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Carpet beetles are relatively common household pests, found all over the United States. They are more prevalent in the northern coastal states, where it is colder and more humid.
Carpet beetles appear like tiny, fuzzy worms.
The species that mostly infest households are the common carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle.
They like to hide underneath rugs, woolen or heavy clothing, blankets, comforters, and pillows.
Contrary to what the name suggests, carpet beetles not only feed on carpets and rugs, but also on furniture and dry foodstuff.
Adult carpet beetles mostly feed on pollen and nectar in the outdoors. Sometimes they attach onto flowers or clothes and make their way into your house.
Once in the house, a carpet beetle lays eggs that can hatch anywhere between six and sixteen days, already launching the infestation process.
Depending on how favorable your home is, the larvae stage of carpet beetles kicks off and lasts from three months and three years.
Adult beetles live for two weeks to a few months, and this is the stage at which they devour almost anything in their habitat.
Approximately seven out of ten homes will have to deal with a carpet beetle infestation at some point. If you have noticed them, note that they are a fairly common pest that can be eradicated for good.
They feed and thrive mostly in the dark, and if you’re not keen, you might miss noticing them till the infestation is widespread.
These pointers should help you identify a carpet beetle infestation:
- Damaged wool, blankets, and furniture: Carpet beetle larvae devour the wooly surfaces of carpets and clothing, leaving open threads. Sometimes they eat completely through the fabric. They infest dirty linen too if left out for too long.
- Devoured patches on wool and rugs: Since the beetle larvae like to feed in the dark, they like to eat the slits in wool rugs. You will find them tucked on the underside of rugs, devouring it away.
- Shed larval skin in dark areas: The carpet beetle larvae molt several times in their metamorphosis. You may encounter their brown, bare skins accumulated where they feed and hide. Be sure to check the underside of rugs and carpets, under furniture, and in corners where lint or pet hair may collect.
- Small beetles climbing walls or dead windowsills: Adult beetles will often need to go outside where they can mate. You might spot small dark spots on light-colored walls, especially in early spring when they head out to light.
- Holes in your clothes: Should you spot small holes in your clothes, there’s a chance your wardrobe could be infested by carpet beetles.
- Eggs laid in dry pet food or cereal boxes: Some species of beetles lay eggs on dry foodstuff. If you find these, you should discard the contaminated foods and brace to fight a carpet beetle infestation.
What causes carpet beetle infestation?
Carpet beetles sneak into homes so effortlessly. They could stick on wooly clothing left outside to dry, or even on a delivered bouquet of flowers since they feed on pollen and nectar right outside your home.
Dried flower arrangements and some fragrances of potpourri will no doubt attract some carpet beetles.
They are attracted to light and could fly right in through an open door or window.
Other channels of entry can be plumbing entrances, electrical conduits, eaves, and chimneys.
Some beetles will instinctively follow the smell of dead carcasses trapped in parts of fireplaces and walls.
Some species of beetles are attracted to animal hides and pet fur that may be present in your house. Hence the need for constant cleaning of your pets and their habitats.
While preventing their access to your home might be hard given their size, you could try a few preventive measures. These include;
- Counter-checking the vicinity of your home to ensure that all entry points are secured. The beetles’ favorite hideout points include upholstered furniture, kitchen shelves, bathroom cabinets and attics.
- Getting rid of flowers and shrubs growing right outside your home, as carpet beetles like to feed on pollen and nectar, and could easily sneak into your house.
- Regular vacuuming an identified area of infestation helps. Thoroughly vacuum out the eggs and dried skins for two to three days.
- Cleaning your pet’s bed and surroundings from time to time, as furry pets are a favorite of carpet beetles. They will usually feed on the dead skin of your pet and hide in the fur. Hence the need for regular shampoo baths for your pet. Also, wash your pet’s bedding in hot water to kill all the larvae and eggs.
- Cleaning your clothes, rugs, fabrics, and carpets every now and then will help you avoid a carpet bug infestation.
