A carpet moth infestation can be very costly as it can result in serious damage to your carpets. I did some research to determine the most effective ways of getting rid of these pests and how best to prevent another infestation from happening. I found some beneficial information that I have listed below.
How do you get rid of carpet moths? If you suspect that you have a carpet moth infestation, you should treat the problem immediately to prevent them from spreading further. Use techniques that will get rid of moths in all of their developmental stages. Also, you should look for their potential entry points into the house and get rid of them.
Carpet moths usually live outdoors, mainly in animal and bird nests, but they find their way into homes. There are several ways of getting rid of carpet moth infestations. Below are some of the ways you can rid your home of a carpet moth infestation.
How to Get Rid of a Carpet Moth Infestation
To get rid of carpet moths, you first need to be able to identify them. Carpet moths or tapestry moths can be found worldwide. They have several characteristics that distinguish them from common house moths.
Carpet moths are characterized by patterned wings, presence of feathers on the underside of their bodies and the antennae on their heads. They are generally smaller in size compared to regular house moths. Their body measures approximately 5mm in length and have a wingspan of about 14-18mm. They have a light brownish yellow color with three distinct dots on their forewings. They have smaller hind wings that are lighter in color.
The larvae of carpet moths tend to have the same color as the carpet fiber they are feeding on because of the dyes present in the carpet fiber. Adult carpet moths rarely fly, preferring to hop on the floor instead. The life cycle of carpet moths is greatly influenced by the local temperature and humidity and the availability of food supplies. In a conducive environment, carpet moths can complete their life cycle to adulthood within eight weeks.
Carpet moths thrive in carpets because most carpets are dusty and are cleaned only occasionally. Since they are small in size, they can easily go unnoticed until the extent of their damage reaches considerable levels. If left unchecked, carpet moths have the capacity to devour your entire carpet.
The effect of carpet moths is most severe in the summer. This is because the conditions are ideal for them. The population of carpet moths increases with the rise in temperature and humidity levels. They are also more active during these days. They tend to be inactive during the day and come out to feed when there is no sunlight. Unlike the common house moths, carpet moths are not attracted to light and will tend to hop to dark places when disturbed.
Carpet moths prefer hidden dark corners as their homes, hence the need of hunting them down. You can do this by setting up traps around the house or by using insecticide sprays meant for skirting boards, loose rugs, and furniture cracks. It should, however, be noted that carpet moths are quite resilient creatures, meaning you will have to carry out the treatments repeatedly to completely get rid of them.
Like other moths, carpet moths invade your house through open doors, windows, cracks in the walls, and through openings created for utility lines. To prevent further entry, you should seal the cracks and other openings with silicone caulk. You could also pour boric acid into these openings to deter the pests.
The following items are essential when it comes to getting rid of a carpet moth infestation:
1. Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner is a carpet moth’s worst enemy. Vacuuming your carpets frequently has proven to be quite effective in getting rid of carpet moths. A powerful enough vacuum cleaner is capable of picking up carpet moth eggs and larvae and dust, making their living conditions unbearable.
Vacuum cleaners are essential in breaking the life cycle of the moths. However, vacuuming alone is not enough to completely get rid of carpet moths.
After vacuuming the carpet, scrub the carpet using a piece of cloth dipped in turpentine. Turpentine will remove the moths from your carpet, stopping the infestation.
You can also brush your carpet to get rid of a carpet moth infestation. You can use a strong and sturdy brush to get rid of the moth residue present on your carpet.
4. Fly Paper and Fish Oil
Fish oil is very effective in trapping moths. Most moths, including carpet moths, are attracted by fish oil. You can make a trap using fly paper by applying some fish oil on it and placing the trap close to your carpet. The carpet moths will then stick to the flypaper.
Moths hate the smell of soap. You can brush your mats with soap to get rid of any carpet moths.
The strong smell of lemon peels is a deterrent for most pests including carpet moths. You can blend lemon peels and spray the extract on the carpet to deter carpet moths.
The strong fragrance of lavender is powerful enough to deter carpet moths. Placing lavender pouches between your carpets will not only make your carpet smell nice but also discourage the moths.
The scent produced by cedar is unattractive to moths. You can buy wood shavings and place them on your carpets to deter moths.
Signs of Infestation
The main tell-tale sign that your house is infested by carpet moths is the presence of small balding patches at the corners and along the edges of your carpet. Most of the time, this will go unnoticed, making the situation go from bad to worse quite rapidly. This is because carpet moths reproduce at an alarming rate, with a single female moth being able to lay hundreds of eggs at once.
How to Control a Carpet Moth Infestation
1. Clean thoroughly
The most effective way of controlling a carpet moth infestation in your home is by always ensuring your house and clothing are kept clean and tidy. Apart from the natural fibers of your carpet and clothing, carpet moths also depend on traces of food and moisture on these surfaces.
