The group of insects known as fabric pests include silverfish, clothes moths and carpet beetles. Except for silverfish, the main food sought by fabric pests is a protein substance called Keratin present in fibres of animal origin such as wool, and even human hair.
Silverfish prefer substances of plant origin such as cotton cellulose and starch. They can move extremely quickly when disturbed and are usually found in dark, undisturbed areas. They often turn up in cupboards, stored paper, bookshelves and even behind wallpaper that has peeled away. They do not carry disease organisms harmful to humans or domestic animals.
Carpet beetles are found in carpets, but also in woollen good, fur, silk, upholstery and stuffed animals. They are often found in undisturbed areas, such as below items of heavy furniture or carpet perimeters. Many synthetic and woollen carpets are now treated when manufactured to resist these pests. Adult beetles are even able to survive outdoors feeding primarily on flower nectar.
Less common than carpet beetles are clothes moths, although these fabric pests are often found in similar environments. Signs of an infestation include damaged material, cast larval skins, sand like larval droppings and small cocoons similar in colour to the infested fabric.