- What Are Carpet Beetles
- How To Tell If You Have Carpet Beetles
- How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles
- How Do I Prevent Future Infestations
- Other Articles of Interest
What Are Carpet Beetles
The most common species of carpet beetles found in the United States consist of the varied carpet beetle, black carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, and common carpet beetle.
Carpet beetles, as their name implies, occasionally infest carpets/rugs. Carpet beetles, typically confused with bed bugs, are tiny insects that can create considerable damages if left without treatment. Drawn by natural fibers, carpet beetles can damage carpets, furniture, as well as garments.
Appearance and Features
The black carpet beetle, which feeds upon both fabric and stored products such as grains, is dark brownish or black, oval-shaped beetle with brownish legs and antennae. The beetle’s larvae often develop to 1/2 inches in size and also are covered in golden-brown hair.
The varied carpet beetle consumes dead insects and a vast selection of fabric and various other fibrous products. Adult beetles are 2/25 – 3/25 inches long (2mm to 5mm).
The bodies of adult carpet beetles are commonly irregularly patterned with white, brownish, and yellow scales. Varied carpet beetle larvae can grow up to 1/5 inches long and are covered in bristly hairs.
The common carpet beetles consume materials made from animal byproducts. Adult carpet beetles are 1/10 – 3/20 inches long. Their elytra (wing covers) and back are covered in black and white patterned scales. They also have distinctive brilliant red and orange ranges running down the midline of the thorax. The larvae can reach up to 1/5 inches long, reddish-brown, and covered in fine bristled hairs.
Carpet beetles undertake complete metamorphosis with four distinctive phases: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. These carpet beetles lay about 40 – 90 eggs, with the black carpet beetle laying the most at 90. Their eggs hatch after 6 – 16 days, and the larvae live for 70 – 630 days.
They then pupate within their last larval skin if they cannot find shelter readily available, which lasts for 8 – 17 days. As an adult carpet beetle, they can live for another 2 – 8 weeks. In total, these carpet beetles could be inside of your home for three months to almost two years!
How To Tell If You Have Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetle infestations tend to go undetected for long periods, enabling them to cause serious damage to bed linens, garments, carpetings, as well as upholstered furnishings.
Signs of Infestation
Although carpet beetles cause the most damage during the larval phase, the initial and most noticeable sign of an invasion are adult carpet beetles seen flying and creeping on other surface areas. They usually fly to bright lights, such as light bulbs at night and windows and window sills when the sun is up.
Comparable to clothes moths, larvae can be found by rough openings located in carpets, various textiles, and so on. However, carpet beetles have a tendency to chew through a single, large patch of fabric, whereas clothes moths produce tiny holes throughout garments.
Anything made with animal-based products such as silk, hair, wool, leather, furs, feathers, etc., may very likely be eaten by the beetle’s larvae. An indication of these fabric pests being present would be seeing large patches of holes in your blankets, pillows, rugs, upholstery, scarfs, sweaters, taxidermy mounts, and of course, carpets.
Locating the Habitat
To tell if you have carpet beetles, it helps to understand where to locate the problem’s source. Infested products are typically filled with holes and also large quantities of damages.
It also helps to recognize where the female carpet beetles lay their eggs indoors and outdoors, considering that their eggs are also where their feeding grounds are situated.
Outdoors, female beetles look for spider webs, beehives, wasp nests, or bird nests as locations to lay their eggs. These nests and webs include dead insects and spiders, beeswax, plant pollen, feathers, or various other debris that can offer as larval food.
Inside your home, females lay their eggs on or near wool carpetings and rugs, woolen items, leather book bindings, stuffed animals, animal skins, furs, feathers, dried-out plant products, hair, silk, and other products that can serve as larval food.
Furthermore, carpet beetle larvae leave cast skins while molting, creating allergies and dermatitis in some highly sensitive people.
Despite the fact that carpet beetles don’t bite, when you’re allergic to them, coming into contact with carpet beetles might produce a rash or bite-like marks on your skin.
Other symptoms may include red, itchy, and watery eyes. Allergic response to larvae is typically much more agonizing and less itchy than being bitten by various other insects.
