mid-Missouri Pest Identificaiton: Paper/Fabric Pests

Pest Identification: Paper & Fabric Eating Bugs

Paper/Fabric Pests can be very destructive to paper products, clothing and sometimes even stored goods and other household items. Without extermination, these pests can feed on carpet, furniture, clothing fibers such as wool, or even animal hair.

Black Carpet Beetle

Photo of a Black Carpet Beetle

The carpet beetle has an oval shaped body that is black with a pattern of white and orange/red scales. The carpet beetle will feed on a wide variety of plant and animal products such as hair, horns, feathers, silk, fur, rye flour, and wheat. Like their name suggests, the carpet beetle prefers feeding on carpets, clothing, and other textiles. During the summer, adults are typically found outdoors on flowers feeding on pollen and nectar. These paper/fabric pests are commonly brought indoors on cut flowers.

Casemaking Cloth Moth

Photo of a Case Making Cloth Moth

Adult moths are about 6mm in length when their wings are folded and have a brownish color. There are 3 dark spots on their wings that often become faded as the moth ages. Larvae feed on wool clothing, carpets, rugs, felt, taxidermy mounts, fur, hair, feathers and lint. The larvae construct a silk-like case which they will occupy and carry with them. This case is open at both ends and the larvae can feed out of either end.

Furniture Carpet Beetle

Photo of a Carpet Beetle

Oval in shape, the furniture carpet beetle has a black body with a spotted pattern of yellow, white, and black scales. The furniture carpet beetle will feed on the same materials as the common carpet beetle in addition to skins, leather, dead insects, dried blood, dead mice, etc. These paper/fabric pests often breed in abandoned wasp nests, behind baseboards, in animal trophies or rugs, and in dead animals in chimney flues.

Foreign Grain Beetle

Photo of a Grain Beetle

The foreign grain beetle has a reddish-brown, flattened body. They feed on plant and animal debris and are attracted to damp and moldy grains. They can also be associated with mold found in bathrooms. Adults are very strong fliers and are attracted to lights at night, entering homes through screens. These beetles are often found in new construction and can remain present until the wood is completely dried out.

Indian Meal Moth

Photo of an India Moth

The adult Indian meal moth has pale gray wings with a reddish-brown outer half, and it does not cause any damage. Mature larvae are dirty white and wormlike. Larvae feed on grain, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, crackers, chocolate, candies, dog food, bird seed, etc.

Red Flour Beetle

Photo of a Red Flour Beetle

This beetle is reddish brown in color and is similar in appearance to the confused flour beetle. The red flour beetle has the ability to fly, but only short distances. Its feeding behavior is identical to that of the confused flour beetle.


Photo of a Silverfish

The silverfish has a teardrop-shaped, silvery body with three long bristle-like appendages on the tail end of their bodies. Silverfish tend to hide in cracks and crevices during the day and can be found in living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, attics, basements, and garages. They prefer moderate temperatures and high humidity. The silverfish feeds on paper products, wallpaper, wallpaper paste, tissue, and proteins like dried beef or other dead or injured silverfish. Silverfish are a common problem in homes with cedar-shake shingles.

Webbing Cloth Moth

Photo of a Cloth Moth

Webbing cloth moths are the most common clothing-hungry moths in the United States. Adults are 7-8mm in length with pale gold wings, no markings, and a copper-colored head with fluffy hairs. Larvae will feed on wool items, fur, hair, feathers and other similar products. The larvae of this paper/fabric pest spin a flat silk-like webbing and feed beneath it.

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