Of Moths and Myths
One of the regular carpet-related consumer problems we get asked to sort is moths. More often than not though, the owners of said carpets are completely unaware that they have a problem.
The tell-tale signs are not that easy to spot. But once you have seen carpet moth damage in a variety of different environments you can quickly tell if the damaged carpets you are looking at have ended up like that because of human (or family pet) action or because you have unwanted flying (and crawling) visitors!
It is also called the clothes moth but that is in fact another species - the webbing clothes moth or Tineola Bisselliella. Our prime suspect for carpet damage however is the case bearing or case making moth and to give it its latin name Tinea Pellionella.
One of the best and simplest ways of coping with carpet moths is to vacuum your wool carpets rigorously and often, especially around the edges and in dark corners and behind curtains.
If you do have a good vacuum regime (!) this actually makes our job a little more difficult because one of the telltale signs is lots of little ‘cases’ scattered around the skirting boards and attached to the inside of curtains and tangled up in cobwebs under furniture.
If you do find one and it looks something like the ones in the picture then you might try ‘popping’ it and hence killing the little bugger – just squeeze it and the mini-beast’s head will shoot out of one end of the ‘case’ as you cancel his future!
I have picked them up and put them to one side and then later when I came back to kill them in front of the customer the little buggers have crawled some distance away to make their escape.
The case it has made was spun by the worm-like larvae from fibres in your carpet and while it was eating your wool carpet the creature was planning to pupate inside the case and then hatch and start the life-cycle all over again.
We can spray for them but this is obviously a chargeable service and really needs to be repeated initially on a monthly basis and very few customers will bear the cost of that operation.
Often we will do the first spray very thoroughly and then brief the client what to do next if they want to control them. We will price into our service a later re-visit 6 moths later to tell them if the moths are still a problem.
Unless you take really drastic measures, control may be the only feasible level of treatment and is often all you can achieve because - it only takes a couple of missed adults to see the colonisation re-commence at a later stage.
The case moth can do considerable damage to a carpet and if left to their own devices they will go forth and multiply and absolutely destroy a carpets so as to make it a candidate for replacement.
I recommend that the self treatment begins a month after we have treated the carpets. Buy a good aerosol moth killer (Rentokil do one called Insectrol) and spray around all the skirting boards in your wool carpeted rooms and under furniture and in any dark and slightly forgotten corners like behind the television table where the moths can carry on their trade in relative peace and quiet.
Also make sure you knock down and kill any of the adult males that can be sometimes seen flying around at night – they are said not to like light but they will fly towards a flickering TV screen in an otherwise darkened room. The female adults crawl around but are similar in size and description to the males – both are small, brown and fairly feeble-looking things.
Often our clients are horrified when we tell them they have moths but there is nothing dirty about them – I can find them under furniture in most smart homes and it is a sign of the times that the undersides of old furniture inherited from parents will often be festooned with case moth larvae dead and alive.
So when you inherited your parents’ beautiful antique furniture you may also have inherited their moth problem which an antique dealer 'sold' them!
Any problems with moths? Let me know and I will see if I can help. Contact me through the ebay channel or via our codotuk website ant Steam Clean Carpet Service.