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Carpet and Insects

Adult beetles and moths generally live outdoors feeding on pollen, nectar and liquid foods, as well as looking for egg laying sites during the summer months. These are frequently indoors, such as roof spaces. Damage to wool and wool-rich carpets, is caused by the feeding larvae, which require a high animal protein diet. They can appear in domestic situations, infesting and causing damage to textiles and carpets, and are often associated with bird nesting activity in the eaves and roof spaces of buildings.

Central heating within buildings provides ideal conditions (insects also have a capacity to hibernate in cold conditions and re-emerge in the spring) for insect development throughout the year. Insects seek dark areas away from direct light, e.g. under heavy furniture and adjacent to skirting boards. Continuously feeding, the larvae, cause damage by biting off and eating parts of fibre, (usually at the base of the tufts) and grow by moulting several times before pupating inside the last larval skin during springtime.

It is important to first trace the source of the infestation, e.g. examine the cracks between floorboards around edges of rooms and under skirting boards for accumulation of debris and check sheepskin rugs and all animal fur/skin clothing since apparel is rarely treated with an insect resist agent. Once the source is found a thorough cleaning of the infested area is recommended. This can then be followed with a treatment using a residual insecticide to ensure all larvae have been killed. (Lakeland have recently introduced a product called Moth Stop Spray which is claimed to be effective on carpet.)

Pesticides are available from hardware stores/garden centres, other sources can be found on the internet. The most effective will contain permethrin which has low human toxicity but high toxicity for aquatic creatures and those pesticides which carry a warning to ensure that the products do not enter the aquatic environment are the most likely to contain permethrin. It is important for health and safety that all instructions are followed before use. If you require professional help in removing the infestation, contact the British Pest Control Association (www.bpca.org.uk) for information.

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