To properly store items that are susceptible to carpet beetles, first make sure they are pest-free and clean. Protect fabrics by keeping them clean: food and perspiration stains on fabrics attract carpet beetles. |
Regular and thorough cleaning of rugs, draperies, upholstered furniture, closets, and other locations where carpet beetles congregate is an important preventive and control technique. Frequent, thorough vacuuming is an effective way of removing food sources as well as carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and adults. After vacuuming infested areas, dispose of the bag promptly because it may contain eggs, larvae, or adult insects.
Eliminate the Source
Eliminate accumulations of lint, hair, dead insects, and other debris that serve as food for carpet beetles. Throw out badly infested items. Remove bird, rodent, bee and wasp nests, and old spider webs, which may harbor infestations. Examine cut flowers for adult beetles.
Dry cleaning or thoroughly laundering items in hot water kills all stages of these insects. This is the most common method used to control fabric pests in clothing, blankets, and other washable articles.
Mounted animal specimens, such as museum specimens or game trophies, should be regularly cleaned or periodically placed in a freezer for 10 to 14 days. Inspect stored woolens, linens, and furs; air, brush, and hang them in the light on a yearly basis. If infestations are found, launder or dry clean these items to destroy carpet beetle adults, larvae, and eggs before returning them to storage. Be sure cleaned items are sealed in a protective plastic bag or other suitable container.
Some furniture, mattresses, and pillows are stuffed with hair or feathers. When carpet beetles or clothes moths get into the stuffing, they cannot be controlled simply by spraying the outside surface of the item. The best way to eliminate them is to have the infested item treated with lethal gas in a fumigation vault. This service is provided by some pest control and storage firms. Because of the potential hazards to the applicator of the fumigant, only licensed pest control operators can buy and use them. Proper fumigation gives quick, satisfactory control, and kills all stages of fabric pests. It does not prevent reinfestation, however.
Protecting Items in Storage
Generally, closets are not airtight and are opened too frequently to hold in vapors. However, seldom-used closets can be made into a suitable storage space by sealing cracks around the door with tape or fitting the door with weatherstripping. Seal cracks in walls and ceilings with putty or plastic wood. A trunk, chest, box, or garment bag makes a good storage container. Seal any holes or cracks. If the lid does not fit tightly, seal it with tape or wrap the entire container in heavy paper and seal it with tape.
Place items in an airtight container, using paper to make a layer every few inches. On the layers you can place insecticide-impregnated resin strips that are labeled for control of carpet beetles on fabrics, or you can use moth balls, flakes, or crystals, which contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene . Do not place these materials in direct contact with plastic buttons, hangers, or garment bags as the plastic may soften and melt into the fabric. Also, be sure to keep these materials out of reach of children and pets; do not use them where unwrapped food is stored or allow them to come into contact with food or cooking utensils.
Resin strips, which contain dichlorvos as the active ingredient, are generally more effective in protecting susceptible objects in enclosed containers and provide longer control than naphthalene or PDB. As these chemicals evaporate they produce vapors which, in sufficient concentration, will slowly kill insects. The vapors build up to the required concentration only in an airtight container—if not in an airtight container, the chemicals only repel adults; larvae already on clothes continue to feed. Because some of the resin strips contain oil, be careful to keep them from coming in contact with the stored item.
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