Rug-munching moths, other insects get spring fever in Greater Victoria
by Daniel Palmer – Victoria News
posted May 27, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Stephen ‘Dusty’ Roberts of Luv-A-Rug looks through a hole caused by hungry moth larvae. Casings from the larvae can be seen sprinkled across the carpet surface. Roberts says the number of moth-damaged rugs has risen exponentially this year in Greater Victoria.— Image Credit: Don Denton/News Staff
Two non-native moth species are eating their way through natural fibre rugs in Greater Victoria at an alarming pace this spring, says one local business owner.
The tiny case-bearing clothes moth and webbing clothes moth like to lay their eggs in dirty fibre before offspring consume and make a nest out of the same spot. Often the damage goes unnoticed until the rugs are cleaned and loose fibres fall out.
“The moths have been getting worse for the last five years, but this year takes the cake,” said Stephen “Dusty” Roberts, owner-operator of Luv-A-Rug cleaning services. “We’re seeing one in every two or three rugs with moth damage. Ten years ago, I’d see maybe one in 100.”
Claudia Copley, entomology collection manager at the Royal B.C. Museum, said the two introduced moth species look for soiled natural fibre in dark places. In rugs, pet urine or excrement sediment is a perfect nesting place for the homebody creatures, which often nest on the underside of rugs to make detection more difficult.
“They just eat any sort of protein-rich material, even a well-worn pair of socks. They get a lot of protein off the oil,” Copley said. “I actually ended up with these particular moths in my home when I brought in an old bird’s nest but didn’t freeze it.”
Freezing is one of the most effective ways of killing unseen moth larvae, Copley said, although frequent inspection and proper storage of clothing and rugs makes a difference as well.
At the museum, staff completes a weekly inspection of window sills and floors to look for any destructive insects that can ruin priceless historical artifacts in a matter of days.
“We also look for hide beetles (or demisted beetles), which are the bigger problem,” Copley said.
“People will find those in their house too. The most common hide beetle looks like a black and white ladybug; you’ll find them near your windows. They can do significant damage to fabrics.”
Copley couldn’t explain the reported rise in moth infestation, but Roberts believes a decrease in widespread pesticide use may be one factor.
“The other reason is there’s been a lot of travelling rug auctions coming through Victoria in the past few years,” he said. “I’m horrified to see how moth-infested some of those rugs are.
“If you bring one home, your entire house is infested and then you’ve got a much bigger headache.”
Kurtis Brown, technical supervisor at Victoria Pest Control, said he rarely takes calls about moth infestation but he agreed the targeted use of pesticides could potentially help certain insects thrive in homes.
“About 15 year ago, fleas were a huge issue. Flea treatments would consist of broadcast applications across carpets and rugs. Since the invention of systemic pesticide treatments for pets, flea treatments have gone down exponentially,” he said.
Brown said 35 per cent of his business comes from bedbugs, while odorous house ants are a rising concern in Greater Victoria.
“Most people refer to them as sugar ants, and they’re very difficult to control in a large-level urban population,” he said.
In the wild, odorous house ants keep to one queen and a colony of about 100 workers.
But in urban settings, the ants can grow to super colonies several hectares in size.
“And the ants are co-operating; they’re not fighting one another. It’s a huge co-operative colony,” he said.
Brown said areas of Cook Street Village, Blenkinsop Road and Gordon Head in Saanich all house sprawling odorous house ant colonies.
“The homeowners in that area can attest to these insects being the true essence of the word pest,” he said.
While insects can often be seen as the enemy during the late spring and summer months, Copley cautioned against killing every living insect in a home.
“There are almost 3,000 species of moths and butterflies in B.C., and only a couple of introduced species that eat fibres in your home,” she said. “Not all moths are pests. And when the caterpillars start arriving, leave them alone, too.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Cold Snaps, Bursting Pipes & How to Save Your Precious Area Rugs
It happens every time the weather outside plunges below zero; Poorly insulated water pipes in attics, crawl spaces and basements freeze up, thaw and then burst causing water to pour out all over a homeowner’s precious area rugs.
“The first thing you need to do”, says Stephen Dusty Roberts of Luv-A-Rug Services, Victoria’s Premier area rug cleaning company, “is shut off the main water valve in your house. That single step alone will do more to save your home than anything else.”