- Using naphthalene balls to repel carpet beetles is very effective. Place them in your wardrobe, attic and other prone points.
- Using insect sprays may also be helpful. Spray furniture, carpets and wardrobes.
- Keeping bird nests away from doors and windows helps prevent a carpet beetle infestation. Birds can easily be carriers of carpet beetles.
- Upholding the rigorous cleaning routine should go a long way in the full eradication of these stubborn pests. Maintain vacuum cleaning daily, paying attention to the hidden areas in your home.
- Improving the ventilation of your home can be helpful, since carpet beetles like dark and hidden places. Let the sunshine in and air your rooms regularly. Bring out your cabinets in the sun every once in a while.
- Whenever possible, you can use plastic containers or bags to store linens or clothing.
- Avoiding natural fibers in rugs, carpets, and furniture as much as possible. Carpet beetles rarely feed on synthetics, so consider this option.
- Being aware of and removing any other types of pests present in the home should go a long way in eradicating carpet beetles.
Types of products that work well on carpet beetles
You might notice a developing or an already widespread carpet beetle infestation.
When treating, opt for an insecticide that is clearly labeled for carpet beetles.
Most of these insecticides contain deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, and bifenthrin.
More natural ways of treating a carpet beetle infestation are:
- Vacuuming. This should be your first step after noticing larvae and eggs. Thoroughly vacuum furniture, curtains, and rugs.
- Steam cleaning the areas already vacuumed. The heat and moisture of a steam cleaner will further help to eliminate larvae and eggs.
- Using vinegar to wipe and spray surfaces. A solution of white vinegar should be used to get rid of larvae, eggs, dirt, and food debris.
- Washing pillows and clothing in hot water. The high temperatures will kill any eggs and larvae.
- Spraying boric acid will kill all the remaining eggs and larvae. Sprinkle the dust onto infested surfaces, leave for two hours, then vacuum away, ensuring to dispose of your vacuum bag.
- Using an indoor insecticide labeled for carpet beetles under sinks, on baseboards, or in crevices. You should not use them on your furniture, carpets or clothes.
- You can call a professional exterminator to fight with the carpet beetles infestation, as sometimes these pests can be stubborn.
Best vacuum for carpet beetles
A vacuum cleaner perfect for fighting carpet beetles should be one whose weight, suction, and ability to reach well-hidden areas are top-notch.
Carpet beetles like to hide in dark crevices and underneath the heavy fabric, so you’ll need a vacuum cleaner that can effectively fit the bill.
The Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum cleaner may be a good candidate to effectively fight against carpet beetles.
You can view the Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with Lift-Away Handheld HEPA Filter, and Anti-Allergy Seal (NV352), Lavender at Amazon to learn more about how this product might work for you.
This vacuum cleaner is powerful and upright and has an anti-allergen complete seal technology and a HEPA filter that traps dust and allergens.
It can effectively suck up all the linen and pet fur that carpet beetles like to feed on.
It is portable and versatile, weighing in at 12.5 pounds. This helps you clean well under heavy furniture or rugs.
It allows you to press a button, lift the canister away, and quickly clean hard-to-reach areas. This is particularly effective in reaching the well-hidden points that carpet beetles usually hide.
This vacuum cleaner’s brush roll shutoff allows for deep carpet cleaning, making it ideal for eradicating carpet beetles.
As most species of carpet beetles will hide in the thick of rugs and carpets, this particular vacuum cleaner sucks them out with ease.
It can easily maneuver around furniture, because of its swivel steering. This enhances the sucking up of all carpet beetle larvae and eggs under furniture and crevices where they hide, making it the best vacuum for carpet beetles.
Other vacuum cleaners that may prove effective at cleaning out carpet beetles include the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus 24619 Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Purple (view at Amazon) and the Tocmoc Cordless Vacuum, Stick Vacuum Cleaner with 200W 22Kpa Super Suction 2000mAh Battery 4 in 1 Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair Carpet Hard Floor, T200 (view at Amazon).