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RUUD KLEINPASTE: Small Cocoons In Woollen Carpets

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 Nov 2023, 11:39AM

RUUD KLEINPASTE: Small Cocoons In Woollen Carpets

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 25 Nov 2023, 11:39AM

It’s that time of year again; The number of complaints I get goes up every year: 

Small cocoons in woollen carpets 

Similar cocoons in cashmere woollen clothes, in woollen socks etc etc 

Increasing discoveries of holes in woollen clothes, socks and woollen garments. 

Tiny golden moths flying around the house – they are actually quite pretty! 5-7 mm long 

I have mentioned this before on the program and have fielded quite a few calls on talk-back as well. 

The moths we are talking about is known as the Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella) 

It’s a great recycler of “dead keratin” (wool, in other words): the small caterpillars use that wool to create their cocoons as well. 

Trouble is, they often show their damage when it’s far too late to do anything about it 

I decided to have a look (via iNaturalist) at this moth’s distribution in the world and in New Zealand in particular New Zealand: 

The beasty is common in Europe and America etc, even in parts of Australia, but here is largely confined to Lincoln and Christchurch, according to the iNaturalist data 

The odd record from Wellington and Nelson may be erroneous observations. 

It shows you how insects travel the world – they may have arrived reasonably recently. 

They are hard to control; it takes a bit of effort to keep them in check: 

In a past life I worked on Aircraft spraying techniques (Biosecurity) to avoid mosquitoes and other pests travelling to New Zealand via aircraft cabins and cargo holds. 

A residual insecticide was created to spray planes every 8 weeks literally reduce the chance for insects to hitch a ride into Aotearoa (and Australia, the Pacific Islands etc etc) 

The science was developed in New Zealand in collaboration with World Health Organisation (malaria prevention, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis – you name it) 

I have been experimenting with the residual aircraft spray to see if I could knock the buggers off in my house and “so far so good”. 

I used the residual spray, made for “Aircraft Disinsection” and aimed the aerosol can at the woollen carpet and the wardrobes, closets and cupboards where our woollen garments are stored. 

Timing is pretty important, seeing the moths start to fly early in November and will have many generations later in summer, autumn and early winter. 

Once you have “whacked” them in spring their numbers will be dramatically reduced – follow up with a second spray 2 months later. 

The aerosol cans are stocked by a company called “Safeworx”; (AKL, WLG and CHC) 

I did some follow-up tests on other household pests with the residual Aircraft Spray as well and found that Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) won’t survive a treatment either 

Anthrenus verbasci Larva

These beetles are - right now – pollinating your flowers in the garden (roses, asters, Queen Anne’s Lace, carrot flowers, Marigolds and probably heaps more 

Of course they’ll feed themselves with pollen and nectar before flying back into your house to lay eggs in your carpet. 



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