Wool Moth Infestation
Wool moths seek out protein fibers such as Oriental carpets or other protein fibers such as feathers, Alpaca, and animal skins. These moths lay eggs, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae have a voracious appetite for protein fibers such as wool, and moth infestations can be devastating to the look and value of Oriental rugs.
What Are Wool Moths?
There are two types of wool or clothes moths in North America — the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella).
-Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) Adult webbing clothes moths are a uniform, buff color, with a small tuft of reddish hairs on the top of the head. They make a webbing, seen in the photo to the left, similar to spider webs but thicker.
Case-making moths (Tinea pellionella) are similar but have dark specks on the wings. They make a casing similar to a rice hull in size.
Adult moths of both species lay about 40-50 pinhead-sized eggs on protein fibers; when the eggs hatch, they feed on protein fibers.
The larval stage of clothes moths is tiny white caterpillars a quarter to half-inch long. Development time from an egg into a moth varies significantly from one month to a year, depending on temperature, food availability, and other factors.
The larvae favor concealment from light, and direct sunlight can kill the larvae, so moths lay their eggs in areas with little light exposure under sofas, beds, and end tables.
As larvae eat, they destroy fibers and leave threadbare areas and sand-like gritty fecal pellets.
Signs of Wool Moths
Wool webbing and casing moths are small, about the size of common pantry moths.
Since they seek out dark, undisturbed areas, infestation and damage can go undetected.
Fresh moth damage (above) shows signs of damage, debris from the moth's eating wool, and a loss of wool pile as shown.
Signs are loss of pile webbing and small casing the size of rice but Flat. Vacuuming monthly and visual inspection in dark areas is the best preventative step
Getting Rid Of Moths
The infested textile should be removed from the home or confined (wrapped in plastic) to stop the spread of infestation to other textiles and treated as soon as possible.
Closing doors to a room with an infested rug or moving to your garage is inadequate for confining the infestation.
Treatment of the infested rug killing and removal of moth larvae and their eggs by washing is a straightforward process we perform all the time. We cannot do this in your home it takes days to get rid of moth in Carpet.
However, removal and treatment of the infested rug/ textiles are often not enough. Typically at the point infestation is detected moths have had access to your home and often laid eggs elsewhere on other protein fibers such as other rugs, wool sweaters, socks, or protein-based fibers. it's a good idea to wash cloths made from wool and other protein fibers to kill any possible eggs
We strongly recommend contacting a professional pest control company to perform on-location pest control/ mitigation in addition to treating and cleaning viably moth-infested rugs. It's an involved process to get rid of moths in your home.
Failure to treat the issue as a whole house infestation often results in reinfestation and additional damage.
Getting Rid of Carpet Moths Naturally
Do natural remedies for wool moths work?
In short, most don't work or are inconsistently effective cedar, lavender, and tobacco; Vinegar is not effective; we have had all manors of textiles treated with natural remedies that are infested with moths
Natural Remedies that do work
- Keeping rug clean and vacuuming regularly
- If storing a rug wrapped in paper or another breathable wrapping (not plastic) and taping the seams to keep insects out. Tossing a rug in the garage for a 6-month remodel is a recipe for moth and rodent infesation and damage
- Buy a (new to you) vintage rug or used rug; inspect carefully for moth activity or signs of moth damage; consider cleaning if you see any. This is a rug version of the trojan horse; moth eggs are impossible to see and can hitch a ride into your home on a vintage area rug.
- Steam smaller textiles with the steam iron setting front and back is effective at killing eggs. Home steaming is hard to do with large thick rugs but it's effective
Call a professional pest control company
By the time most peopel discover a moth infestation eggs have been laid in other areas in upholstery, clothing other rugs. It's gone far beyond just the rug with the moth infestation and damage and reoccurring infestations happen as the eggs hatch in new rugs.
A professional pest controller understands how to apply a combination of confining, treatment and monitoring for an extended period of time to remove wool moth pests from your home.