Closets, wardrobes, and even dresser drawers can be hiding and breeding places for many fabric pests.
These insects will sneak inside your home and infest places where you keep clothes.
This guide reveals seven closet bugs that are the biggest threat to your clothing, fabric, and especially your expensive clothes made of leather, wool, silk, fur, and feathers.
You’ll also find out how to keep bugs out of closet, without hiring a pest controller, in five easy steps.
7 Common Closet Bugs – Bugs That Eat And Damage Clothes In The Closet
- Carpet beetles larvae
- Clothes moths larvae
- Psocids mites (Booklice)
These seven bugs are a danger to your clothes inside closets, wardrobes, and even inside dresser drawers.
Let’s find it out by deep diving into each of these bugs.
The Carpet Beetle Larvae: The Tiny Hairy Worm Of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are tiny flying beetles that are primarily garden bugs.
Outdoors, carpet beetles feed on the nectar and the pollen of flowers.
However, things change after these beetles mate.
Carpet beetles will fly inside your home to lay eggs.
They’ll make use of open doors and windows to fly inside your home.
They’re also efficient crawlers.
So, they’ll also sneak inside your home through the thin gaps and cracks on your home’s walls.
Carpet beetles will look for materials made of animal matter to lay their eggs inside your home.
So, they’ll target woolen carpets, woolen clothes, silk clothes, things made of leather (including leather couches), and materials made of feathers and fur.
While on the clothes, the carpet beetle will look like a tiny black on the clothes scurrying around and surveying where to lay the eggs.
It’s because the larvae that hatch out of the eggs feed on products made of animal matter.
A carpet beetle can lay up to 40 eggs in your home in different places.
Each egg will take 10-20 days to hatch. The larvae from these eggs will take 220 – 630 days before they pupate and turn into adults.
So, in these 200 odd days, the carpet beetle larvae can inflict significant damage to your clothes and fabric in your closet if you don’t get rid of them.
The carpet larvae look like a tiny brownish-black worms with hairy bristles on their bodies.
The hairy bristles can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people and cause itching if they crawl onto your skin.
But carpet beetles larvae don’t bite. They don’t spread any diseases either.
The carpet beetle larvae can also be on your bed. That’s why they’re also in the category of bed worms.
The food stains and dirt on your bedsheets draw the carpet beetle larvae to bed.
That’s why dirty clothes and fabric inside the closet, dresser drawers, and even in the laundry basket can attract these carpet beetles’ larvae.
The damage that carpet beetle larvae create on the fabric looks like chewed holes with edgy corners.
So, the adult carpet beetles don’t pose any threat to your clothes.
It’s the carpet beetles larvae that can cause expensive damage inside your home.
The carpet beetles not just targets clothes to lay their eggs.
On top of sneaking inside cars too to lay their eggs, they’re also a common pantry pest like the weevils, cigarette beetles, red flour beetles, grain beetles, and drugstore beetles.
It means that carpet beetles will also target stored food like cereals, grains like rice , pet food, spices, beans, and other dried food in your kitchen to lay their eggs.
Clothes Moths Larvae: The Tiny Worm That Is A Danger To Your Clothes, Especially Woolen Cloths
Clothes moths are nuisance moths in many homes, especially from the spring.
However, they refuse to overwinter when your home has central heating during the winter months.
These moths fly inside your home, you guessed it right, to lay eggs.
And they’ll target your closet, dresser drawers, wardrobes, woolen rugs, and carpets to lay their eggs.
The adult cloth moths are no danger to your clothes.
The larvae of these moths can inflict some severe damage on your clothes, especially on woolen clothes.
You’ll notice these little moths crawling on the woolen clothes or woolen carpets to lay their eggs.
The larvae of these moths look like a tiny worm dragging a bag on its abdomen.
That’s why the clothes moths are also known as case-bearing clothes moths because their larvae carry a case on their abdomen.
But for a few days after hatching out from the eggs, these larvae of clothes moths don’t have a case.
Initially, they look like tiny brown worms on clothes. The case develops over time after continuous feeding on the fabric and linen.
The damage on the clothes looks like holes in different places on the clothes which are impossible to repair.
Their fecal deposits on the clothes are also visible in the form of greyish spots on the fabric.
Silverfish In The Closet
Silverfish, like cockroaches, also feed on the starch present in natural fabric like cotton and linen.
These are also moisture bugs that sneak inside homes when the weather outdoors turns hot and dry.
Inside your home, they’re prone to hide in your bathroom and kitchen where there’s more usage of water and damp.
But while scavenging for food at night, silverfish can sneak inside the closet, wardrobe, and dresser drawers to feed on the fabric.
Silverfish do not cause intense damage to the fabric like the other bugs in the closet.
But the portion that they chew can turn yellowish, which can be heartbreaking for you if it forms on your favorite clothes.
However, stained fabrics attract silverfish and firebrats (the silverfish look-alikes, but slightly bigger).
They’ll chew on the stained portion of the fabric, which will turn into a hole.
But there’s a catch.
Silverfish don’t have any preference for the type of fabric they’ll chew on.
That’s why they’re a threat to even synthetic fabrics like rayon and polyester.
Crickets Inside The Closet
Crickets in the closet are rare. It’s because they’re more attracted to stained and dirty clothes than clean clothes.
However, their random jumping habits and propensity to hide in tight places can accidentally make them enter your closet.
Their damage on clothes is also minimal unless they chew on the stained portion of the clothes.
But there’s one big problem with crickets in the closet.
Crickets are random defecators. Inside the closet, they’ll defecate on your clothes.
