Ever hear the phrase, "snug as a bug in a rug"?
Some insects and pests love to nestle in your carpet. The soft, thick fibres serve as an excellent hiding place. And for many bugs, the wool pile presents a seemingly endless supply of food for themselves and their larvae.
The following pests in particular are infamous for sneaking into homes uninvited and damaging oriental rugs, upholstery and carpet.
Carpet moths (the webbing moth and the case making moth) don't look like much at first. They have a small wing span, only 14 to 18 mm. The adults tend to have a brown or beige colouring, and they prefer dark, undisturbed areas to lay their eggs.
Why They Like Carpet
Although adult carpet moths don't cause a lot of damage on their own, you should definitely watch out for their larvae. A single female adult can lay 100 to 150 eggs, which hatch in as few as five days.
The small caterpillars then proceed to devour the wool and other natural fibres in your carpet. They also nibble on pollen, hair, dried animal remains and other dead insects that tend to accumulate in your rugs.
Signs you have carpet moths include:
- Loose carpet fibres where the larvae have eaten the knots in your rug
- Squirming larvae underneath your rug
- Small cocoons that blend with your wool
- Adult moths flying in your home
Because adults prefer the dark, and because their larvae tend to blend in with their surroundings, you'll probably see the damage long before you see the insects themselves.
2. Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles have a recognisable oval body with a shiny, dark, brown-black colouring, though their wings tend to vary with irregular patterns of white, brown and dark yellow. They range in size from 0.3 cm to 0.4 cm.
Why They Like Carpet
Adult carpet beetles don't eat carpet or upholstery, as they prefer pollen and nectar from outdoor flowers. But should you bring them indoors, they'll quickly lay their eggs on or near your wool rugs, carpets or leather furniture.
Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will eat almost anything, from woollen socks to animal skins to dried plant products. And of course, they'll eat your rug fibres, too.
Are you worried you have carpet beetles? Here's what to look for:
- Shed skins and faecal pellets on or near your carpet
- Adults crawling around your windows and skirtings
- Irregular holes in carpeting and other fabrics
- Larvae squirming on the carpet
- Small cocoons under your rugs
As with carpet moths, carpet beetles prefer the dark. You'll probably notice the holes and the occasional adult long before you spot their larvae.
Silverfish have a sleek, teardrop-shaped body with a blue-silver or brown-grey colouring. They measure 12 to 19 mm long and have three noticeable bristles on their rear.
Why They Like Carpet
Silverfish prefer to eat carbohydrates, specifically polysaccharides such as starch and dextrin. You can find polysaccharides in a variety of household materials, including glue, book bindings, clothing and human dandruff. But when these materials become limited, silverfish will also eat silk, linen, household dust and even synthetic fibres in your carpet.
Watch for these signs of silverfish infestations:
- Holes in wallpaper, clothing and carpeting
- Yellow stains around the holes
- Faecal matter (resembles black pepper) in corners
- Adults in opened or unopened food packages
Like carpet beetles and carpet moths, silverfish become more active during the night, but you can spot them during the day if you have a particularly large infestation.
What Can You Do?
If you've identified any of these pests in your home, you should take action quickly as all of these insects reproduce at a rapid rate. Start by hiring a professional carpet cleaner to steam clean your flooring. The high temperatures will kill the larvae and the vacuum will suck away any eggs lodged in the fibres. Your carpet cleaner may also recommend additional methods for removing infestations, such as the use of pesticides or changes in your lifestyle to make your home less inviting for pests.