Identifying and Getting Rid of Carpet Moths

Carpet moths may seem harmless until they ruin everything made of fabric in your home.

Getting rid of them is no easy task either.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’ll go over the different steps to get rid of carpet moths, once and for all. So you can finally sleep without worrying about your clothes and carpet are not getting destroyed.

Identifying Carpet Moths

Correctly identifying the pest you’re dealing with is always the first step to ant pest control treatment.

There are two distinct species of carpet or clothes moths:

  • Webbing clothes moth
  • Case bearing clothes moth

Look out for larvae, cocoon and silver or gold moths.

Case Bearing Moths

case bearing carpet moth

Wingspan: 9 to 16 mm

Body Length: 4mm and 8mm

Color: Silvery grey, black, and brown 

Larvae  ¼ to ½ inch long. Cream in color with a dark head. 

Cocoons: small white cases around ½ inch long.  Look similar to grains of rice. 

Webbing Clothes Moth

webbing-clothes-moth (1)

Wingspan: 14-18mm

Body Length: 5mm

Color: Gold

Larvae  ¼ to ½ inch long. Cream in color with a dark head. 

Cocoons: small white cases around ½ inch long. 

Look similar to grains of rice. 

Signs of Carpet Moths?

At the larva stage, these moths thrive on fibers. They will eat your garments and textile until they are ready to enter the cocoon so they can molt. Here are some of common signs of carpet moths.

1. Silken Tubes and Cocoons

silken tubes

One of the most common signs of carpet months is silken tubes.

Case Bearing larvae create these tubes when they eat and consume fabrics.

These tubes are open-ended and typically possess the same color as the fabric the larva ate.

You will typically find these tubes congregated on fabrics such as clothing, carpets, and upholstery.

You’ll find them attached to a piece of cloth or fiber that the larvae are feeding on.

2. Live Larvae Crawling Around

carpet moth larvae and moth

Carpet moth larvae look like small white worms with dark heads moving around inside your fabrics.

You can find these anywhere there is fabric such as your clothes, carpets, blankets, or furniture.

3. Damaged Fabric

carpet moth damage

When carpet moth larvae eat fabric, they leave small holes. They also cause the fibers to fall off your items.

The damage is a bit easier to spot when you are looking at clothes or blankets. You can simply pick the garment up and move it around to find areas that have been damaged.

Identifying the damage on carpets is a bit harder. To find the damage, you’d need to use a brush or your hand to comb over the carpet.

If you have Capet moths, you will see:

  • Fibers falling apart
  • Holes inside carpet
  • Uneven patches
  • Missing fibers

4. Live Moths

If you find multiple carpet moths in your home, you’re likely dealing with an infestation. You’ll typically find these moths in undisturbed areas in your home.

How To Get Rid Of Carpet Moths

1. Locate The Infestation

To determine the location of the infestation, you can use moth traps.

These traps are glue boards that use pheromones to attract male moths. Place these in areas where you suspect carpet moths to be infesting.

Carpet moths prefer dark, undisturbed areas with a potential food source.

Look for them in places where there is wool, silk, cashmere, and cotton.
These moths eat keratin, which is a fiber found in these fabrics.

If you have a severe infestation, you should be able to catch plenty of adult months within several days of setting the trap.

For minor infestations, you may only catch several moths.

Once you have identified which room the carpet moths are in, find the rest by inspecting fabrics. Look for larvae, silken tubes, or damage.

If you don’t catch any moths inside the trap, you may not be dealing with an infestation, But, to be sure, inspect the remainder of the room for any other signs or carpet moths. 

Check under furniture, along baseboards, on curtains, inside dressers, closets. Look in any undisturbed areas that have enough food to support their newly laid eggs.

2. Wash All Fabrics

Place infested fabrics in a bag.

Next, wash or steam the fabric with hot water to kill off any larvae or eggs on it.

If possible, dry your clothes on high heat to kill any moths that survive the washer.

For the most effective results, keep your loads small. Doing so ensures each piece of fabric is washed and dried with sufficient heat.

3. Vacuum and steam Clean

Clean your carpets thoroughly.

Move all the furniture. Next, vacuum and steam clean every part of the carpet.

The vacuum will remove any debris and dead moths. The steam will kill any eggs or larvae that have escaped the void.

Don’t cut any corners, and do your best to cover every inch of the room.

You’ll also want to vacuum and steam any upholstered items that the moths could be feeding on.

4. Use Dust and Spray for Added Protection

For added protection, you can also use dust and spray treatments.

Dust treatment

Using a brush or broom, apply a layer of dust to the carpet. Brush until the dust to penetrate deep into the carpet.

The dust will kill any eggs or larvae that are living inside the carpet.

Make sure to vacuum afterward to remove residual dust. You’d want to avoid the dust getting suspended in the air when people walk over the carpet.

Repeat the process once a month for 2-4 months.

Spray Treatment

Spray the chemical and let it penetrate deep into the carpet.

The insecticide will kill any larvae or eggs that are living inside the carpet.

Wipe down any areas outside of the carpet that you may have sprayed accidentally.

5. Fumigation

For a small area that’s easy to seal off, I recommend using vapor packs such as Nuvan Pro Strips. These fumigation packs are highly potent and effective.

When fumigating, you want to leave the area undisturbed and sealed off for around 24-48 hours.

Make sure to ventilate the room properly. Allow for four to six hours before you entering the room.

Ventilation is essential because the chemical used by Nuvan is highly toxic if inhaled for extended periods.

If you are treating a large room that is hard to seal off, I suggest avoiding fumigation.

6. Repeat Application

Repeat the process once a month for 2-4 months to ensure that you have eliminated all of the carpet moths in your home.

It is very difficult to kill every single adult moth, larvae, and egg with one single treatment.

Multiple treatments will prevent the moths from reproducing and rebuilding their population.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do Carpet Moths Come From?

Carpet moths typically on birds’ nests, where they feed on the keratin found in the bird’s feathers.

But they can thrive on the keratin found in any fur or dead animal skin.

Carpet moths will typically fly into your home due to their attraction to light.

They are also commonly brought in by accident when you bring eggs into your home.

Another way carpet moths enter the home is through used furniture. This is especially common when purchasing antiques or older furniture that might have been stored outside.

Do Carpet Moths Bite?

No. Carpet moths and their larvae are not capable of biting.

The larvae do use their mouth to eat on fabric, but they do not have the right mouthparts to bite.

Overall, moths are completely harmless.
However, they do have the potential to cause allergic reactions in some.

What do carpet moths eat?

Carpet moths eat animal fibers that contain keratin.

Keratin is commonly found inside wool, cashmere, silk, and some cotton. This is the natural food source for carpet months.

In nature, carpet months get their keratin by eating bird feathers, dead animal hair, or skin laying around.

Adult carpet moths do not eat anything. Once they are adults, they lay eggs and live a short life.

Carpet moth larvae do all the eating. They eat as much as they can until they can create a cocoon and become an adult.

How long do carpet moths live?

Adult carpet moths live around two to four months.

Their larvae can live for up to two years. Because of their long life, Carpet moth larvae can cause severe damage to your home.

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