A moth is an insect related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Most of these orders are
moths; there are thought to be about 160,000 species of moth with thousands of species yet to be described.
This moth prefers moist conditions, although low humidity will merely slow development. Webbing Clothes Moths are small moths whose adults grow to between 1 and 2 cm in length. Their eggs are tiny, most being under 1 mm long and barely visible. A female will lay several hundred during her lifetime; egg placement is carefully chosen in locations where they will have the best chance for survival. The eggs are attached with a glue-like substance and can be quite difficult to remove. After the egg hatches, the larva will immediately look for food. Larvae can obtain their required food in less than two months, but if conditions are not favourable they will feed on and off for a long time. Whether it takes two months or two years, each larva will eventually spin a cocoon in which it will pupate and change into an adult. Larvae stay in these cocoons for between one and two months and then emerge as adults ready to mate and to lay eggs.
The Moth is notorious for feeding on rugs, carpet, clothing and natural fibres; they have the ability to turn keratin (a protein of which hair and wool mainly consist) into food. The moths prefer dirty fabric for oviposition and are particularly attracted to carpeting and clothing that contains human sweat or other liquids which have been spilled onto them. They are attracted to these areas not for the food but for the moisture: the caterpillars do not drink water; consequently, their food must contain moisture. Both adults and larvae prefer low light conditions. Whereas many other Tineidae are drawn to light, Common Clothes Moths seem to prefer dim or dark areas. If larvae find themselves in a well-lit room, they will try to relocate under furniture or carpet edges. Handmade rugs are a favourite, because it is easy for the larvae to crawl underneath and do their damage from below. They will also crawl under moulding at the edges of rooms in search of darkened areas where debris has gathered and which consequently hold good food.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which then begin to feed. Once they have finished larval development, they pupate and undergo metamorphosis to emerge as imagines (adult moths). Adults do not eat; rather, males look for females with whom to mate, and females look for places to lay their eggs. Once reproduction is done, they die. Contrary to what most people believe, adult T. bisselliella do not eat or cause any damage to clothing or fabric. It is the larvae which are solely responsible for this, and which spend their entire time eating and foraging for food. How to prevent this:
- Vacuuming – Since the moths like to hide in carpeting and baseboards, this is an important step towards full eradication
- Mothproofing – Treatment of materials as a preventive measure before their use, as well as simply for storage, has a long history.
- Mothballs are used primarily as a preservative but also will kill existing larvae if the concentration is high enough. There are two types of mothball but both evaporate into a gas, which is heavier than air and needs to reach a high concentration at the protected material to be effective. Disadvantages: vapours are toxic and carcinogenic; mothballs are poisonous and should not be put where they can be eaten by children or pets. Naphthalene mothballs are also highly flammable.
- Insecticides typically aerosol application works best if coverage is adequate. Treat once a month for the first three months and then once a quarter for the next year to ensure the infestation is under control.
With most of us having centrally heated homes and the mild weather we have been enjoying there has been a huge increase in the infestation of moth in carpets and rugs. We can successfully treat moth in your carpets and rugs. The Rug Guru apply our moth treatment after washing and cleaning your rugs.