in furs, pelts, animal hair or woolen textiles and can cause damage in closets, carpets or pillows.

Fighting fur beetles

To prevent the animals from spreading, there are a few steps to follow:

Regularly check wool carpets and woolen textiles thoroughly for larvae or signs of eating; Wrap clothes, blankets or carpets that are not used or stored for a long time in bags or foil and seal them tightly; Vacuum cracks in floorboards and closets frequently so that hair and lint cannot collect here feed the larvae 

If the animals did get into the apartment and have spread, you should first find out whether they are really fur beetles.samples of argumentative essay writing For example, the German Pest Control Association (DSV) can help. Mario Heising from the DSV advises to seek professional support in any case. "You can try a lot alone, for example vacuuming particularly thoroughly"says the expert. In order to remove entire populations from dwellings, however, you often need special means such as "mechanical dust". 

Bacon beetle: a particularly large material pest

Bacon beetles are particularly common in large cities. The common bacon beetle (Dermestes lardarius) has a characteristic coloration of the wing covers: the front part of the beetle is covered with yellowish hair, between which there are three black dots. On the other hand, it is black on the rear. The beetle can get particularly large with up to one centimeter. The larvae resemble a very hairy caterpillar. 

A bacon beetle: In the apartment you can often find it by the window or on the windowsill. The larvae live very hidden and like to hide behind cupboards or between cracks in the floorboards. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

The larvae of the bacon beetle feed on carrion in nature and ensure that animal carcasses are completely removed. That is why the bacon beetle is considered a hygiene and material pest at the same time: the larva eats food supplies, but also wool carpets, animal skins or leather from furniture. They are particularly common in neglected homes. 

The beetles usually hatch at the beginning of April, can fly well and so regularly get into the house, where they can lay eggs. In apartments you can often see them at the window – the larvae, on the other hand, hide behind cupboards or in cracks in the floorboards.

Combating bacon beetles

"In order to protect clothing from infestation, everything that is to be stored for a longer period should be packed in plastic bags or garment bags", explains Mario Heising. Insect screens on the windows can also prevent the bugs from entering the house. 

If the bacon beetle has already spread in the apartment, however, a specialist should be consulted. "You can also get advice on the phone – but you should always speak to a professional", advises Heising. 

Carpet beetle: Wool carpets are particularly endangered

Carpet beetles are quite small beetles that only grow to be around three to four millimeters long. Along the suture of the wing they have a red-colored area, the wing-coverts are predominantly dark-colored, but have three light, wavy spots. The larvae of the carpet beetle are up to five millimeters long and very hairy. 

A carpet beetle: The pest is only about three to four millimeters long. (Source: Wildlife / P.Hartmann / dpa)

Most carpet beetles live in houses or bird nests. The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar. They lay their eggs in May and June and die shortly afterwards. The development time from egg to beetle takes about six months. The larvae of the carpet beetle live hidden in apartments and feed on wool carpets and textiles. But they also sit in cracks in the floorboard, for example, and eat hair that has collected there. 

Control of the carpet beetle

As with the fur and bacon beetles, you can protect yourself from carpet beetles by making sure that the beetles do not get into the apartment themselves and that the larvae cannot find any food: suck out cracks in floorboards, carpets and hidden corners particularly thoroughly and pack them up Textiles that you want to store for a longer period of time are well sealed in bags. Infested textiles can be washed in the 60 degree program, hung in the sun or put in the freezer for two days. However, if the infestation is severe, an expert should be consulted. 

Brass beetle: spider-like and nocturnal

The somewhat spherical brass beetles (Niptus hololeucus) are reminiscent of a spider and are between 2.5 and 4.5 millimeters in size. The beetles get their name from their wing-coverts, which are densely covered with brass-yellow hair. They also have noticeably long antennae. 

A brass beetle: The animals often live in half-timbered houses. Here they stay in the straw fillings of the walls and false ceilings. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

Brass beetles are rarely found in the city, explains Mario Heising, as they mostly live in old half-timbered houses. "This pest is actually very, very rare"says the expert. It feeds on natural materials such as the straw fillings that are used as insulation in the walls and false ceilings of half-timbered houses. That is why the animals are often only noticed when renovation work is pending. It is therefore difficult to protect yourself against an infestation. 

