Infestation

We had some basement drywall and carpet ruined  from a leak from an egress window when our downspouts were plugged  this  summer. The dry wall guy finished up the repairs last week.

We removed the water damaged carpet in the basement bedroom. As we put the furniture back in the bedroom, I thought that I would put on the bare cement a wool area rug that we had stored in the furnace room. It was a nice thick one we got from Pottery Barn 15 years ago, in pinks and greens, our daughter’s favorite colors at the time. We used it in her bedroom.

The furnace room is warm and dry. We keep the door to it closed. As I reached for the carpet, which was rolled up and standing in a corner,  I noticed something that looked like grains of rice protruding from the back of the carpet. As I lifted the rolled carpet, I saw many hundreds of grains of rice on the floor underneath where the carpet had been, about an inch or so thick, in a pile of pink and green sawdust. I am thankful none of it was moving, as it turned out to be carpet moth larvae and the remnants of the carpets they had eaten. Husband took the rug outside and tossed it in the back of his pick up. I hurriedly vacuumed up all the “rice”  and sawdust, and checked everything in the basement for further evidence of the infestation. I am happy to report I found nothing.  You can see some of the larva and the green part of the rug they chewed.

Further research informed me that wool rugs rolled up and kept in the dark are prime targets for carpet moths.  So are parts of wool rugs that are laid out on the floor but underneath tables and other furniture. The moths themselves are quite small,  with maybe 1/4-1/2 inch wing span.  I am thankful that all my sweaters are upstairs in cedar lined drawers. Ish!!

Ever had insect damage? What do you have in your house that you haven’t checked on for a while? 

28 thoughts on “Infestation”

  1. You can imagine my horror yesterday when I was sweeping the kitchen and saw little white rice grains on the floor, until I remembered I had spilled a box of orzo on Saturday.

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  2. a few years ago we got ‘meal moths’ in the house although mostly confined to the basement. Discovered they were coming from bags of birdseed I had forgotten about all summer. We have an extermintor that deals with rodents out in the buildings and they looked around the house and showed me their larval pupae hanging and came up with a $1000 plan to solve it.
    We didn’t use their plan, but with some good cleaning and a little spray of my own, we stopped it.

    Course there’s the usual fall Asian Beetle infestation. But they haven’t been so bad the last few years.

    And only had to deal with head lice once when the kids were in elementary school. Knock on wood.

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    1. Ewww. Head lice. That probably is an great example of this. Did you know people now have businesses in which, for a fee, they will come into your house and de-louse.

      My Grandma told me that in the early 1900’s she got head lice. Her mom shaved her head, then painted it with kerosene to get rid of them.

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        1. I know treatments have changed these days but I remember bagging up all the stuffed animals and creating one ‘clean room’ and washing everything else. And the shampoo and the combs.

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  3. Whoa – I’m really glad for you that they weren’t moving.

    I would call our fruit flies this summer a come-and-go infestation – I can get rid of them for a while, but we’ve talked about this before… We keep a big compost bucket outside the back door, and try to make sure no meat scraps get in there, but once on a while I’ll open it and see that we have failed. There is nothing worse, to me, than maggots – shudder!

    Luckily, I can’t remember any huge insect damage at the moment. But you remind me that we should shop vac the basement soon, as the spiders and everybody else come in from the cold.

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  4. We didn’t allow dogs on furniture. Then we weakened and began letting our dogs (a springer and a Lab) on our bed early in the morning. It was a way of mollifying them when they wanted us to get up and start the day. Then we learned that they had acquired fleas, which became our fleas. The only cure involved sealing windows and doors, then abandoning the apartment for hours after setting off a “flea bomb” in a middle location. What a mess! We went back to a strict no-dogs-on-furniture regimen.

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    1. Daughter had fleas in her apartment last year. She picked them up from a client’s home. They even infested her car. She and her cat had to vacate the apartment for a while after using a flea bomb.

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    2. In my experience, if your dog has flees, you, too, will have flea bites whether or not the dog is allowed on the furniture. Insidious little buggers.

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  5. I remember army worms moving through town and country back home , eating everything green. They covered the sidewalks. They caused a lot of damage for farmers.

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    1. I remember that very well–and we only lived about 60 miles from you, so I think this is the same infestation sometime in the late ’60s. We had army worms everywhere. They got in the garage, climbed the walls, then moved onto the ceiling. We went barefoot all summer. Not that summer after the army worms moved in. They ate everything in sight, so they became engorged. If you stepped on them, they exploded, and barefoot it was too much sensory experience. ugh.

