Annually the technicians at Oriental Rug Salon see dozens of cherished area rugs brought to our shop showing signs of moth or other insect damage.
Sometimes the damage is confined to a small area, and corrective action can result in a seamless repair. In other instances, the damage is extensive, leaving the area rug unsalvageable. We’ve seen $50,000 rugs reduced to zero in a matter of weeks due to moth or other insect invasions.
Facts About Moth Damage
Adult clothes moths do not cause damage; they produce larvae that cause devastation to wool area rugs due to larvae feeding on wool. Of the various type of moths, there are only two kinds to be concerned with: the webbing moth and the casemaking moth. Both moths’ spin a silken tube that acts as a protective barrier for the larvae. The webbing moth larvae attach their tubes to dark crevices or seams within the wool area rug, making them stationary to feed in one location. The casemaking moth’s larvae do not attach their tubes, or “cases,” allowing them to remain mobile and cause a more significant amount of damage.
The life cycle of these moths can range from two months to 2 to 2 1/2 years. The adults lay eggs on materials that the larvae will consume, and wool makes a tasty, nutritional meal. Each female moth can lay 100 to 150 eggs that hatch in about five days. The larval stage itself can last from two to 30 months.
The lifespan of the moth depends on the availability of food (like wool). That is why moths can be so devastating to rugs. Wool rugs provide a vast food source, and if gone unnoticed, the larvae can feed for almost 2 1/2 years. An infestation of only a few weeks can result in pile loss the size of a baseball.
Moths and their larvae thrive in dark, undisturbed areas of rugs that have little traffic and are seldom vacuumed. Moths are attracted to the keratin in animal hair (wool is animal hair), and a dirty wool rug covered in dog and cat hair is a paradise for moth larvae. They can feed on blends of natural fibers but not on materials made of synthetic fibers (such as nylon). They also tend not to consume cotton (think cotton fringe).
If you see flying adult moths, it is almost a given fact that they have started to nest or feed on your wool textiles, so immediate action is necessary.
What To Do If You See Moths In Your Home
Examine your rug(s) and look for loose carpet fibers on top of the rug pile; this results from the larvae eating the knots off at the foundation level of the rug. Also, look for the cocoons: slightly fuzzy cylinders 1/8-inch in diameter and 1/2-inch long that are the same color as the rug pile. You may see the actual larvae squirming along the pile surface and underneath the rug. Check both sides of your rug.
So How To Get Rid Of A Moth Infestation?
Start with a thorough, professional in-plant cleaning.
At Oriental Rug Salon, we submerge wash over 95% of all rugs that enter our plant. This full-submersion wash, coupled with the appropriate treatment and cleaning solutions, removes embedded soils and other contaminants and helps eliminate larvae and insect activity.
The safest and most effective treatment for moths (outside of a professional exterminator) and their larvae is pyrethrum. The product is the oleoresin extract of dried chrysanthemum flowers referred to as pyrethrins. These strongly lipophilic esters rapidly penetrate many insects and paralyze their nervous systems. Coupled with this treatment routine, the technicians at Oriental Rug Salon add essential oils and souring agents to wool and silk textiles to make their fibers unhospitable to insects. Our treatment lasts for up to three years or until the rug is rewashed and has no residual odor, and is not harmful to people or pets.
Be Aware that mothballs, flakes, and crystals are ineffective in moth control for rugs.
These materials act only as a minor repellent to moths; they do not kill moth larvae, and the naphthalene odor can be unpleasant and challenging to remove from the rug.
One of the significant hurdles to preventing moth damage is rug owner education. Too many people believe that cleaning or vacuuming Oriental and Persian rugs is not suitable for them. Dirty rugs are targets for moth infestation, let alone the uncleanliness and potential for traffic wear, color loss, and reduced lifespan of the textile.
Oriental Rug Salon is a full-service Oriental, Persian, Turkish, and all other wool and silk area rug cleaning, repair, storage, and appraisal company. Oriental Rug Salon is Certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the International Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), and a WoolSafe Approved Service Provider. Our technicians are experienced in all rug cleaning processes, and our company employs a certified rug master.
For more information on our area rug cleaning services, please visit us online at www.OrientalRugSalon.com or “call us on the carpet” any time at 239-424-8171. We offer FREE pick up and delivery of most area rugs throughout Lee, Collier, and Charlotte County, Florida.
Our Video Library
How To Identify Moth and Insect Damage: CLICK HERE
How To Protect Your Rugs From Moth Damage: CLICK HERE
Why You Should NEVER Let A Carpet Cleaning Company Clean Your Wool or Silk Area Rug: CLICK HERE