What Is the Difference Between a Carpet Moth and a Clothes Moth?
We often get asked, are carpet moths the same as clothes moths? They are in fact the same insect, known as the common clothes moth. The reason the two get confused is that infestations can be found on clothes or in the carpet. It is a common pest that lives on natural fibres such as animal fabrics and furs such as wool. This blog explains the biology of the insect and the signs of activity. Once you have identified the problem we aim to give you some self-help methods to resolve the issue.
Life Cycle of the Common Clothes Moth
The four stages of the common clothes moth are egg, larvae, pupa and adult. The total life cycle ranges between three to ten months. A female mates and then lays her eggs on natural fabrics. This will act as a suitable food source for the larvae when the eggs hatch. It takes one to five weeks for eggs to hatch and is dependent on temperature. Once in the larval stage, they form a silk tunnel to live in. The larva is a small white caterpillar that develops in two to seven months. The larvae are rarely seen as they come out to feed at night. When developed they pupate whilst concealed in fabric which takes two weeks to two months.
The final stage is the adult moth which is what we often see. The female does not fly and is seen crawling on the carpet or garment if an infestation is present. The male can fly but more often crawls like the female. The adult does not feed and the life span is very short. Often it is not known that the larvae is the stage that does all the damage as they eat the natural fibres. Temperature plays a big part in the development speed of the moth life cycle. Also the quality of the food affects the size of the moth.
Signs of Moth Activity of Carpet Moths or Clothes Moths
There are three common signs of activity that may indicate an infestation is present. The most common is the sighting of fully grown adults. This may be adult males flying around the room or females crawling around the carpet or in amongst clothes. Another sign of moth activity is finding the white silk homes of the larvae. If they are feeding on natural wool carpets the silk homes may be found at the edge of the room. They are also found under furniture in the shadows such as a dresser or sofas. Skirting boards are a good place to check. They gather on curtains is another area that should be checked.
Damage caused by the larvae is the final way to detect activity. This may be as simple as putting on your favourite jumper and noticing holes in it. If this happens then it is recommended that you check for the other signs mentioned already. If the carpet has been eaten then often the silk houses will be found around the damaged area. You may find this when moving furniture during a spring clean. If any of the signs are found then you could consider carrying out some self-help to try to eradicate the issue.
Self Help for Common Clothes Moths (Carpet Moths)
So now you know you have a moth infestation, what can you do to deal with the problem? The first thing you must do is establish the extent of the problem. You do this by carrying out a thorough search of your rooms. Ask yourself are your carpets synthetic or natural wool, they could be a combination. Don’t rule out a room because it has a synthetic carpet. Carry out a check of the skirting board edges, under furniture on the curtains and any soft furnishings. You are looking for any signs of the moth life cycle. Check your wardrobes, draws and any other clothing storage.
Once you have done this and you know where the main problem area is you can set about clearing the outbreak. If it is a clothes issue and they are in your wardrobe then you need to remove all the clothes and wash them. If you have clothes that are too delicate to wash then you can put them in a bag and put them in the freezer. Using a hoover clean the wardrobe before putting your clothes back in. You can buy moth monitors to place in your wardrobe to see if there is any further activity. Ensure you empty the hoover in an outside bin as you don’t want to infest other areas of your house.
For carpets, you can hoover up but make sure you move all the furniture. Concentrate on the floor wall junctions at the skirting board. Make sure you empty the hoover in an outside bin again. Moth monitors can be placed again to monitor for any further activity. If these self-help methods don’t work then there may be a requirement for a moth treatment from a professional pest control company such as Pest-Tech.
Common Clothes Moth Treatment
So now we know carpet moths are the same as clothes moths. Hopefully, you will be confident enough to know how to identify a possible infestation and how to try to resolve it yourself. if not then you can always contact us to help you out. We carry out moth treatments using chemical intervention and are happy to discuss your problem.