Notify your doctor or physician if you believe you may be having serious allergic reactions.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles
To eliminate carpet beetles, you need to find all the infested items. The main source should be rarely used woolen articles of clothing on a rack in a wardrobe, an antique rug kept in the basement or the remains of an animal nest hidden in the attic.
Carpet beetles like to dwell in dark, quiet places where vulnerable things are stored for long periods of time.
When examining clothes, pay close attention to seams and creases, such as cuffs/collars where larvae frequently choose to feed. Larvae also tend to infest the edges of rugs as well as carpets.
Use pliers to raise the outside edge of wall-to-wall carpeting from the tack strip along with the walls.
Various other places include inside or under upholstered furniture or inside floor ducts and vents with pet hair and lint build-ups. Plant-based products (cereal, grain, birdseed, pet food, etc.) kept in kitchen areas as well as basements or stored by rats are other possible sources.
Eliminate the Source
As soon as the infestation is found, wrapping up heavily infested items before disposing of them can prevent future re-infestation. For infested items that are washable and can easily fit in a washing machine, they should be laundered in hot water, which suffices to eliminate all carpet beetles, eggs, and larvae.
If you have sensitive or vulnerable items, such as silk, the only way to get those cleaned up of infestation is to bring them to your local dry cleaners.
Included here are some of the most essential methods in managing these fabric pests when it pertains to items such as blankets, apparel, and various other washable materials.
Carpet Beetle Traps
Insect traps can be beneficial in capturing flying and crawling insects, which help to identify them. Sticky traps are one of the most effective ways of pest control. Sticky pheromone traps can be used when the insect species are identified. Pheromone is a scent that organisms produce in order to attract others of the same species to them.
Sticky traps without pheromones are readily available in local retail stores; set these traps on windowsills to catch the adult carpet beetles that fly to windows.
Sticky traps baited with a pheromone can be bought from local pest control operators, insecticide suppliers, and online retailers. They are commonly used on numerous carpet beetle types and are known to be quite effective. It is advised to inspect traps once or twice a week.
Cleaning out the house of dead insects and other debris by vacuuming aids in removing food sources of larvae and will possibly also kill any carpet beetles currently burrowed in the carpets. Vacuuming floors, carpets, and inside home heating vents successfully get rid of larvae in addition to dust, lint, and hair, which can promote future infestations.
Make sure to vacuum along and below the edges of carpets, along with baseboards, beneath furnishings and stored products, as well as inside wardrobes and dark, undisturbed areas where carpet beetles like to feed. After vacuuming infested locations, throw away the bag immediately because it can include adult carpet beetles, larvae, and eggs.
One alternative is to freeze or heat the items to a temperature deadly to the carpet beetles living within. Insects are incapable of enduring abrupt, unexpected extremes of heat and cold.
Carpet beetles, being cold-blooded, have narrow temperature level varieties in which they can survive. Heating and chilling disinfestation techniques have been used by the food processing industry, furriers, and museums for years.
Carpet Steam Cleaner
In addition to just using a regular vacuum cleaner, it is more effective to use a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners typically have a steam tip temperature of 245°F. The temperature of the hot steam is more than enough to kill all stages and phases of a carpet beetle.
If you do not want to buy one, although they are a good investment in the long run, you can rent one at local home improvement retailers or carpet/rug equipment retailers.
The heat treatment approach is specifically beneficial for quick disinfestation of small objects ravaged with carpet beetles. Additionally, it can be used to eliminate grain beetles and various other pantry-seeking pests in loosened or packaged foods.
Ovens would be the best option for most people since most homes come with a conventional oven.
Heating is not advised for glued items or fabrics. Lethal temperature levels can easily be achieved using a conventional household oven. However, heated items ought to be carefully monitored.
When using the oven to heat up the item, it is recommended to have a pan or pot of water on the bottom rack while placing the infested item in the center rack. Set the oven temperature to 160°F. To prevent the oven from getting too hot, opening the oven door every once in a while is advised. 45 – 60 minutes of heating is adequate enough for most infested items. Turn off the oven and let the items rest inside the heated oven for a couple more minutes before inspecting it.