The excrement stains on the clothes are challenging to remove and can remain on the fabric after multiple washes.
Cockroaches Damage Clothes Too
If you’ve ever believed that cockroaches will limit themselves only to your kitchen, bathroom, basement, and attic, well, you’re wrong.
These nasty bugs can also hide in your closet and wardrobe.
And they’ll feed on the fabric you keep inside.
Cockroaches specifically damage cotton fabric because cotton has starch, an essential food source for roaches.
That’s why roaches are bugs that damage books and paper because they contain starch too.
They’ll chew on the clothes.
And the worst part is that if you don’t find out there are roaches in the closet, these roaches can also nest inside.
Baby roaches will over inside your closet, and over time, your closet or wardrobe can be one of the hot spots of cockroaches.
There can also be cockroach smear marks on your clothes.
These smear marks are roach feces that are hard to remove from fabrics.
Psocids Mites Inside The Closet
Psocids mites are tiny, and hard to spot, and they’re well known for damaging books and papers.
But they can also damage clothes and fabrics.
However, they target dirty clothes more often than clean and freshly washed clothes.
So, if you’ve got clothes in your closet, drawers, and wardrobe that you didn’t wash for months, psocids mites will infest the closet.
Because molds form in dirty clothes that you didn’t wash or clean for ages. And psocids mites feed on the mold.
They can also create holes in the clothes when they feed through the mold and chew on the fabric.
Molds also form in old books.
That’s why psocids mites are also known as booklice, the most common book bug in homes with high humidity.
Termites In The Closets And Wardrobes
Termites in the closets and wardrobes are a rarity unless there’s a termite infestation in your home.
Termites will infest the closet through the walls and feed on the clothes.
Clothes, especially natural fibers like cotton, have starch, one of the essentials for termites to survive.
That’s why termites can also eat books if they’ve infested your wooden bookshelf.
So, if you see termites in the closet, you’ll notice mud tubes on the closet that termites have created.
These mud tubes are the channels for the travel they create to commute.
Sightings of termites in the closet, dresser drawer, and wardrobe is disastrous sign.
It shows that the termite infestation has spread to your home deep and wide.
Pick up your phone and hire a pest controller to get rid of termites asap.
How To Keep Bugs Out Of Closet In 5 Steps
Here are four easy ways to keep bugs out of your closet–
Keep Dirty Clothes Out Of Your Closet
Nothing attracts fabric pests more than a cluttered closet stuffed with dirty and unwashed clothes.
From food stains to the smell of your sweat, these are fabric pest attractants.
So, don’t ever keep dirty clothes in your closet and wardrobe.
Dry clean your expensive clothes, especially clothes made of wool, fur, silk, and leather, to eliminate any chances of closet bugs hiding in them.
Also, it’ll be best to keep the clothes that your wear in your home, or often, separately in a drawer.
Those clothes get stains because of daily wear and they might attract fabric pests if you keep them in the closet.
Do not let stained clothes pile up in the laundry basket for days.
The smell from these clothes will surely attract the carpet beetles and invasive pests like roaches and ants.
Vacuum Clean Your Closet At Least Once In A Month To Remove Dirt And Bug Eggs
Not many of us clean our closets often.
The process of getting all the clothes out, cleaning the closet, and putting the clothes back inside intimidates many of us.
But vacuum cleaning closets, drawers, and wardrobe go a long way to keep bugs away from these places.
Vacuum cleaning removes the dirt and any pest eggs and larvae lying around in the corners.
After vacuuming, it’s always good to spray a disinfectant in the cloth storage place.
Let it dry for few hours before you re-stock the closet with clothes.
Keep Lavender Sachet Bags To Repel Bugs Away From Your Closet
Nothing works well in keeping fabric pests away than these lavender sachet bags.
The lavender smell is an excellent bug repellent, and it’s proven to work against many pests.
But keep in mind that these lavender sachet bags won’t kill the bugs.
Lavender sachet bags repel bugs. They don’t kill it.
So, the best time to keep the lavender sachet bags after vacuum cleaning your closet.
Keep Cedar Blocks And Moth Balls In The Closet Cabinets
Many tiny bugs in the closet, especially roaches and silverfish, will sneak inside the cabinets of the closet.
They’re also common intruders in the dresser drawers.
To keep them away keep cedar blocks in the cabinets. You can also use moth balls too.
Cedar blocks absorb the moisture in the cloth storage places making it dry which keeps the closet bugs away.
Also, bugs hate the strong smell from the cedar chips and naphthalene balls (moth balls).
That also plays a big role in keeping your closet and wardrobe free from bugs.
Keep Your Expensive Clothing Covered In A Moth Proof Garment Bags
Do you have an expensive leather jacket, a fur coat, or a silk shirt?
If yes, then keep them inside mothproof garment bags.
These bags are a minor investment in protecting your expensive clothing from the damage that fabric pests can cause.
Mothproof garment bags are transparent and breathable.
Carpet beetle larvae, clothes moths larvae, silverfish, psocids mites, cockroaches, termites, and crickets are the seven closet bugs that infiltrate your closets.
These fabric pests damage clothes by chewing on them and by leaving behind their excrement stains on the fabric which can be hard to remove.
The larvae of carpet beetles and clothes moths are also a threat to your expensive home decor like woolen carpets, silk curtains, rugs, taxidermies, and leather interiors.
This guide also reveals the five steps that you can use right away to get rid of these closet bugs from your closet.
However, keep in mind that presence some of these bugs in your closet or wardrobe, like termites and roaches, indicates that they’ve infested your home.
So, inspect your home for these invasive bugs or call a pest controller to get rid of these bugs in your home.