Fighting the brass beetle

If the animals spread from the walls and false ceilings into the apartment, they can also attack leather, upholstery, plush, terrycloth and textile wallpapers. Professional pest control companies should be hired to control the animals. "Alone you have little chance of finding the source of the infestation"according to the expert. 

Museum beetles: particularly dangerous for wool sweaters

With a body length of only two to three millimeters, the museum beetle (Anthrenus museorum) is particularly small. It is mostly dark in color, but has a few small bright spots. The larvae of the museum beetle are very hairy, oval and yellow-brown. They have so-called arrow hairs for defense and long bristles on their abdomen. 

A female lays around 30 eggs – development then takes around six months. In May and June, most beetles enter buildings to lay their eggs. In nature, the larvae feed on cadavers and process the keratin from animal products into food. In homes they can therefore become dangerous pests on carpets, woolen items, furs, leather, silk, feathers, horn and collections of insects. 

Combating the museum beetle

As with other pests, the main thing that helps against museum beetles is hygiene. "Vacuum a lot, also on the edge and under carpets or cupboards", advises Mario Heising. Many would forget these areas when cleaning – and the pests could settle in peace. 

Ball beetle: rare danger for terrycloth and plush

In the meantime, they hardly exist anymore: Ball beetles (Gibbium psylloides) have never been the reason for Mario Heising to use pest control. Nevertheless, they are classified as material pests.

A ball beetle: The pests rarely occur in apartments – if they do, they love old buildings and half-timbered houses. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

They are only two to three millimeters in size, have comparatively long antennae and look – similar to the brass beetle – a bit like small spiders. The wing covers of the ball beetle are smooth, shiny and brown-red in color. Unlike many other beetle pests, ball beetles cannot fly.

They love old buildings and half-timbered buildings and are therefore rarely found, especially in large cities. Ball beetles and their larvae are also nocturnal and live mainly in ceiling and floor cavities. The pest prefers to eat leather, textile wallpaper, upholstered furniture, terrycloth and plush – the biggest problem, however, is the populations that live in the straw fillings of walls or false ceilings. 

Control of bullet beetles 

To combat it, contact insecticides in the form of dust or liquid must be applied in the areas where the beetles are. The control of bullet beetles is extremely difficult and expensive and should therefore be left to professional pest control companies. 

Clothes moth: Sticky traps indicate infestation

Clothes moths (Tineola biselliella) are very small – only four to nine millimeters long – and therefore very inconspicuous. But the larvae of the silvery-straw-yellow animals can cause great damage in closets. The moths like to stay in dark, warm and dry places and lay up to 250 eggs in woolen textiles, furs, furs or feathers. 

The larvae eat textiles, furs, carpets and feathers and use them to build ghost tubes. "There are moths in very many apartments – often you only find the empty webs"says Mario Heising. You can also tell if your closet is infected with sticky traps. 

Combating clothes moths 

However, the expert thinks little of household tips such as patchouli oil, lavender or cedar wood: "Of course, the smells can prevent a single moth from choosing the wardrobe – but if there is already an infestation, smell no longer helps." Sort out infected clothing, isolate other materials of animal origin and clean the closet thoroughly: That can help with clothes moths. "As a rule, nobody in a private household needs a professional pest controller for clothes moths", explains Heising. 

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Fur moths: rarer than clothes moths

You will also find fur moths (Monopis rusticella / Tinea pellionella) in your wardrobe much less often than clothes moths. The animals reach a wing span of nine to 13 millimeters and have a beige-colored body with dark spots on the wings. In contrast to the larvae of the clothes moth, the larvae of the fur moth build a housing from leftover food that they carry around. 

The female fur moths lay around 100 small, whitish eggs in folds of textiles and between the hairs of furs. There the larvae hatch after a few days and spin a pipe around them in which they live. Like clothes moths, they also feed on textiles. 

Fighting fur moths 

To prevent infestation with fur moths, the apartment should be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. If there is already an infestation, the pests can be fought with insecticides and by experts. 

Sources used: German Pest Control Association e.V .: Pest directory, Stiftung Warentest: "Pests in the house – the big crawl"

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