Cold therapy is another excellent technique that calls for the usage of a freezer cool enough to keep the infested items at -4°F. The majority of home freezers can achieve such temperature levels without issue. Items that are too large to fit in a home freezer can be placed in a commercial or chest freezer.
Before placing the infested item into the freezer, makes sure to wrap it in a cloth bed sheet and bag it with plastic bags. Force the air out of the bag before taping the seams. After that, you can place the bagged item preferably at the back of a household freezer and the bottom of a chest freezer at -4 ° F for one whole week.
Make sure to allow the item to progressively heat up to room temperature level before removing the item from the bag. This step makes sure that any condensation developing will undoubtedly happen on the outside of the plastic bag instead of forming on the inside.
The chilling procedure is efficient in killing all pest life phases, including eggs. Infested fabrics, woolens, rugs, pet food, and animal specimens can also be treated with this method.
However, it is critical to be extra careful when handling crafts and various other fragile items promptly after freezing and prior to the items returning to room temperature to avoid any damages.
Cleaning is always the most effective approach; however, if you have an area or article infested that you cannot dry clean or launder, it will need to be treated with pesticide sprays or dust. Locate an item that mentions carpeting beetles on its product label, and carefully follow the instructions.
Pesticide Spray with IGR
Utilizing a pesticide may not suffice since they don’t always kill the eggs. For this reason, you should include something called an IGR. IGR is abbreviated for Insect Growth Regulatory. It’s a chemical product that will certainly ensure that any treated eggs do not hatch. Without the IGR, there’s no guarantee that those eggs will not create more infestation in the future.
Take precaution when spraying these pesticide products indoors, as they are usually intended for not frequently visited areas such as garages, attic, sheds, and storage units.
Non-Toxic Pesticide Dust
Prior to making insecticide treatments for carpet beetles, the surrounding area of the infestation should be thoroughly cleaned. Cracks and crevices can be treated with pesticide dust such as diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel. The dust may additionally be applied beside carpets near the baseboards in infested spaces.
Diatomaceous earth dust is a lot less toxic to people than various other pesticides, making it a far better option over other chemical pesticide sprays. It is recommended that the dust be applied every six months in the areas most prone to carpet beetle infestation or areas previously infested.
How Do I Prevent Future Infestations
Carpet beetles are among the most challenging indoor pests to manage because they can locate food in unknown locations and spread extensively throughout a building. Successful control relies on a mix of sanitation and exclusion. If sanitation and exclusion achieve are a success, pesticide treatments are not needed.
Maintain Clean Environment
Tidying up the particles that draw in carpet beetles is the best way to stop them. Frequently dust, sweep, and, vacuum especially in spaces where carpet beetle invasions are likely, such as the attic.
Carpet beetle infestations last much longer when larvae have a constant source of food. Generally, this regular source will most likely be an old, torn, or filthy rug or various other pieces of cloth.
Go through your storage space searching for old products that might cultivate carpet beetle growth. Extensively clean and wash all the fabrics you store in your home on a routine basis.
Protect Your Pantry
Carpet beetle larvae are also known as pantry pests. They feast upon several products that are found in your pantry, like spices and grains. Adults additionally become an issue as they find their way into the food to lay their eggs.
So the best way to prevent unwanted beetles from entering the pantry is to ensure that all the food is stored in air-tight containers. This is especially important if you have pets at home, as pet food is another area carpet beetles lay their eggs. Ensure to constantly check on your pantry that no pests are lingering around in you and your pet’s food.
Seal Your Wardrobe
Cleansing eliminates any eggs or larvae that may exist and gets rid of perspiration odors that tend to bring in pests. Clothes to be stored should be crammed in tight-fitting containers or plastic bags. Those planning to use crystals, flakes, or moth balls must meticulously read and adhere to label instructions.
The insecticide-related products consist of naphthalene, a.k.a. moth balls, or paradichlorobenzene, which can be unsafe if misused. Never spread them in open wardrobes or other areas where kids or pets can reach.
The vapors are only effective in deterring fabric pests if kept at adequate concentrations. Effective concentrations can best be attained by sealing vulnerable items in large plastic bags within tight-fitting boxes, totes, or trunks.