In common with clothes moths, the carpet moth is very small. Their wingspan is typically 14-18 mm.
The moth flies from April to October depending on the location and has very distinctive markings assisting with identification (see picture right).
The larvae feed on animal skin, bird nests, fur, clothing, carpets and upholstery made of natural fibres or animal skin. Carpet moths can complete a number of lifecycles within a year and are more like webbing clothes moths in that they spin webbing in areas where they like to reside. You may see these silken cases or threads, either during their life as larvae or after pupation.
Their speed of development depends entirely upon local temperature, humidity and food supplies and can be as fast as 8 weeks from egg to adult, resulting in several generations during the summer, but the last generation of larvae will carry on as larvae through the winter (and eating your carpet) while waiting for the warmer spring temperatures to pupate and re-start the adult cycle.
It is not uncommon to find larvae the same colour as your carpet fibres having eaten the dyes in the carpet pile. They will look for undisturbed, darker areas to lay their eggs - hence being more likely found under sofas and other furniture, behind curtains and along skirting boards.
Please note that Clothes Moth larvae are just as likely to eat the wool in carpets - if your carpet moth damage issue looks like it is from a different moth to the Tapestry or Carpet Moth, it may well be Webbing Clothes Moths (see picture on the right) or try our clothes moth identification guide. The treatment routines are the same regardless of the type of moth invading your home. You may wish to consider protecting your clothes in wardrobes, cupboards and drawers if you have experienced moths in your home in case they have reached other rooms in the house.
The carpet moth has a very similar life cycle to a clothes moth.
The adults do not live long and the mated adult female lays hundreds of eggs in her short life time. The eggs will be laid in the quieter, darker and undisturbed areas of carpets and rugs and lay dormant for approximately 4 to 10 days before hatching. The larvae can live for up to 2 years which accounts for continued damage as they eat through the winter months, but in warmer periods they will pupate within 2 months of hatching, resulting in a number of cycles through the Spring to Autumn months.
The pupation stage will last up to 2 weeks before the adults emerge. The adults are relatively harmless and only live 2-3 months, but the issue and risk to property is clearly the risk of further egg laying and the infestation getting out of land, hence the need to deal with both adult and larvae stages of the carpet moth lifecycle in treatment routines.
If you notice small balding patches in the corners and at the edges of your carpets, the chances are that you have an infestation of carpet moths. This is a problem that needs immediate attention because it will continue to get worse. A mated female carpet moth can lay around 200 eggs in her short adult life and an infestation can very quickly get out of hand. Carpet moths are stubborn when it comes to leaving your home!
Use a thorough treatment routine to ensure the carpet moths are thoroughly eradicated. See our Carpet Moth Category for more detail and to explore our range of treatments, including easy to use, comprehensive Carpet Moth Killer Kits formulated in conjunction with our customers and suppliers for rapid and comprehensive action.