Thursday, April 1, 2010

Live Moth Larva

On Tuesday of this week, a wool hand tufted area rug came in for cleaning. The client told me that the rug had been stored for awhile.

When I hear that a dirty rug was stored I look for moth activity. I didn't find moth damage, I found something much more exciting.

I found live moth larva eating the rug!

I grabbed my little video camera and taped a great little video showing the little guys at work.

When I went to upload the video I ended up deleting it instead. Yup, I was smart. Since the rug was already in our moth treatment there was no way to re-do the video until next time I get a rug with live larva.

I was really excited to show you the larva because these guys had just hatched. Some of them were very small, smaller than the width of the wool fibers.

This little guy was the biggest one. He was close to cocooning, judging by his size.

I found at least 10 larva, but there were more I am sure.

Since it is really hard to find the eggs we must do our moth treatment to all rugs we find with evidence of moth activity. It takes just one male and female egg to hatch and you rug can be damaged.
Here is one of the smaller larva. When I started moving the fibers around with my pen, most of the larva disappeared.

Moth damage isn't usually caught in this early stage. It isn't until they have eaten a noticeable hole or a professional has pointed it out the empty larva casings.

When I unrolled the rug I had disturbed them and they started to move, it is easier to notice them, since dirt doesn't wiggle around.

I noticed the one first and after I found him, finding the smaller ones was easy after that.
There will be no noticeable damage to this rug because they were caught early.

I am glad that the client had mentioned that the rug was in stored. If he hadn't said anything and I forgot to ask, the unhatched eggs would probably have survived the cleaning and damage could have occurred.

How could the eggs survive the badgering and cleaning process?

The female moth attaches the eggs to the bottom of the wool fibers with a glue like fluid. This makes the eggs hard to remove by vibration and vacuuming. The eggs are very small, less than 1 mm in diameter, and up to one hundred can be laid by a single female moth.

Moth's do serious damage to wool area rugs that is why we will not clean an area rug if we find evidence of moth activity.

Remember to vacuum your entire area rug often and get it professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary