Carpet moth infestations have the potential to be among the most destructive pest infestations that affect properties in the UK. Carpet moth larvae can cause considerable damage to carpets as they eat away at the fibres.
Carpet moths feast on carpets and other animal-based fibres because they contain keratin. Their natural habitat is outdoors, where they lay their eggs in bird’s nests. Bird feathers are loaded with keratin and provide a rich source of food for the larvae. However, they also gravitate towards other keratin-rich food sources, such as discarded animal furs and skins.
There are numerous ways that carpet moth larvae can find their way into your carpets. If you purchase second-hand furniture, there’s always a chance that it will already contain carpet moth eggs. Alternatively, tiny moth eggs are easily picked up by cats, dogs, and shoes. Once they are in your home, they will soon hatch, and the larvae will seek out the nearest source of keratin and begin their feast.
When they live outdoors, carpet moths go through a couple of life cycles each year and remain dormant throughout the winter. However, when they are in a well-heated comfortable home, they have the potential to stay active throughout the year. If conditions are right, they can go through as many as six or seven life cycles.
If you have carpet moths in your home, they can lay as many as 300 eggs at a time. Their eggs are so small that you’re unlikely to notice them until they hatch. Once they have hatched, the larvae are much easier to spot than the eggs, especially once they start causing damage to nearby animal fibres. They will happily eat heavily dyed carpet fabrics. In fact, they can take on the colour of the dye and become even harder to spot.