This article will discuss more about moths--textile-eating moths. If you are interested in learning even more about moths, a previous article, About Moths, offers more comprehensive information on these wool-eating insects, including the use of insecticides and information about moth balls and crystals.
There are 2 different types of these pests that we need to be concerned about. Both are types of clothes moths.
1. The Webbing Moth (Tineola bisselliella). The adult of this species is about a half inch long and yellowish beige in color.
2. The Casemaking Moth (Tinea pellionella). The casemaking moth is similar in size but is brownish and has three dark spots on its forward wings.
The adults themselves cause no damage. It is the larvae that actually feed on the wool fibers.
The webbing moth larvae attach their tubes to dark crevices or seams, rending themselves stationary to feed in one location.
The casemaking moth larvae do not attach their tubes or 'cases' which allows them to remain mobile and cause a wider spectrum of damage.
The life cycle of the moth can last from 2 months to 2 ½ years. The adults lay eggs on products that the larvae will consume.
Each female can lay from 100 to 150 eggs, which hatch in about 5 days. The small white caterpillars vary in size from 1/16" newly hatched to 1/3" fully grown.
The larval stage itself can last from 2 to 30 months. The reason for this great variance in the life cycle is because it is dependent on the availability of food (wool). Rugs provide a huge source of food. If gone unnoticed, the larvae can feed for almost 2 ½ years. An infestation of only several weeks can result in pile loss the size of a fist!
Moth larvae thrive in dark, undisturbed areas where a rug gets little traffic and is not often vacuumed. They are particularly attracted to the keratin in animal hair.
The wool alone in an oriental rug is susceptible, but just imagine a dirty rug covered in dog and cat hair. That would be like a smorgasbord to this creature!
The moth larvae can feed on a mixture of natural and synthetic fabrics. They cannot, however, feed on materials made entirely of synthetic fibers. But if the synthetic fibers have pollen, hair, dead insects or dried animal remains on them, they will be hide and feed on items with synthetic fibers as well.
Be on the lookout for the following:
1. Flying Adults Moths.
2. Loose carpet fibers resting on top of the pile. This means the larvae have actually eaten the knots off the foundation of the rug.
3. Cocoons, approximately 1/8 inch diameter x ½ inch long. They will be lightly fuzzy cylinders, usually the same color as the pile of the rug. Larvae camouflage their cocoons to blend in with the color of the wool that surrounds them.
4. The actual larvae squirming along the pile surface and underneath the rug..
If you have been searching for more about moths, you may have heard about many different ways of getting rid of these creatures but truthfully, a thorough decontamination and cleaning procedure such as the one we have at ABC is the best way to prevent further damage. Our experienced Rug Repair Technicians can patch or reweave the areas that have been damaged.
Unfortunately, this does not address the possibility that larvae may move from one rug to another. What this means is that it is necessary to find and kill not only the adults but their larvae and their eggs even before the infected rug is cleaned. It may be necessary to call in a licensed pest control operator if the infestation is severe.
If you believe you have a moth infestation or you have found evidence of damage, or if you would to speak to someone to learn more about moths, please call our office at 272-1566 so that we may discuss with you the various methods available to ameliorate your particular moth problem. If you would prefer, you may also contact use by clicking here.
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