Sometimes, it’s the most innocuous of critters that can cause the most damage. In this instance, we’re squaring up with carpet moths, also known as clothes moths. These small and shy creatures are easy to dismiss as harmless, but are they really?
What Exactly Are Carpet Moths?
The most common clothes moths are the Webbing Moth and the Casemaking Moth which are pretty tricky to tell apart.
The adult moth is tan or mottled grey, with a mere ½ inch wingspan and a narrow little body. They are not great flyers and tend to lurch around rather aimlessly in the dark during their short lifespan.
These little moths have the startling ability to lay between 200 – 300 tiny eggs in their few adult days, and here is where the problem comes in.
Carpet moths will lay their eggs inside or close to a plentiful food source for their voracious larvae. In their case, their food of choice is a delicious mixture of keratin proteins which are found in human hair, skin and sweat, as well as on organic items such as woollen carpets and clothing, leather items or your favourite silk shirt.
Moths may also lay their eggs on wall hangings or on synthetic carpets as their offspring can still enjoy a meal of skin or hair debris that falls onto the floor or settles on the soft furnishings.
Are Carpet Moths Harmful to Humans?
In short, no. Carpet moths, like most moths, don’t even have mouthparts and the worst they can do is fly into your glass of wine.
However, carpet moths are harmful to your clothing, carpets, wall hangings and – well – most items made from organic materials.
Their eggs are hidden away in dark and undisturbed parts of your home, and when the hundreds of larvae hatch it turns into a huge, destructive eating competition. They will happily munch through any organic fibre in their search for keratin proteins and in a short time can do a surprising amount of damage.
While the usual lifecycle of the carpet moth hovers around 8 weeks from egg to adult, this isn’t always the case.
The hardy little blighters can survive quite happily in larvae form for up to 2 years in colder weather, biding their time until it warms up enough for them to hole up in their cocoon and grow some wings.
In the meantime, they will just keep on eating.
For 2 years.
Certainly, something to think about.
How To Get Rid of Carpet Moths
So, this logically brings us to the question of getting shod of these nuisance bugs.
As you can see, the larvae are small and timid and are content to snuggle up in dark places, under carpets, behind clothes, in cupboards, under beds… you get the picture.
Once you see evidence of their appetites in the form of patchy sections of carpet or small holes in clothing, then you really want to take action. It’s not going to get better.
As with most pest-related issues, prevention is better than cure.
In this instance, keeping a clean and well-aired home is the best way to prevent an infestation of carpet moths.
- Vacuum regularly and thoroughly.
Make sure to get right under beds, behind bookshelves, and into any dark space which remains undisturbed.
- Keep it tidy.
We know that carpet moths love clothing, but they are especially fond of dirty clothes; what with the delightfully tasty sweat and skin cells galore. Keep your laundry basket as clear as you can and avoid piles of clothing around the house.
- Treat affected areas.
There are several chemical treatments available which will eradicate the larvae and the adult moths. Be sure to read the label carefully and use according to direction.
If this is all just too much for you, or if you have tried and failed to rid your home of these pesky (and very stubborn) invaders, please feel free to give us a call.
Our competent team have decades of experience in dealing with carpet moths, roaches, rodents, ants, wasps – pretty much anything that falls under the umbrella of “pest.” We look forward to being of assistance.