Moth Damage

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The flying cloth moths do not consume rugs. However, the females lay many eggs that hatch into larvae. The larvae are the ones that eat the materials used to make the rugs such as wool, silk, feather and fur. 

The moth and larvae survive well in dark conditions where the rug receives little usage and is least likely to be vacuumed. An area that has been infested with these damaging insects is left with a veil that resembles cobweb as well as debris that looks like fine sand. 

The infestation can spread even to other clothing made of wool and other materials that are eaten by the larvae. It is easy to repair a rug damaged in this way, but if the damage is over a big area, it might be very expensive.

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To identify the presence of moths, look for one or more of these signs:

 Flying moths

The villain is the clothing moth that is commonly found. It is small in size, and its color is soft brown or silver tan. Its flight is slow but its small wings flatter rapidly. Attempts to swat it from the air, make it fold the wings and drop to the floor.

Bare spots on the rug

The moth larvae have a preference of one color over another. Therefore, if, you find such bare patches, you should know that the moth has eaten out the colors that they prefer and left out the others.


They are present only when the infestation is bad. The web is white and covers patches of the rug.


They are about ½” long and 1/8” across the diameter. They are long, and fuzzy cylinders. They take the color of the rug for camouflage, so they are not easy to discover.

Larvae presence

The larvae are usually white in color and measure about 3/8” long. These are the ones that consume the rug material. They can be seen soon after hatching, and before they build the cocoons.

Sand-like debris

These are the droppings of the larvae and are brown or tan in color. They are usually found in the rug’s pile. They have a regular size and look like granules.

Loose piles

These occur after the larvae have eaten through yarn overcasting that bind the piles together.

How to prevent moth damage:

1. If it is possible vacuum the rug on a weekly basis. For several times in the year, vacuum the underside of the rug and the floor on which it sits. Where the rug is very large flip the rug edges and vacuum for about two feet on the underside of the rug. The areas on the floor and pad also need to be vacuumed.

2. Note that moth balls and other commonly similar substances have no effect. They may be successful in repelling them, but they are not strong enough to kill the larvae. The smell of naphthalene is not pleasant to many people, and it may be hard to rid the rug of this smell. Cedar scent too has no effect on the on moth control.

3. Any places that cannot be vacuumed because the carpet is under furniture or the rug is on the wall, such an area should be sprayed with insecticide that is made for that purpose. Care should be taken so that the insecticide does not leave any stains on the rug. Many of the products that contain pyrethrins are safe for domestic use since pyrethrins that are considered to be poisonous to most insects break down easily after application. Be sure to adhere to the instructions of used of any insecticide. Buy insecticides that will not have harmful effects on you and your family.

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