It was just another day.
I was sitting on the floor playing with Juno when I noticed what I thought were some fine cobwebs on the carpet under our lounge suite.
You know, the one that is so big I usually just can’t be bothered pulling it out when I vacuum the house. That one.
Hmmm, I thought. Better check to make sure we don’t have any big black hairy spiders under there. On closer inspection I could see a whole lot of these fine white fairy floss tendrils spread across the top of the carpet.
I pulled part of the lounge away from the wall to better see. Yes, there were more. And worse, amidst the floss there was a 1cm hole in the wool carpet right through to the underlay.
I called Kelly over to see, and she pretty much knew what was going on straight away. Carpet moths.
The Carpet or Tapestry Moth (Trichophaga Tapetzella) is found all over the world.
It is a tiny thing measuring only 14 millimetres from wingtip to wingtip.
But do not let the size fool you. This tiny moth can move thousands of kilograms of junk from one end of your house to the other. You’ll see.
The Tapestry Moth happily resides in all those dark inaccessible nooks and crannies feasting away on dead skin, clothing, natural fibre upholstery and…..carpets.
The female moth likes to find some dark undisturbed place to lay her eggs, often numbering in the hundreds.
The eggs hatch tiny larvae about 4-10 days later, which can live up to 2 years in this state, but they tend to eat over the winter months before pupating when the temperatures rise. The adult moths may even assume the colour of the carpet after ingesting so much of its dye.
The adult moths only live around 2 to 3 months.
But it is a full and busy life.
What with looking for a partner to mate with, and searching all over my house for some nice expensively carpeted real estate to lay their own eggs.
Once we had realised the potential problem, a frantic hper-obsessive search of our entire carpet integrity ensued.
All the usual easily accessable spaces were fine.
Under our filing cabinet, moths. Under the boxes of old books in the study cupboard, floss . Under the footprint of the legs of our bed, floss and moths. Around the edges where the carpet abuts the walls, flossy mothy moth-flosses.
I think we were losing it.
Pretty much any place where furniture or ‘stuff’ had sat on the carpet undisturbed for a while Trichophaga Tapetzella had spawned multitudes of hungry, evil floss spinning children.
Luckily, apart from that 1 cm crater under the lounge, the actual damage to the carpet is minimal. Quite a bit of evidence of nibbling, but it looks like we have interrupted their mass menu in the midst of entrée.
So tomorrow the pest exterminator is coming. This has necessitated moving all our stuff that is on carpet (and believe me, turns out this is a lot of stuff) and pile it onto a small island of tiles in our kitchen area.
If you think you have a clean tidy house. If you think you don’t really have all that much stuff, there is nothing like moving it to prove you are mistaken. The process of shifting all the stuff off our floors and getting it to fit into our kitchen space played out like some slow, back straining game of Tetris.
Forget the quiet munching sneakiness of the tiny tapestry moth….it is the covert, insidious build up of all our crap and junk and detritus that is the real eye opener. The hugeness of unused and forgotten stuff that lives out its own life cycle hidden away in plain sight. Or at least just out of it.
On the bright side, this may turn out to be a good opportunity for an early purge and spring clean.
Capet Moth photo credit: [mothprevention.com]