The second thing to do is wait until the pipes have thawed out then CAREFULLY and slowly turn the water back on and watch for leaks. If any leaks are observed, quickly turn the water off and call your plumber and a 24 hour restoration company like SaniTECH Services right away. Companies like SaniTECH specialize in water damage recovery and restoration. The sooner you call them the fewer problems you are going to have such as toxic mold.
When it comes to your area rugs, the best thing to do, if they get soaked from a burst pipe, is to roll them up and put them out in the freezing cold.
“The worst thing a rug owner can do”, says Roberts, ” is to try to dry the rug out themselves. If it isn’t decontaminated and dried very quickly an area rug will become a health hazard and be ruined.”
“By rolling up the rug and putting it outside in the cold, the freezing temperatures will actually preserve your rug and keep it from getting more damaged. Then give us a call here at Luv-A-Rug and we will pick it up and restore it to a like new condition for you.”
If your area rugs have experienced any kind of flooding, contamination or just needs to be cleaned, Luv-A-Rug’s professional in-plant area rug cleaning facility can save your rugs. Call 250-590-6210/ 800-886-2802 or visit them at their new location: 445 Beta St (off Alpha St) Victoria BC
Every year the combination of winter storms and frozen pipes causes millions of dollars in water damage to homes and buildings.
Sep 10, 2008 — /prbuzz/ — “Any time the temperature drops below 32 degrees, there is the potential risk of frozen pipes, particularly indoor pipes located in poorly insulated areas such as the attics, crawl spaces and basements,” said Jeff Bishop, Technical Adviser for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. “Water damage can occur if cracked pipes are not caught quickly. This is a potential nightmare, particularly as people travel for holiday vacations.”
When water damage results from cracked pipes, the IICRC offers these tips for clean-up:
- Shut off the main water valve, if practical, and call a plumber to fix the leak.
- Call an IICRC-certified professional water restoration firm immediately for mitigation services, as required by your insurance policy. Certified Firms have the knowledge, experience and equipment to locate water wherever it goes, remove the excess, and dry your structure to industry standards. Call the IICRC hotline at (800) 835-4624, or go to www.CertifiedCleaners.org for a list of certified restorers in your area.
- Mop up standing water on flooring surfaces to prevent slip/fall hazards. If the burst pipe is overhead, drain ceiling cavities by punching “weep” holes.
- Prevent mold growth. Although it takes a few days to appear, mold thrives on wood, paper, particle board or even household soil, when stagnant air, moisture, and temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees are present.
- Wet clothing usually is salvageable. A 10-minute wash cycle in detergent and hot water should sanitize washable clothing and many household fabrics.
- Dry out before you rebuild. Professional water restorers have a variety of instruments to determine when a building is dry, to prevent on-going microbial growth. Drying should not stop until wood or drywall moisture content (MC) falls below 16 percent MC. Normal MC is around 10 percent in most areas of the country.
- Beware of scam artists targeting storm victims. The IICRC requires its registrants to have liability insurance and business licenses, and to adhere to a code of ethics. When approached by any company for water restoration services, ask to see the technician’s official IICRC wallet card that confirms his or her training and certification. You may also call the IICRC hotline (800.8335.4624) to confirm the certification of a company that has contacted you.
To Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Wrap electrical heating tape on exterior pipes. Remove garden hoses from faucets.
- Cover pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass insulation and secure it with tape.
- Let cold and hot water faucets drip. Running water helps prevent freezing pipes and reduces pressure build up in them.
- Inside the home, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to promote warm air circulation around plumbing.
- Leave the thermostat at the same temperature both day and night, at least 55°F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- Locate the problem pipe, if possible, and open a faucet. As the pipe thaws, running water aids the melting process.
- Apply heat to the frozen section using a hand-held hair dryer or portable electric space heater. Do not use a blow torch as it could cause the pipe to explode. Do not use a propane or kerosene heater as these are hazardous for indoor use.
- If you are unable to locate or access the frozen pipe area, call a licensed plumber.
- If all else fails and you experience a burst pipe and resulting in water damage, shut off the main water valve and contact a professional water damage restoration company with trained technicians and extraction, drying and dehumidifying equipment. Call the IICRC hotline at (800) 835-4624, or go to www.CertifiedCleaners.org for a list of certified restorers in your area.
