Carpet beetle infestation is one thing every homeowner might want to avoid, since this pest may ruin the carpet, clothing, and other fabric-based items. This pest may even infest a museum, where a large number of fabric from the paintings exist as the food source. Despite the name, carpet beetles do not only eat and ruin the carpets and fabrics but also stored foods and smaller insects. Hence, its infestation is a big problem in every household.
Finding out carpet beetles
You might have never imagined that critters can live and feed on your carpet. In fact, black carpet beetles and its larvae are the most harmful among other kinds of household beetles. To find out the infestation, you must consider its behavior, food sources, and lifecycle and consider some things below.
- Carpet beetle larvae can be found in rugs, carpet, padded furniture, curtain, clothing, blankets, fabric slippers, towels, and many other soft materials. Check every fold for maggot-like larvae, since these critters prefer to feed on isolated spots. Adult black beetles can fly and may be found not only in those materials but also around the places where you keep its food sources.
- Look for excrements carpet beetles may leave behind. These pelleted fecal and shed exoskeleton can be a clear sign that the insects are around. Look for these materials around the susceptible areas and spots.
- Do not look for carpet beetles around the fabric items, since this insect also feeds on non-fabric items, such as stored foods and pet foods. Hence, you will need to also check for the food cabinets should you found beetle excrements around the house.
- Carpet beetle loves isolated spots. Hence, look for possible infestations in dark, humid, undisturbed locations, such as the storage rooms and the attics.
Getting rid of carpet beetles
Once you found a small infestation of carpet beetles around the house, do not take it for granted. Instead, perform early treatments which may kill both the adult and larvae. To kill carpet beetles, some methods can be performed.
Good housekeeping is the key to any pest infestation including carpet beetles. Vacuuming the carpet and other potential-to-infestation items can be effective in killing any unnoticed carpet beetle larvae. Hence, it is important to also vacuum the furniture, curtains, and other fabric items which are hard to be washed by machine.
Exposing the carpet and other large fabric items, such as bed covers, bed sheets, and padded furniture to direct sunlight on a hot, sunny day is a good method in killing any existing larvae and prevent it from spreading. Put susceptible items under the sun regularly—once or twice a week is the best. Brushing the items to remove any left debris, food crumbs, and other smaller insects are also advised to cut off food sources for the beetles.
If you find some fabric items or stored foods infested from carpet beetles badly, do not keep those items. Otherwise, dispose of them immediately before the colonies spread all over the house.
Once you found that the larvae have infested some items, wash the items thoroughly. Check for stored garments which are not put inside an airtight container. Put them in the washing machine and use a high temperature to wash those, which is effective in killing the beetles. If you suspected the carpet from this infestation, wash it with detergent, which is also effective in killing the critters.
Chemical ingredients contained in ready-to-use insecticides are effective in poisoning and thus, killing the population of beetles infesting the carpet and other things in the house. Directly spray it onto the targeted areas to kill the insects. Wait for several minutes, making sure some larvae or if you are lucky—the large full-grown beetles are dead. Dispose of the killed insects by brushing them off the carpet. Insecticides do leave a residue after applications. Hence, you can wash the carpet afterward and put it under the direct sun to remove the chemical residue as well as thoroughly kill the infested bugs.
Besides insecticides, mothballs are also useful in getting rid of carpet beetle population. Place some mothballs in suspected areas to kill the larvae. You can also ground the mothballs and sprinkle it on the suspected carpet. However, be sure you vacuum the carpet or wash it with hot water before re-using it since mothball residue can be harmful to children and pets.
The most effective and safe home remedy to get rid small bugs including the larvae of carpet beetles is borax. This contains boric acid which is a drying agent. It will dry up the bug’s organs and thus, eventually kill the population. To kill the existing infestation, sprinkle powdered borax onto the carpet, cupboard shelves, food cabinets, and other items and spots which are suspected. Let it sit for a while and vacuum the residue afterward.
If you suspect carpet beetles around the kitchen, a mixture of garlic and water which is sprayed directly to the pest can help killing it. You can mix garlic, water, and pepper inside a spraying bottle and shake well. Afterward, spray it onto any visible beetles to get rid of the critters. You can also spray the cabinet with the solution and wipe it off before storing any foods.
Carpet beetles may reside inside the house simply because they live just outside the door. Hence, do the housekeeping not only for the indoor but also the outdoor area of the house. Look for any neglected bird nests which can be the shelter for carpet beetles. You will also need to check the vegetation from beetle attack, since these pests may move indoors and make your carpet their food source, especially in the winter.
Preventing future infestation
To prevent any future infestation, make sure you have thoroughly performed beetle management treatment by removing all potential larvae from your household items. Afterward, persistence in cleaning the house and household items is needed. There are various ways to prevent carpet beetles from spreading, such as:
Manage your storage
Carpet beetles develop well in dark, untouched places you do not disturb a lot. Hence, prevention must start in such places. Managing the things you are keeping well can be effective to prevent them from dwelling. To do a well-organized storing, you will need to:
- Put garments and seasonal clothes inside the plastic bags or containers. This container does not keep high humidity so that the beetles are not attracted to it.
- Put in some mothballs into the plastic containers to maintain humidity and keep any bugs, including beetles away.
- Sprinkle powdered borax on the closet or cabinet shelves and wipe it off before storing the clothes and garments.
Small infestation is often unnoticed and it sometimes is too late for us to realize that carpet beetles have infested some parts of the house. Hence, vacuum and put the carpet under the direct sun once a week may be helpful in getting rid unnoticed bugs. As beetle larvae can also be found inside furniture folds, make sure you check the areas as well. Wipe any dirt there, as it may be a potential food source for carpet beetle and thus, increase the risk of infestation.
Seal off the entry ways
In fact, carpet beetles can hide in small cracks and crevices. Hence, seal off those entries using caulk in order to prevent beetles from getting into the house. Pay attention to window gaps, especially when located in lower part of the walls, as the adult beetles which reside on the soil may climb up or fly through it to get in.
Inspect the garden plantation which can be susceptible to beetles
Sometimes, beetles linger on flowers and other plants in the garden and get into the house to feed. Hence, treating beetles which are still on the plantation can help minimizing its population. Make sure you water the plants regularly, check for beetles larvae thoroughly, and getting rid of any seen adult beetles. Sprinkling some grounded eggshells or diatomaceous earth onto the soil can also be helpful in getting rid of any kinds of beetles, including carpet beetles. This way, you will prevent beetles from infesting your garden and plant and thus, minimize the possibility for the critters to get inside the building.