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  6. Ah, just remembered. When co-worker Rose, her brother (now Husband), and I moved into an Uptown area apartment, the owner had just put in a nice used gas stove. Not long after that we started to notice the occasional bug around the stove area, didn’t really think much of it till one day we saw several and realized they were COCKROACHES. They seemed to be coming from the stove; when “we” pulled it out and removed the side panel – the insulation there was teeming with them, this swarm of little cockroaches… ugghhhh, I can still see them. Landlord was immediately notified and, to his credit, had a replacement stove pretty darned quick.

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    1. Down in Charleston they call them something fancy. They’re cockroaches, they just call them ‘palmetto bugs’. Supposed to make you feel better about them I think. It doesn’t help.

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    2. I have lived two places that were infested with cockroaches. The first was my “family’s” apartment in the American embassy in Moscow. The other was our student apartment in a subdivided old house in Carbondale.

      Mrs. Bridges, the American woman I worked for in Moscow, didn’t understand or share my disgust with cockroaches. “They are clean little bug,” she declared, and once when she saw the corpse of a white cockroach I had slain, lamented “it’s an albino, do you know how rare they are?” As far as I was concerned, they were an abomination and needed to be eradicated.

      Roaches, in my experience, stay out of sight during the day, but become very active when the lights are out at night. When I’d return to the apartment after a night out on town, I’d rush to the kitchen and flip on the lights. Armed with a Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandal, I’d whack away at the small critters scurrying to hide killing as many as I could in the process. Mr. Bridges would come stumbling to the kitchen in his pajamas wondering what all the ruckus was all about. They must have thought I was nuts, but they treated me kindly because I was good to their kids. The Bridges family and I all moved out before the roaches did.

      I know you’re gonna think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. The roaches in our apartment in Carbondale were so noisy that you could hear them marching behind the wood paneling in the kitchen. We later learned that the four male Thai students who lived in the apartment right above us, had Coke bottles, half filled with sugar water, sitting on the floor in every corner of their apartment, a sort of cockroach trap, if you will. When the Thai students moved out, our roaches temporarily disappeared. Turns out the moved upstairs.

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  7. From the amount of cobwebs, especially in the basement, but also the occasional one here and there throughout the house, I take it that we have a fair amount of spiders living under our roof. I figure there must be other bugs for them to eat, or they wouldn’t be here, so I tend to not go after them too vigorously.

    During peak tomato season, we see fruit flies in the kitchen. Even a small wound or crack in the skin of the tomato is enough to guarantee fruit flies if you don’t use the tomato immediately.

    A few years ago, I discovered that my favorite, long wool coat, that had been hanging in our dilapidated back porch, had been utterly destroyed by moths.

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  8. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I think all of the infestations people are discussing I have experienced–mealy worms, moths, little white worms, and mice. When a squirrel invaded our fireplace and had an unseemly death therein, maggots appeared. When I did child protection jobs, there were some homes I entered which had vermin of various types, including children with unresolved and recurring episodes of head lice. After those home visits, I would go home and remove my clothing in the entrance, put them in the laundry, then hit the shower.

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  9. This time of year my office building is full of fat house flies. I am going up to my play therapy room right now with a can of spray to get the seven I saw crawling on the window during my first therapy session today.

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  10. I have had problems with my boiler not firing up. The heating guy that came out to look at it said the chimney was not drawing as it should, and took apart the duct work. He pulled out a lot of leaves and shredded newspaper and a few parts of birds and a squirrel tail. A regular natural history museum in my chimney. Last year I had the chimney capped, but problems continued. The heating technician determined that the chimney liner had a hole in its side, and there was apparently a squirrel that kept stuffing debris into the chimney alongside the liner, which then fell into the liner and choked off the air flow. The liner was capped, but not the space around the liner. So this fall I had the liner replaced altogether, and the chimney completely blocked around the liner. I hope this will solve the problem. I like squirrels, but would really like them to nest elsewhere.

    I had cockroaches in an apartment where I lived where I was in my late teens and early twenties. Glad to not have those anymore.

    Mice, pantry moths, fruit flies, flour bugs, yeah. Have to keep up those battles.

    When I helped move my aunt Roberta out of her apartment, she had a can of some kind of bedbug killer. I was really careful about what I brought home from her apartment. If it was anything that might harbor bedbugs, it was quarantined in the unattached garage for awhile. Bedbugs…that’s all I need.

    Never had any lice problems. My nieces’ schools had outbreaks, but they seem to escape any serious issues with those.

    Liked by 3 people

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