Depending on your location, one type of carpet beetle may be more common than others. The young beetles look like tiny, hairy worms, and they like to feed in dark, undisturbed places like behind baseboards, under furniture, and in closets. They are often confused with other pests like bed bugs and fleas. |
Carpet beetles are important pests in wool carpets and rugs. In addition to wool, carpet beetles can feed on silk, hair, feathers, and fur. They may also feed on plant materials, including books, grains, spices, and pet foods. They do not eat man-made materials but they have been found in items that have both man-made and natural fibers.
Consider these tips for prevention and control of carpet beetles:
Routine dusting and vacuuming of carpets, furniture, and pantry shelves can reduce the number of breeding sites and food sources. Store attractive items like opened foods, fur coats and leather in sealed, airtight containers. Check flowers and used furniture for the presence of any pest before bringing them into your home. Sunning fabrics can make the larvae leave the fabric in search of a dark place to hide. Dry cleaning will kill carpet beetles on clothing. A hot dryer can also be effective. If carpet beetles keep coming back after treatment, consider looking in air ducts for dusty debris and in the attic for animal nests or carcasses. Housekeeping is important. Regular, thorough removal of lint eliminates insect breeding places. Pay particular attention to rugs, carpets (especially next to walls), upholstered furniture, closets, shelves, radiators (and the space under and behind them), registers and ducts, baseboards, moldings, corners, and floor cracks.
Dry clean or launder clothing before storing as carpet beetles are more apt to infest soiled material. Store clothing in tight boxes or chests. It is generally not advisable to use plastic bags. Although they may not harm clothing during short-term storage (several months) long-term storage could result in damage to clothing due to moisture problems or potential reactions between the plastic and the fabric.
If the infestation is localized, remove infested material possible. Carpet beetle larvae and eggs can be killed by placing infested items in freezing temperatures for 48 hours. Clothing can also be dry cleaned or ironed. Then apply a suitable insecticide to the storage area surfaces.
If the trouble is spread throughout the building, clean thoroughly and apply an appropriate insecticide. Various insecticides are available to the public as ready to use aerosol sprays, including 0.5% chlorpyrifos, 0.2–0.5% permethrin, 1.0% propoxur, 0.1–0.25% allethrin by many manufacturers
Those wishing to use a professional service can contact a pest control operator as they have a wider range of products to choose from.
Apply the spray to baseboards, closet corners, and carpet edges. If the infestation is heavy, loosen and turn back the carpet edges and spray both sides. Since some chemicals can stain certain carpets, always test chemicals on a small inconspicuous part of the carpet before extensive spraying. If upholstered furniture is infested, have it fumigated by a professional or, in winter, put the furniture outside in temperatures of zero or below for at least 48 hours.
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