They are attracted by spills, food stains and smells. It is, therefore, important to ensure that your carpet, upholstery, and all your textiles are clean and tidy. You should regularly vacuum your carpets to get rid of any possible infestations.
While vacuuming your carpets, you should not forget to also vacuum the edges under skirting boards and the spots under the sofas. This is because carpet moths prefer darker and sheltered areas for their habitats. You should also hang your mats regularly in the sun and check them for any presence of carpet moths.
2. Take preventive measures
The best way of controlling a carpet moth infestation is preventing one from happening in the first place. Taking preventive measures can go a long way in keeping your house moth-free. You can put scented products in various areas around the house to deter moths. The deterrents are available as sprays, hanging units, and scented sachets.
You could also install moth traps to protect the carpets in your living rooms and bedrooms. Installing moth traps can significantly reduce the extent of the infestation of carpet moths by interfering with their breeding cycle. Employing these preventive measures will keep the moths away from your home.
3. Conduct frequent inspections
For you to be able to manage a carpet moth infestation, you need to be extra vigilant. You need to keep a close eye on your curtain and upholstery for any signs of damage. Installing pheromone traps is really helpful in keeping track of moth activity in your house. These traps contain female pheromones which attract male moths and then trapping them on the sticky parts of the trap.
This will break the breeding cycle by preventing the moths from mating and laying eggs. You can then take measures to get rid of any larvae or eggs that may be present in your house.
4. Be quick to act
In case you notice any indications of a carpet moth infestation in your house, it is important to look for solutions to the problem as fast as possible. This is because carpet moths breed quite rapidly, with female carpet moths capable of laying 300 eggs at once. Taking care of the problem promptly will help you avoid significant damage to your carpet and any other fabric present in the house.
5. Be persistent
In case you have had a carpet moth infestation before, it is important to continue practicing preventive measures diligently to avoid the risk of another invasion. You should maintain all the deterrents in your house to protect your carpet and other pieces of fabric from the moths. You should remember that the carpets moths can still get into your house through openings such as windows. It is therefore important to keep using deterrents to prevent any other incident in the future.
6. Use natural remedies
It is possible to get rid of carpet moths using non-toxic natural methods. You can do this by making your own homemade natural moth repellant. Herbs may smell lovely to humans but the smell is repellent to moths.
You could prepare a small cloth bag of thyme, dried rosemary, bay leaves, lavender, or cloves and hang them in the potential hiding areas of moths. You could also use peppermint oil and mint leaves to deter carpet moths.
The herb bags lose their fragrance after being used for some time. You can buy more herbs from nearby grocery stores and natural food stores. You can then replace them with the herbs that have lost their fragrance.
Life Cycle of a Carpet Moth
Carpet moths undergo four distinct cycles in their growth to adulthood with distinct changes in appearance in every stage. Knowing the life cycle of carpet moths is important as it helps you know how best to deal with a carpet moth infestation in your home. The four stages of a carpet moth life cycle are:
This is the beginning of a carpet moth life cycle. An adult female carpet moth can lay 100-400 eggs at once. The eggs are tiny in size, measuring about 0.5mmm in length. The eggs take approximately 4 to 10 days to hatch, depending on the temperature and humidity of their surroundings.
When the eggs hatch, the carpet moth enters the larval stage. This is the longest stage in the life cycle of a carpet moth. It is at this stage that they are the most destructive. The larvae measure approximately 1-1.5cm in length upon hatching depending on the availability of food.
The larvae feed on a variety of material, including carpets, animal skin, fur, bird nests, and upholstery made of natural fibers. Carpet moth larvae can remain in the larval stage for a period of 30 months while waiting for the conditions to be conducive for them to turn into pupae.
The speed of their development on the temperature and humidity of their surroundings and the amount of food available. If the conditions are suitable, the larval stage can take less than six weeks.
Once the larvae have reached the right size and the environmental conditions are ideal, they enter the pupal stage. The pupa stage starts when the larvae spin a cocoon around themselves in which they will transform into adult moths. This stage takes approximately 8-10 days.
This is the final stage in the life cycle of a carpet moth. Adult carpet moths emerge from the cocoon measuring roughly 1-1.5cm. They have a wingspan of about 14-18mm. The only purpose of adult carpet moths is to mate and lay eggs.
Luckily, carpet moths are generally harmless to human beings. There are no identified pathogens that can be transmitted by carpet moths. The biggest threat they pose, however, is the fact that they can rapidly spread around the house, damaging most of the fabric in your household. They are capable of causing significant damage financially.
Even though carpet moths may not feed on synthetic carpets, the fibers still provide a conducive environment for the moths to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae may not feed on the synthetic fibers but they will feed on the household dirt present in the carpets. When the population of the moths increases, they will find other breeding grounds around the house, making the infestation even harder to control.