Despite their small size, moths can cause lasting damage around your home. Think you’ve noticed signs of carpet moths? Then it’s time to act quickly…
We’ve put together a complete guide for carpet moths, including the telltale signs to look out for, what carpet moths look like, and most importantly, how to get rid of a moth infestation.
What are Carpet Moths?
Carpet moths are a common household pest in the UK. Their scientific name is Trichophaga tapetzella; however, they are commonly known as carpet moths as this is what they eat.
Their larvae survive by consuming Keratin, a protein found in animal fibres. Most carpets have a high wool content, meaning they are ideal targets for moth larvae.
They are often confused with clothes moths, which are actually a different moth species – Tineola bisselliella. As their name suggests, these moths eat through clothes instead of carpets, but both species eat these natural fibres for the Keratin.
Where do Carpet Moths come from?
Their natural habitat is outside, where they feed off of whatever natural fibres they can find, usually a bird’s nest full of feathers for example.
They will typically enter a home unknowingly; their eggs are small enough to go unseen by the naked eye and could be brought into the house via the bottom of your shoe. Second-hand furniture is also an easy route into your home if the piece is already contaminated.
What do Carpet Moths look like?
The common house moth that you’ve almost definitely seen around your home at some point is much larger than a carpet moth. The carpet moth’s body typically comes in around 5mm long, with a wingspan of roughly 16mm.
Unlike the common house moth, the carpet moth rarely flies. Instead, adult carpet moths will crawl and hop around at floor level.
Carpet moths are light-brown in colour, often mottled on their wings, with three distinct dots on the forewings and smaller, lighter hindwings.
How long do Carpet Moths live?
Adult female carpet moths can lay up to 100 eggs at a time but usually lay between 40 and 50 eggs at once. Now you see how just one carpet moth can easily turn into a big problem, and quickly!
Once laid, the eggs take between 5 and 10 days to hatch – depending on the conditions of their environment. If your home is warm and humid, the hatching time will decrease.
The larvae phase is where the most damage occurs. This is where the moth larvae eat as much protein-rich Keratin as possible to grow before they become a cocoon. This stage of life doesn’t have a set time. It could take two months or two and a half years! Just imagine the damage these moths could do to your soft furnishings and furs during that time…
During the pupal stage, the carpet moths turn into adults. This process varies in length depending on the conditions but takes around 30 days on average.
Once the carpet moths emerge from their cocoons as adult moths, they don’t have long left; some adult moths only live a week! On average, adult moths live around six months and can live up to a year if they’re lucky. During this stage of life, the moths don’t actually cause any damage.
Adult moths, unlike their younger variations, don’t eat or drink. This means that they don’t cause the same damage that their larvae form does. As adults, the moths’ only priority is finding a mate and laying eggs. Once this task is complete, the carpet moths will perish.
Signs of a Carpet Moth Infestation
How can you tell if it’s moths eating your soft furnishings?
Now you know more about the pests, let’s take a look at identifying their presence within your household. Here are the top signs of a moth infestation:
While this is an obvious one, it’s the most prevalent sign of carpet moths! Check carpets all around your home, particularly in the more unused areas. Also, pay close attention to darker, humid areas, including behind furniture and along your skirting boards, as these tend to get ignored when hoovering.
You’re looking for threadbare patches across your carpets or rugs when checking these areas. It’s important to remember that carpet moths are only small creatures; they won’t eat an entire carpet! Instead, you should be looking for patches no larger than the palm of your hand.
Despite their name, carpet moths are not just after carpets! Also, look out for signs of damage on any natural material around the house. They could easily transfer from the carpet onto other items and even make their way into your wardrobe. It’s unlikely that they will damage wooden objects, so if you’ve noticed holes or damage to such items then you could have a woodworm infestation on your hands instead.
Carpet moth larvae are a telltale signifier of their presence within your property. As previously mentioned, adult female moths can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, so despite their miniature size, you can definitely spot them.
The larvae of carpet moths look somewhat like maggots. Females will deposit their eggs in quiet, dark and warm spaces. So look for these small white cases, like grains of rice, in such areas of your home.
When the eggs hatch, these cases are left behind. This means they will begin to dry and harden as they are just empty shells. Check for these around your skirting boards and corners of rooms.
Did You Know: Carpet moths are naturally good at blending into their surroundings. So as they eat their way through your carpets, the carpet dye shows through their slightly translucent skin – meaning they camouflage themselves into your rugs!
How to Get Rid of Carpet Moths
There are some DIY methods you can try in order to rid your home of carpet moths. These include hoovering your home from top to bottom, cleaning your floors, and using insecticides. We’ve created a ‘How to Get Rid of Moths‘ article, which outlines these methods in much more detail.
While you (and your carpets) may find some relief from such methods, they won’t kill off all carpet moths in all stages of life, which is what you need to do to remove a moth infestation properly.
In order to get the job done correctly and remove carpet moths from your home for good, you will need to use the pest control services of a professional offering moth control treatments.
Be sure to find a company with experience, good reviews and fully licensed pest controllers – like Integrum.
We offer expert moth control services across the South East of England and London. Contact us today for a free quote with no obligation!