Pests in New Zealand homes – Beetles and moths

In New Zealand, a number of different types of carpet beetles have been introduced, all of which are capable of destroying the woollens and carpets of New Zealand homes. Inspection and knowledge of their habits can prevent costly destruction.

Damage from carpet beetle

The carpet beetle larva (grubs often called woolly bears) and several other insect larvae such as hide beetle, larder beetle, clothes moth and case moth, destroy carpet and other natural fibrous material. Carpet beetle larvae prefer to feed in dark, protected places, consuming and damaging wool, fur, silk, cashmere, feathers, bone, and synthetic and cellulose-based fibers that contain some amount of animal fibers.

carpet beetle and larve     Clothes moth

Carpet beetle, larder beetle and hide beetle are members of a group known as the dermestid beetles and are pests of considerable economic importance throughout the world by damaging a wide variety of stored products.

While the clothes moth, carpet beetle and hide beetle larvae eat natural fibres such as wool, the case moth larvae use the fibres of natural or synthetic material to encase themselves in a protective tube of fibres.

Case moth larvae are often not recognised as being alive. They look like small rolled pieces of carpet but you may be able to see the brown head of the larva sticking out one end. The adults are small brown moths that often congregate in the upper corners of rooms.


Signs to look out for:

  • Signs of carpet beetle include the edges of the carpet becoming threadbare, carpet fibres falling out; this may indicate that the larvae of carpet beetle, clothes moth or case moth larvae are under the carpet chewing through the fibres.
  • Little cylinders of fibres around the edge of the carpet, often with a dark brown tip at one end; this may indicate case moth larvae chewing your carpet. These cylinders are the larvae themselves wrapped in carpet fibre, the brown tip is the head of the larva.
  • Unexplained holes in your woollen sweaters may indicate an infestation of clothes moth or one of its relatives.

carpet beetle


If you see evidence of these pests in your home you can choose to have it professionally treated by contacting a pest control expert to fumigate, or carry out a DIY treatment using a suitable product from your local hardware store.

If you carry out treatment yourself, be sure to lift the carpet where possible to spray the back of the carpet, floors, and the top of the carpet. If your carpet is in bad condition and requires replacement then be sure to spray the floors and skirting before laying new carpet.



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