How to get rid of carpet moths: A step-by-step guide

Michael Mckenzie
January 26, 2024
5 mins read
Social Media
How to get rid of carpet moths: A step-by-step guide

What are carpet moth and how to get rid of them?

Realising you have carpet moth attacking your expensive wool carpet can be a daunting and frustrating experience. Here, we will look at what they are and what you can do about the problem and prevent it from happening again.

What is carpet moth?

Officially known as Trichophaga tapetzella, these small creatures can cause havoc in your home. They are more commonly called the tapestry moth or carpet moth, they can be found worldwide so there really is no hiding from them.

They have a small wingspan ranging from 14-18mm with small white heads, light brassy-grey hind wings and off white forewings.

The larvae love to feed on things that are full of protein to help them grow. Things like animal skin, birds nests, fur, clothing all contain the food they are looking for meaning your wool carpets look like one big delicious treat!

It is actually the larvae that cause the most damage as they feed on protein rich items giving them all the nutrients they need to grow.

Image source – Mississippi State University

Life Cycle

Carpet months go through four key stages - egg, larva, pupa, and adult, at each stage they interact differently with their environment.

The first stage, adult female moths seek out and lay hundreds of tiny eggs on suitable protein rich materials, including what we are looking at, wool carpets. The carpet acts as a protective environment and initial food source when they hatch. Eggs may look like tiny round balls.

Once they have hatched, the larvae start a period of intense feeding, this is where the most damage is done to your carpet as they devour all the protein rich fibres. This results in the typical 'moth-eaten' damage that is associated with moth infestations.

The pupal stage, also known as the cocoon stage, is the next stage in the process. Having consumed enough nutrients, the larvae weave protective cocoons around themselves, protecting themselves for the next significant transformation in their lives.

Safe in their cocoons, they undergo metamorphosis, a process through which they transform into adult moths. When they emerge from their cocoons, the adult moths seek out mates to reproduce, starting the whole process all over again.

How to get rid of carpet moth

If you have only a small infestation of carpet moth, you may be able to deal with the issue yourself without the need of a professional. If the problem is over a sizeable area or a number of rooms are affected, you may need to call a professional to deal with the problem. This may cost more than home treatments, but in the long run is much cheaper than replacing expensive wool carpets throughout your home.

The first step is to regularly vacuum wool carpets, as these are prone to moth attacks. A thorough vacuuming regime can drastically reduce the chance of moth getting to your carpet. Moth like dark secluded places as it provides them a measure of safety, so it is important to pull out sofas, side boards, tables and anything else that can provide shelter to these hungry pests, and thoroughly vacuum, especially during mating season (May-October). The crevice around the edge of carpets often reveal signs of moth so pay close attention here.

You can buy moth traps online and place these in areas where you cant regularly vacuum such as under heavy sofas and sideboards. These attract the adult moth using pheromones as they search for places to lay their eggs, stopping the problem before it even has a chance to begin. These traps have no affect on the eggs or larvae.

Repellant sprays are available for these difficult to vacuum spots as a means to repel adult moth from the area. These do wear off after a time so will need to be reapplied as per the manufacturers instructions.

You can also purchase insecticides but it is very important to follow all health and safety precautions on the instructions as these can seriously harm your health if used incorrectly.

For larger infestations, you may need to call a professional pest control service. These services can offer a wider range of treatment options, that are unavailable to the general public including insecticide sprays and heat treatments. A professional can also offer advice on how to effectively manage and prevent any further infestations.

If you have any questions relating to moth infestations, feel free to contact us for advice.

Image source – Art of Clean

Michael Mckenzie
Owner, Paramount Cleaning Company
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