By Ken Strid, Owner of Cleancare of Boulder.
Has part of your wool rug disappeared in front of your eyes? Have you ever thought about how good a slice of wool rug would taste? New York or Chicago style, which do your prefer?
Okay, so wool doesn’t sound appetizing to you. But your neighbor, Mr. Clothes Moth, will gladly accept your invitation for a nice wool dinner. To him, your Oriental is a delectable treat! Not to be left out at this dinner party, the Carpet Beetles will be the performing entertainment and will enjoy a hard day’s night dining on your rug with a little Sgt Pepper seasoning. In fact, almost all of the damage that is seen on your wool rug, besides that which you might have done yourself, is the result of carpet beetles and clothes moths.
About the only beetle I have ever liked in the insect kingdom is the ladybug. But for comparison purposes, a carpet beetle has a similar size and shaped body as a ladybug. Depending on the species, they range in size from 1/10” to 3/16”. Adult beetles are not interested in your rug, really, at all. They enjoy pollen and nectar and they often fly into homes from nearby flowers or climb onto your fresh cut flowers. See, normally babies are soft or at least they are cute. But, not in the case of carpet beetles. For the enemy to your wool rugs is not the beetle, but the carpet beetle LARVAE! It’s the dreadful larvae that feed on wool rugs and the larval stage may last up to 21 months. My gosh, they can be eating your fine rug for almost 2 years!
Now with clothes moths, we aren’t talking about the common moth that you may see flying around, stupidly attracted to your porch light and getting scorched on the bulb. Clothes moths are half their size, about ¼” in length. They have a very distinctive way of flying around, fluttering usually only near the infested area. They are also not attracted to lights. But clothes moths do not even have a mouth. They don't waste time eating, they just get right to it and mate, females lay eggs and then they die. The females lay an average of 40-50 eggs in darker, undisturbed areas and the eggs typically hatch in 1-2 weeks. When the larvae emerge from those eggs, guess what they feed on? Uh huh, you got it… that expensive prized heirloom of yours, just like the carpet beetle larvae. The larval stage may last from one month to up to… get this… 2 ½ years. Talk about not knowing when they’ve outstayed their welcome. Which is NEVER!
How to Stop Moth Damage on Rugs:
-Periodic vacuuming. With a non beater attachment (no rotating brush), vacuum the back of your rug, especially areas under heavy furniture.
-Rotate larger rugs. This will disturb the insects and possibly get them in a less inconspicuous place.
-Keep areas along baseboards clean as well as anywhere else hair and debris may accumulate. larvae has been known to eat wool, cashmere, silk, cotton, linen, fur, feathers, hair, lint, carpets, the bristles of brushes, pet fur and even dust.
-Have rugs professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Rugs with food and urine stains are more subject to insect damage.
-Regularly check your rugs for any signs of damage. Pay particular attention to the underside edges as well as both back and front areas that are under heavy furniture (both the carpet beetle and clothes moth prefer dark undisturbed areas ). Look for any areas of missing wool. Moth larvae will leave behind silken tubes or mats often the color of the wool and beetles leave behind shed skins and fecal pellets the size of a grain of salt which should aid in identification.
If you think you have damage contact Cleancare of Boulder, your professional rug washer. They have the necessary training and experience to safely and effectively treat your rugs and they'll even apply moth protection. You also may need to call a licensed pest control provider.
For more information on how to stop moth damage on rugs in Boulder, CO, call 303-530-0646.