Tiny and Insignificant – I Think Not!

It would seem we have swopped one pest for another. In our old house we were kept awake at night by the scurrying of mice above our heads.  Over the years we tried many DIY methods – chocolate on traps, Sonar and shop bought bait to name a few. Always we ended up calling in the pest man. He came, laid his special (and very expensive) bait and four weeks later his method had appeared to do the trick……. until the next time they came to call.

Last year in our new house of only a year we were plagued by tiny moths. The long suffering spent many evenings leaping around the room, air swatting to reduce the population. Tell tale signs of white empty egg cases were duly noted around the edges of the carpets but not particularly worried about.

Big mistake…….it turns out they were carpet moths so called because they literally munch carpet.

Carpet damage was found while putting our house back to rights after a week long visit from the family at Mole Hall. The rollaway bed I have to confess does not get moved out that often – a carpet moths dream. The bed under creates a dark place hidden from view and inaccessible to the vacuum  – a carpet moths enemy!

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The long suffering duly helped me pull out the bed ready to vacuum underneath. As I wielded the dust enemy over the carpet the fibres were fast disappearing up the nozzle revealing large unsightly bare patches.

My cry of alarm caused long-suffering to drop to the floor and join me on all fours as further detective work revealed the evidence of the attacker. Tell tale white cases in the pile surrounding the bare patches identical to those last summer we had chosen to ignore were plain to see.

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A quick google on the phone allowed us to identify at once what we were dealing with…….

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The native carpet moth – Tinea pellionella to give it its Latin name are tiny, destructive and difficult to eradicate. Their natural habitat it outside when they would be winter dormant but with central heated houses their lifecycles increase dramatically.

It pupates and emerges from tiny white cases looking like a single grain of rice these are normally hidden behind furniture – especially heavy not moved often- and the nooks and crannies around skirting boards or as in our case last year can also appear on walls and ceilings.

The tiny emergent moth – wingspan 15-17mm – lives just long enough to mate, laying up to 300 eggs on the carpet where the cycle starts all over again.

Further research has thrown up that we need to vacuum more often and be thorough about it……..More damage from the dining room!

This although helpful will not solve the problem. There are DIY sprays readily available, however we are thinking the pest man route once again will be our best hope at complete eradication. I fear more than one treatment will be needed, meaning the much needed redecoration will be put on hold. Judging by the long-sufferings face at this news it will be a welcome relief of his decorating skills………… For the time being at least!

Have any of you had the carpet moth visit and what – if anything – worked for you?

 

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