Do you know what are carpet beetles and what damage they can do? I didn’t!
Recently, my friend asked me to help him, because he noticed some bugs in his wardrobe.
I asked him what kind of bugs, because there are at least several species which we can find in our homes.
He answered that, according to information he could find, it is something unknown in our country.
That’s how it started! Then I went into research and now I know about carpet beetles more than I ever wanted to know.
But, also, now I have some useful information and tips for “How to get Rid Carpet Beetles” that I going to share with you. Enjoy!
Some facts about Household Pests
We need to know that their presence in our homes is completely normal.
In a typical household live about a hundred species of insects. Many of them are pests.
According to some studies, their presence should not be too much to worry about, because most of them are not dangerous. Some are useful.
On the other hand, we can not do much to prevent their coexistence with humans.
Insects, and hence pests, lived in human settlements even before 20,000 years ago, and still live, no matter how our homes are clean.
Exploring for the purpose of this article, I found out that in our homes there is a whole wondrous world of bugs.
I wrote this passage only for one reason: many people have a terrible fear when they find insects that have settled in the home. The only goal of this passage is to get rid of fear.
After these, I hope useful information about the phenomenon, let’s see how to get rid of carpet beetles.
Know your enemy – What are Carpet Beetles
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There are three different kinds of carpet beetles and I will give you a brief description of each one, but as pests they do not differ much.
In the text below you will see their common characteristics.
- Varied Carpet Beetle
Binomial name is Anthrenus verbasci. It is one of the more common species of carpet beetles, so to say – cosmopolitan species. Originates from Europe but is worldwide known. However, it seems to be the most widespread in US.
Adult beetle is long around 1/10-1/8 inch (6.4mm). In immature stage, as a larva, it is about the same length.
- Black Carpet Beetle
Binomial name is Attagenus unicolor. The adult black carpet beetle is long 2.8 to 5mm.
The larva is much different from other larvae of carpet beetles in general. It may reach 12.7mm (as you can see in the picture).
I found in some sources that this kind of beetles is particularly widespread in Pennsylvania.
- Furniture Carpet Beetle
Binomial name is Anthrenus flavipes and has a special appetite for upholstered furniture. Adults of the furniture carpet beetle are long around 2 to 3.5mm.
Color patterns of adults may vary but in general you can distinguish them from other similar species by body scales.
Of course, these scales are not visible so if you are in doubt, you should use hand lens.
The Common Characteristics of all Carpet Beetles
In a natural environment, they feed on plant fibers.
But they also feed on dead animals and animal products: wool, silk, cotton, hair brushes, pet hair, feathers, blankets, pet food etc.
They love sunlight and during the summer they live in the gardens and orchards, so it’s almost inevitable not to have them in-house.
So, if you have a garden, you can easily bring them inside on cut flowers.
Given that these insects like to live outdoor, in warmer climates we bring them inside on clothes and almost anything brought from outside.
They also fly, so they enter through open windows and doors.
You can find them in carpets, upholstery furniture, wardrobes, stored grains.
Adults lay eggs where larvae will have food and we already said what and where is their food.
When eggs are ready to pupate, larvae penetrate deeper into the material in order to feed. So, the most damage actually do larvae.
And here is how it looks:
How to recognize Infestation?
Early identification of the infestation is very important.The infestation may occur in various ways.
The first sign of infestation is when we find and notice a beetle (that’s what happened to my friend). Until that moment, the larvae have already made a great deal of damage.
You probably will start with thoroughly investigation and you will notice the following:
- Bugs around the windows and along the base of an interior walls.
- Holes on carpets, rugs, woolen clothing items and blankets.
- Fecal spots and shed skins of the bugs.
Signs of infestation
When you identified the problem:
What is next to do – 10 Step Get Rid Beetles (Step by Step)
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- Find the Source
More beetles in one place, fecal pellets, skin remnants – all these are signs that the location is the primary source of infestation.
- They need fabric! Look for them in carpets, on upholstered furniture, in cabinets for clothes.
- Also, other things are attractive for their feeding: pet food, flowers, paint brushes, food cabinets.
- If you notice that your pet’s hair is damaged, look for them there!
- They like dark locations, so look in those places.
- Larvae especially tend to live (and feed) in protected places, so you will need a flashlight and spatula.
- Vacuum the Carpet
First and most thoroughly the primary source of infestation!
- Vacuum the entire home to be sure that the most of beetles are removed.
- Also vacuum upholstered furniture and all clothing items and everything else that can not be washed.
- For a week or more, do that every day, at least once a day. It depends on how heavy infestation is.
- Steam Vacuum Cleaning
As with usually vacuuming, focus on the most affected areas.
- Firstly, one thorough treatment.
- After that, you can continue to clean daily for 3-5 days.
The temperature of the steam will eliminate both the beetles and larvae.
- Throw away Heavily Infested Garments
If certain clothing items already have been damaged and eaten, it is the best to throw them away.
- These garments are infested even if you don’t see beetles. There is a high probability that eggs are in them.
- Wash Everything You can Wash
Carpet beetles are extremely resistant.
- The clothes, towels, linens and all washable fabrics.
- Use detergent and hot water.
- Things should be in hot water at least 90 minutes.
- Use Effective Natural Cleaning Agents
- Cedar oil
- Neem oil
- Cider vinegar
- Boric acid (don’t use boric acid on dark materials because it does have a bleaching effect)
- Eucalyptus oil
- Homemade mint spray
All clothes and other fabrics that cannot be washed, can be frozen. Beetles and larvae cannot survive extremely low temperatures.
- Your clothes put in plastic bags and put in the freezer for 48 hours.
These products contain active ingredients. They may be sprayed on carpets, furniture, and similar areas, but you have to be cautious:
- Don’t use them at places where you or anybody else could have prolonged contact with the insecticide.
- Don’t spray on clothing and beds and remove all of that, before spraying.
- Use a precisely labeled spray and observe dosage instructions.
- You need to carry out the Outdoor Treatment
Many adult carpet beetles stay outdoors and they can come inside from any location connected to the outside. They have a free ticket to enter in your home: air ducts, doors without treshold, attics, cracks in baseboards.
- Pollinate flowers.
- Clean and wash outdoor trash bins.
- Spray a liquid insecticide at every area you assess as potentially risky.
- Treat windows and door frames.
- The cracks can be sealed with suitable glue and adhesive tapes.
- Remove nests of birds and bees around the house.
- Finaly, you can do the same what my friend did
You can call the disinsection service!
Something what could be the first and at the same time the last advice
PREVENTION AND PROTECTION
- Before storing for a long time, all fabrics should be washed and cleaned.
- Store all mentioned items in airtight containers, the best with mothballs.
- Conduct frequent vacuuming.
- Use prevention spray.
- If you estimate as necessary, occasionally engage the services of a professional pest control operator.
So, one phone call from my friend with the question: “Can you help me?
I found some unusual bug in my wardrobe”, turned into detailed and extensive research on the topic from the title of this article.
As I said before, now I know about carpet beetles more than I ever wanted, but I’m not sorry for at least two reasons:
- When I pick up these bugs, somewhere and sometime, I will know what to do.
- I got a chance to help other people who have the same problem.
Believe it or not, there are still few things I did not mention. Maybe in a sequel.
Of course, if you liked this article and, first of all, if it was helpful to you. So, I ask you to share your impressions about this instruction.