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Carpet Pests

Carpet Beetle & Carpet Moth

Carpet Moths
Carpet Moths or Case Bearing Moths are the creatures most commonly associated with damage to carpets & rugs
 
Holes in carpets, or threadbare patches where flooring has been eaten away is usually a sign of a carpet moth infestation.
 
Known as textile pests, like the clothes moth this species feeds predominantly on 'keratin', a substance found in natural fibres, which often results in damage to carpets or rugs containing wool or silk. Other materials carpet moths will feed on include cashmere, viscose, feathers and hides.

Establishing exactly which type of carpet moth infestation you have, whether it be Carpet Moths / Case Bearing Moths or Carpet Beetles is not particularly important, as the treatment process is very much the same, regardless of species.

Carpet Moths favour dark areas, with damage often being more evident underneath or behind heavy furniture. Having passed through the lifecycle stages of egg, pupa and larva and finally reaching adulthood, the fully developed carpet moth rarely flies, but instead runs quite rapidly across floors, tending to avoid direct light.

Carpet Moths or Case Bearing Clothes Moths are usually dark buff in colour. The cases they shed during their life cycle can sometimes be found and are described as looking like grains of rice.
 

What is involved in dealing with the pests

Carpet Moths

We need to identify where these pests are and then treat the areas.

Carpets
Where possible carpets are vacuumed thoughoughly or cleaned before the treatment is sprayed.
Carpets are treated along the skirtings and about 50cm in. Where possible the edge of the carpet is lifted and sprayed under the carpet. This is left to dry for several hours and repeated in around 30 days time.
Cupboards
Where moths are present in cupboards or wardrobes the cupboards are treated not the clothing as the treatment could cause irritation to skin.
Clothing
Clothes etc should be cleaned either by Dry Cleaning or washing or a hot wash. If the items can't be cleaned this way then they can be put into sealed plastic bags and placed in a freezer for 72 hours to kill the pests. 

Carpet Beetles

These are treated in the same way as the moths, however old clothing, bedding,birds nest etc in loft spaces that can house the beetles need to be removed.

Carpet Beetles

The beetles are fairly small, measuring 1.5 to 4mm in length. The body is strongly convex, rather like the ladybird beetle and is characterised by the pattern of yellow, black and whitish scales on the body.
Between 20 and 100 eggs are laid by the female during spring and early summer on furs, woollens and any dried materials of animal origin.

When the larvae hatch out, they are hairy and brown with three bunches of golden hairs on the abdomen. They normally reach a length of 4-5mm. They tend to avoid the light and, when disturbed, curl up into a ball.

Lifecycle
The eggs hatch between 10 to 35 days depending on the temperature. The larvae can last at least a year depending on the quality of the food supply. The adult beetle lives from 7-41 days.

The adults appear in April, May and June and their resulting larvae hibernate during the following winter pupating during the latter part of February and March.

On emergence the adult beetles seek the light so they usually fly to the windows. They fly to light coloured flowers where they feed on nectar and pollen. After mating, the females enter houses during late summer and autumn and lay their eggs in birds' nests in roof voids and other suitable places. The larvae feed on feathers and wool soiled with excrement, dead fledglings, etc.

Control
Infestations of these insects mostly originate in birds' nests such as those of house-sparrow, house-martin, swift and starling. The carpet beetle larvae subsist on the soiled wool and feathers in the nest-lining and then manage to get under the eaves in the roof space. From here they crawl into the upper rooms of the house, usually following the hot water pipe system. They appear to be attracted to warmer situations. Airing cupboards often harbour substantial infestations. Carpet beetles do, however, sometimes fly through open windows and presumably initiate infestations directly, but infestations arising from birds' nest cause continual invasions. The first rule of control therefore is to remove birds' nests from eaves and all similar situations. If dead birds or rodents are found in chimneys or under floors they should be removed. Any pieces of old carpet or similar material in lofts or roof voids must be destroyed otherwise they will act as reservoirs of infestation.


The fully grown larvae of carpet beetles are able to crawl about long after they have come into contact with a lethal dose of insecticide and so several applications of the treatment may be needed in dealing with this pest.

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