About the IICRC:
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the foremost authority in certification and standard setting for the inspection, cleaning and restoration service industries since 1972. With more than 46,000 certified technicians and more than 5,500 certified firms representing over thirty countries, the IICRC is the leading resource for trained floor covering inspectors, interior textile cleaners and disaster restoration professionals. For more information, visit www.CertifiedCleaners.org
How Freezing Temperatures Saved Hundreds of Valuable Flooded Rugs
Victoria, Canada, January 19, 2007 –(PR.com)– Stephen “Dusty” Roberts, owner of Luv-A-Rug Services in Victoria, BC, Canada, never saw it coming. The record rainfalls recently experienced in Victoria created more than wide spread flooding. It’s caused intense heartache for homeowners whose floors and priceless heirloom rugs were consumed by filthy storm waters
According to Roberts, if your oriental rug ever gets flooded, there are four things you can do to help save it:
- Call a restoration company immediately. They have the equipment to extract the water quickly & dry it properly.
- Use a wet vac to extract as much water as possible. This makes the rug easier to move so you can bring to a reputable area rug cleaner right away.
- Keep the temperature of the room where your flooded rug is located as cool as possible. This helps to prevent mold and mildew from developing and turning your rug into a stinking ruined mess before you can take it to be restored.
- Take your rugs outside. Even if it continues to rain, your rug will be better off than sitting in flood water. Rain water, which is low in Ph, is actually good for older rugs. Dirty flood waters, filled with mud and sewage, has a higher Ph which can ruin the colors in your rug.
If the temperature outside is near freezing – that’s the most ideal condition you could hope for.
“The freezing weather Victoria experienced after all that rain,” explains Roberts, “was the best thing for any flooded rug thrown out in the yard. The cold temperatures actually helped preserve the rugs and kept any damage from happening.
“Now,” says Roberts, “clients are coming into Luv-A-Rug everyday, not only with their icy-cold flooded rugs, but also with stories about what happened to them. It’s really amazing to discover how similar people of Victoria are to those of New Orleans. Especially the smiles and relief on their faces when we get to tell them their rug can be saved.”
If you have a precious rug that experienced a flooding or other type of disaster, bring it right away to Luv-A-Rug and they can restore it for you. Luv-A-Rug is located at 445 Beta Street, Victoria BC. Phone Number: (250) 590-6210
Hundreds of Priceless Oriental Rugs Rescued From Hurricane Flood Damage by Canadian Business Owner
i-Newswire.com – Press Release And News Distribution – Hundreds of Priceless Oriental Rugs Rescued From Hurricane Flood Damage by Canadian Business Owner: “Steve Roberts, owner of Luv-A-Rug, a Victoria, B.C., based area rug cleaning company, never imagined being directly involved with any rescue efforts in New Orleans. But a telephone call from Jackson, Mississippi, changed all that.
(I-Newswire) – “I was an exhibitor at a Carpet Cleaning Trade Show in Las Vegas when I got a frantic call from George Bell, who owns a rug cleaning company in Mississippi,” remembers Roberts. “He desperately needed one of my new rug cleaning machines that I recently unveiled to the industry, so after the show, I flew down and personally delivered one to him.”
When Roberts arrived in Jackson, George Bell lamented to him how he and all his best people were so busy restoring flood damaged rugs from New Orleans that he didn’t have anyone else that could go back down and pick up other rugs that needed to be saved. “There are thousands of rugs rotting away down there that still can be saved,” explained Bell.
Roberts immediately volunteered to go and help rescue these rugs. Even with all the TV coverage, Roberts was not prepared for the devastation he witnessed. “Trees, roofs and even buildings were all blown down. I needed to use a GPS to figure out where I was because there weren’t any street signs left standing,” Roberts remarked.
It was while driving through the older upscale district of Metairie that Steve Roberts saw all the front yards piled high with the damaged contents of the houses. “Anything left in the homes during the flood was ruined,” Roberts said. “People were dragging out furniture, TV’s, kitchen cabinets, washers, dryers, electronics, you name it, it was out there.”
Even with all this clean-up going on, people would notice the area rug cleaning van that Roberts was driving and they would chase him down to get him to look at their rugs. “People were so happy to hear their rugs could be saved,” recalls Roberts.
Whenever Roberts drove by a house with a rug on a garbage pile, he would stop and ask the owners about it. Many people said, “Oh, you can’t save it,” but Roberts would reply, “You know what, if it’s a good rug, it’s worth taking a look at.” He was often surprised at what was thrown away. “People would go to the heap, pull the rug out of the pile and I would discover it was a $20,000 Isfahan, or a $10,000 Tabriz, or even a $40,000 Beshir rug, all completely restoreable!”
