Moth Prevention On Wool Rugs

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moth damage on backIt is devastating to find that your area rug has holes or chunks of missing fibers. Upon closer inspection you find that your rug has been home to moths. Now what do you do?
First do not panic, moths are easier to get rid that most other pests like fleas.
Second your rug needs to be moth treated and clean by professional area rug specialists. The moth eggs and live larva need to be eliminated from your rug. Call your rug cleaners to get them to pick up your rug. In Victoria BC and Vancouver Island call Luv-A-Rug 250-590-6210/1-800-886-2802.

Next, all your wool rugs, clothing,and blankets need to be checked for moth damage or live moth activity. You need to make sure that all your wool items are cleaned and moth free. Eliminating the food source for moths is the best way to not have a moth problem.

In Victoria, BC we have an ideal climate for moths to thrive in.

We get the clothes case-making moths and they have ruined a lot of rugs.

The easiest and best way to deal with moths is to never get them in your home. To insure this is to clean all wool items before storing them no matter how short of time. It doesn’t take long for moths to find your wool items tasty when they haven’t been cleaned in awhile.

Here’s one of my videos showing live moth larva eating a rug

Brief Moth Life Cycle
Moth eggs are as small as a grain of sand and are stuck to the base of the wool fibers of your rugs. This makes the eggs hard to see and harder to remove with regular vacuuming or cleaning.

The eggs hatch into tiny worm looking larva.

The larva are what eat your area rugs! 

They eat until they are ready to go into the pupa/cocoon stage. Since a female moth can lay a lot of eggs it doesn’t take long for the moths to do a lot of damage to your wool rugs in a short period of time.

The clothing moth goes into the pupa stage and grows into an adult moth.

The evidence of this looks like a flattened piece of rice that is the colour of your area rug or white. The empty pupa cocoon is the most common evidence that your wool rugs are the victim of moths.

The adult moths mate and once the female has laid her eggs she dies and the life cycle continues.

Moths don’t like to leave their food source until they are forced to. They leave a food source when the food source is gone, or the temperature changes or the food source isn’t big enough to support the infestation of larva. 

That happens when the food source runs out, the temperature is not ideal, or the number of moths is too great for the food source to support.

How to Make Your Home Undesirable to Moths:
The only way to deter moths is to have a clean home. Now that is not to say that you must be cleaning every spare moment, just cleaning the right areas.

Here is a list of key areas to clean:

  • Clean air/heating ducts cleaned before you use them.
    Your ducts collect dust and debris that moth larva can eat and once you turn them they can get blown into you home and they look for a new source of food to eat, like your nice Persian rug.
  • Clean all wool clothing, blanket, area rugs, wall tapestries BEFORE storing them away.
    It doesn’t matter if you only wore a wool sweater once, if you dribbled any food or drink on it or got any body sweat on it moths can feed off of it.
    Even if you wiped up the food off your sweater and see no visible evidence that doesn’t mean that some didn’t get absorbed into the wool fibers. It doesn’t take much to attract moths to your wool items.
  • Vacuum your WHOLE area rug even if you have furniture on part it.
    If your couch covers some of your rug and you cannot get the vacuum under it, moths will go there.
    Moths like dark, dirty, undisturbed areas.You should vacuum your entire rug at least once a month. Also flip over the edges of your rug and check the back 4-8 inches in.Moths are sneaky and can crawl under your rug edges to lay their eggs. The larva will eat your rug from the back and you would never know until they have done a lot of damage. The photo shows moth damage on the back of a wool rug just below the fringes.
  • Vacuum your baseboards.
    Sounds simple and logical, but the power head of your vacuum doesn’t get right up to them and all that dust that can collect is prime for moths.
    Vacuum any cracks that are between the baseboard and wall and floor. Any place where a lot of dust can collect needs to be vacuumed.
  • Check your attic and eaves for any abandon bird, mouse and wasp nests.The debris in these nests are also a good meal for moths.Cleaning any clothing, blankets, and fabric souvenirs bought in another country.It is hard to see the eggs from moths and other pests on such items. Eliminate them before they hatch. Memories and souvenirs are all you need to bring back from vacation, not extra unwanted guests.

You don’t need to use harsh chemicals and sprays to deal with a small infestation of moths on area rugs. Professional area rug cleaners can treatment and clean your wool rugs to eliminate the moth eggs and larva.

Finding all the areas where they have infested and cleaning all your wool items ensures that you have killed off the moths.

Having wool rugs in different areas of your home doesn’t mean that moths haven’t found both rugs. Moths can get into your home from an open window, air ducts, attics, and any small cracks, so there can be more than one pregnant female lurking about.

Always consulate with a professional pest control and area rug cleaner before tackling a moth infestation. In Victoria and Vancouver Island call Luv-A-Rug at 250-590-6210/1-800-886-2802

The Secret Museums Use for Moth Control
Museums cannot afford to have a moth infestation. The wool items they have cannot be replaced, so what do museums do to protect their priceless treasures? They use cold freezing temperatures. Moth eggs and larva cannot survive in -17 degrees C/ zero degrees F. Heat/sunshine also kills the eggs and larva 43 degrees C/ 110 degrees F, but heat can damage some items.

  • When you have small items such as a sweater, socks, yarn or jacket with moth damage
  • Put item in a plastic bag and squeeze out all the air you can and seal the bag by tying or taping it. Make sure the item is at room temperature or warmer.
  • Put the bag into a deep freezer, not a fridge freezer it doesn’t get cold enough, for a week.
  • After a week take the bag out of the freezer. DO NOT OPEN it. Let the item warm up to room temperature for another week. This allows for any eggs that were resistant to the first freezing to hatch.
  • Put the bag back into the deep freeze for another week.
  • After the second freezing take item out of bag, throw the bag away in an outside garage, and clean item.

Moth larva need certain organic dust, spills, and wool to survive. They do not drink liquids so the food, drink and pet accident spots on your rugs have to provide all needed nutrition.

Speaking of pet accidents always get your rug cleaned after these happen. Pet urine is rich in all a moth larva needs to do serious damage to your wool area rugs.
early Moth damageThe photo shows moth damage on the back of a rug where there was a pet urine stain that was not cleaned right away.

Leaving a rug rolled up in your basement while your new puppy is in training is a good idea as long as it is clean and wrapped properly for storage.

At Luv-A-Rug we see rugs that were used as a puppy bathroom and the owners rolled them up and put them away and a many months later decided that they wanted to use the rug again.

Unfortunately the stains are then permanent and their rug has became a lunch buffet for moth larvae.

Always get your rugs cleaned before storing no matter how short of a period. It doesn’t take much for moths to make your rug their feeding ground.

Moths are preventable by:

  • Vacuuming your entire wool area rugs at least once a month
  •  Vacuuming the areas where dust collects around baseboards and under furniture
  •  Cleaning your area rugs every 1-3 years
  • Checking under your rug edges for moth activity
  • Cleaning all wool items before storing them
  • Getting pet accidents and spills cleaned right away
  • Getting your air ducts cleaned every year before using them

It is easy to take care of a small moth infestation on one or two rugs. When they have invaded two or more rooms it may be time to call a professional pest controller. A female moth can lay 50 to 100 eggs so it doesn’t take long for a major problem to occur if left untreated.
Most rugs that Luv-A-Rug treats for moth activity the owners did not know they had invaded their rugs.

Moths are small and it is easy to miss the first signs of moth larva activity if you suspect or know that your rugs have moth activity call Luv-A-Rug 250-590-6210/800-886-2802 and we will do our safe and non-chemical moth treatment to eliminate the eggs and larva from your rugs.