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Holes in my clothes!

Holes in my clothes

I need your help, I don't know what to do anymore. About three years ago we moved to a brand new house in central Florida frp, Miami and about a year and a half ago I started finding little holes in the bottom portion of my shirts, mostly t-shirts of either 100% cotton or some type of cotton blend. The damage is contained to my bedroom walking closet, but it is only my shirts being affected, not my husbands. I have tried to resolve the problem myself by washing the clothes, vacuuming all the area and finally since the problem persisted, I used a bomb type pesticide inside the closet last month. I had thrown away all the affected clothing before I fumigated. Last week I started finding the holes again in a couple of shirts that I had just bought! Also, I have not found any dead or alive bugs of any kind or any casings, droppings or anything like that. I don't understand why it is only my clothes and why it the holes appear on the same spot (the bottom half of the shirts). Can you please help me figure out what bug is causing this and how do I get rid of it? I would really appreciate it. Thank you.


You may be getting visits from crickets or silverfish. Both of these insects will be attracted to plant-based fabrics. Carpet beetles would leave molting as they develop through different larval stages. These castings would be detected by you eventually. Also the adult beetles will fly to windows where you would notice them.

I may be unaware of certain cotton feeding pests that occur in your Miami, Florida environment. Your State Entomology Department may be more helpful. The fact that your cottons, and not your husband's are damaged, appears as a mystery. This may be specifically the location, and not preference for your cottons. Why don't you switch locations for a time? Obviously, if his clothing becomes damaged, that portion of the mystery will be answered.

You also refer to the cottons as being damaged only on the bottom portion of the items. I can only suggest that the way the items are folded, and the portion of the fold that is resting on a surface of the shelving, may provide the pest with a liking for that portion of the item. Thigmotropism, the love of touching, making contact, could be a factor in location of damage.

You can use glue boards on which you place a slice of potato; removing the cottons for a while, until you capture several of these cotton(plant source fabric loving pests). In addition, you could place your targeted fabrics upon a fine dusting of diatomaceous earth. The microscopic diatom content's serrated edges will cut the exoskeleton of the pests that attack the fabrics; if they, indeed, are insects, causing their dehydration. The "d-earth" is non-toxic to you and will not damage clothing.

Best wishes,

George Manning
Consulting Entomologist


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