According to Roberts, the only salvageable personal item many people had in their flooded home was their oriental rug. Often it was a family heirloom. “In one trip alone, I was able to save over 80 waterlogged rugs that were covered in filth, slime and unimaginable stink,” said Roberts. “Good quality handmade rugs are extremely resilient and can be easily restored because their dyes will not run nor will they fall apart like many glued synthetic rugs even under severe conditions like what happened in New Orleans.”
Luv-a-Rug’s Roberts invents a better rug beater
By Maureen Licata Contributor
Dec 02 2007
Remember when wall-to-wall carpets were all the rage? Sorry, now they’re passé. Owners of older houses are ripping out their carpeting, and today’s new homes often feature hard surface flooring like slate, marble or wood. Enter the era of the area rug and the need, says Stephen Roberts, president of Luv-A-Rug (Formerly Lug-A-Rug) for new cleaning techniques as individual as the rugs themselves. In order to remove deeply entrenched dirt, he has partnered with an engineer to design the hard-working RugBadger. And rug cleaners worldwide are taking notice.
“There are hundreds of RugBadgers out there now,” he says. “In fact, it’s an industry norm for rugs to be ‘badgered.’”
Trained as a carpet cleaner, Roberts initially thought he could clean area rugs with the same methods he’d employed for wall-to-wall carpeting. They didn’t work. So he traveled to Philadelphia and Boston to learn the best way to clean Persian rugs, the most prestigious of area floor coverings. Roberts talked to operators who used “monstrous machines that aren’t built anymore. So we built a prototype machine and worked on it until we got it right.”
The result is a machine that is pushed over the rug like conventional carpet shampooers, but with the rug laid face down across a flat grill. The machine beats the rug with 50 straps rotating as on a hand-powered rotary lawn mower. This creates, says Roberts, “40,000 harmonic vibrations a minute.” The dirt is dislodged and knocked through the grill onto the floor, leaving the rug ready for conventional shampooing.
There’s good reason to target area rugs. “These are more dear to people, more personal and greater profits are in store,” says Roberts, who styles himself “Dusty” in the promotional videos offered on his website at www.rugbadger.com. “There’s a huge opportunity to get into this. Right now we’re negotiating with the world’s biggest carpet cleaning company. We already do business with the second largest company of its type, Stanley Steamer. Our company is the only manufacturer that builds specialized machinery.”
While prototype testing is carried out in Victoria, engineering and manufacturing of the machines takes place in Alabama, and special components are produced in China. “Yet this is still a Canadian company,” says Roberts.
The company does “really well with the machines,” he says. “And we don’t give them away. (the price is $3495). At first, we couldn’t sell them, but now we’ve reached the tipping point.”
Another piece of equipment Roberts is selling is the RugRevolution. It’s a centrifuge wringer, designed to remove the water from a wet rug. “At 16 feet in length, it spins at 1000 revolutions per minute,” he says. “It removes 95 percent of the water in three minutes.”
Besides the company’s equipment line-up, Roberts is in charge of the local in-plant restorative rug cleaning and repair service. “It’s a very small operation,” he says. “Consulting is a big part of what we do. My expertise is growing and marketing the business.”
He’s been in the industry since the mid-1980s, when he took control of the family business. Since that time, Roberts has also provided cleaning and consulting services to cruise ship lines. “I’ve worked on Holland American and the Crystal lines. They generally call when in a panic. We need large crews to clean a ship while it’s here, so often 10 companies are involved. Because we’re so busy, I probably won’t take on any more cruise business.”
Since he can run an international business from Vancouver Island, Roberts plans to keep his company based here. “I grew up here, and I’ll stay here. Thanks to flat-earth technologies, I can do this work from anywhere. We even get our message out via You Tube. We have found that to be highly effective.”
The Internet offers a source of information for concerned cleaning service seekers. “And owners of higher-end rugs do their homework,” he says. “They google the subject and they come in educated.”
Roberts enlightens others at industry events held in such far-flung locales as Australia’s Gold Coast and Las Vegas. He provides live web seminars. He also acts as a consultant to those who need their rugs identified.
And is price an issue? “Our prices are always higher than anywhere else,” he says. “So why should a client choose us? We don’t provide a commodity service. We’re like artisans. The job requires more finesse, skill, time and patience, as well as greater risk. When people realize you care, they’ll pay the price.” BE