Carpet beetles, as they are so commonly called, are tiny little beetles that sometimes find their way into your carpets and make a home. They are quite similar to cloth moths and tend to feed on a variety of materials such as cotton, wool, fur, felt, silk, leather, and even skin.
Most of these materials contain a substance known as keratin. Keratin is an animal protein that is digested by the larvae of the carpet beetle.
Most types of synthetic fibers and cotton such as rayon and polyester are under no threat, especially until they are blended with wool. In some cases, these materials might be under attack if they have been heavily stained with food or body oils.
In most cases, the carpet beetle infestation usually grows undetected, and starts causing harm to vulnerable items throughout the house.
Keep in mind that even though the name is carpet beetle, these beetles can travel to almost any place in the house where they detect a presence on such fibers. Many people confuse the damage caused by the carpet beetle as being carried out by the clothes moth.
These are oval-shaped beetles that range in colors. They are usually black, but you will also find several that have a pattern on their back. The colors may vary, ranging from orange to white, brown, and yellow.
Once the beetles grow into adults, they don’t damage the woolen fibers or other fabrics in the house. Instead, they prefer flower pollen. You might see them on the windowsills in the spring season. If that happens, you should know that there is a serious infestation present in your house.
These female beetles tend to lay about 50 to 100 eggs at once on materials that are vulnerable, allowing the larvae to feed quickly. Most of the breeding sites are pretty easy to identify, you should know that some are more subtle.
An accumulation of pet hair near the ducts or baseboards might turn out to be their next home!
Within a few weeks, the tiny eggs are going to hatch into larvae, which will begin to consume the fabric. These beetles are generally small and usually have a brownish shade. More importantly, they are covered with bristles all over their body.
Managing the infestation is important, because it won’t take long before the carpet beetles will begin to cause excessive damage to your carpets and other fibers.
Where Do They Come From?
First of all, let’s talk about their origin. As mentioned above, the adult carpet beetle likes to eat flower pollen. As a result of that, these beetles usually come in through open windows or vents.
They are usually blown into the house, where they find a whole different world. They are incredibly attracted to leftover food, breadcrumbs, and dirty clothing. If you haven’t cleaned out your laundry hamper in a long while, now might be the best time to get started.
The adult beetles feed on nectar and pollen outdoors. However, they don’t really prefer laying eggs in these areas. They need areas that are abundant in food supply. House plants and flowers can also bring them inside your house.
Because these beetles are so small, you will find it incredibly difficult to identify them in the first place.
Once they find their way into your house, they are quickly to rush off and hide. These insects want to lay eggs in vulnerable materials, so they are first going to start seeking locations where they can lay eggs and live without being affected or disturbed.
Certain types of beetles also make their nests in the chimneys, as that’s where they can get an adequate supply, thanks to nesting birds and their feather droppings. However, their ultimate preference is indoors.
The larvae doesn’t just feed on the synthetic fibers, they can also eat droppings of food and skin that’s been shed from a person. Pet hair also serves as an excellent snack for them.
Getting Rid of the Beetles
Now that you know exactly what causes the carpet beetles, it’s time to talk about what you can do to prevent the infestation. The first step is to determine the extent of the infestation in your house.
Carpet beetles usually appear on the edges of the carpets, so that’s the first place you need to look. It’s recommended that you start by checking the edges of different carpets in your house.
Then, you should consider looking at the windowsills. If it’s spring season, you might notice these tiny beetles resting on the edges of the windowsills.
Keep in mind that they like to keep as far away from the human eye as possible. If you have a box of clothes where you keep all your woolen items, you might want to check there as well.
Once you identify the infestation, it’s time to get to work.
Calling a Pest Infestation Specialist
The next step is to get in touch with a professional pest infestation specialist. There are several pest removal experts that you can get in touch with and set up an appointment. A complete fumigation of the house might be just what you need to get rid of the problem.
The pest removal specialist is going to check the property using a series of specialized tools to determine the extent of the infestation and use their own solutions to get rid of the problem.
However, apart from calling the pest removal specialist, there are some important things that you can do to prevent the infestation from ever growing.
For instance, you should vacuum every part of your house as frequently as possible, especially the carpets. Turn them over within a month or two and check underneath as well. Clean thoroughly using an insecticidal cleaner.
There are several indoor insecticides that you will find in the market, so you can use those as well to get rid of the infestation and keep it in check.
There are a number of home remedies that you can use to treat the infestation as well. The first sign of a serious infestation is the appearance of thin, bare areas that usually appear on woollen rugs and other surfaces.
This is most common on synthetic fibers, and you are going to notice this problem consistently from time to time. If that is the case, you are probably looking at an infestation. Probably the most obvious sign of an infestation is damage to your woollen blankets or jackets.
If you notice the wool falling off or damaged surfaces appearing on these fibers, you are looking at an infestation. You have to look closely, because you might even find the tiny larval skins on the floor as well.
These are going to be very difficult to spot in the beginning, so you need a sharp light to look closely. The larval skins are generally quite light in color and you might see them on the underside of the rugs.
Take a look around the edges of the room and at the edge of the floor. You might even see these tiny insects walking in a line or climbing the walls from time to time. They tend to move around most frequently in the dark, so it’s best to look at night to identify the infestation.
There are a bunch of remedies that you can use to treat the problem. However, keep in mind that if the infestation grows to a significant extent, you might not be able to do anything at all. Your only solution will be to get rid of the synthetic fiber or the affected carpet.
That is one of the main reasons why you should follow preemptive remedies that might treat them. Steam cleaning is one of the best ways to treat the problem. Once you vacuum a particular area, you need to then apply a steam cleaner on it.
Steam cleaning is highly recommended because the moisture and the heat can kill the eggs and the beetles as well. Once you do that, you can then start off by laundering the pillows and the clothes.
The use of hot water and detergent is also very important and should be done regularly to wash the towels, clothes, and linens in the house. If you want to get rid of a particular piece of linen or cloth, you should always seal it in a plastic bag and then close it up.
There are several indoor insecticides that you can find in the market. Some of these are quite safe to use around pets as well, and you need to spray the carpets and the synthetic fibers in your house from time to time.
These are all preemptive measures that will save you quite a bit of time and prevent an infestation.
The use of boric acid is also a great choice and it can kill the remaining beetles in your house. These are just some simple ways to get rid of carpet beetles and prevent the infestation.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies…I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.