Decorating a home can be time-consuming, fun, challenging, and (oh yes) expensive. After furnishing and hanging curtains and laying rugs, dealing with a carpet beetle infestation is just plain heartbreaking!
These pests are tough to get rid of and will chew through decorative materials, whether cheap or luxurious.
If you don’t catch carpet beetles early on, they can destroy loads of materials from your bargain brand curtains to your designer clothes or anything from synthetic floor mats to $20,000 Persian rugs.
These pests rapidly multiply with female carpet beetles laying around 50-100 eggs at a time. Don’t delay pest control services if you suspect you have a carpet beetle infestation! If you ignore these pests, you (and your wallet) are very likely to regret it.
Carpet Beetles 101
Before you start to worry about the threat of carpet beetles or what damage they can cause, it’s helpful to understand a little bit more about them. Adult carpet beetles are small, brownish/black, round or oval-shaped, and about 1/8 inch long.
These beetles primarily live outdoors and can often be found on plants where they eat pollen and nectar, such as crape myrtles.
These adult beetles lay their eggs near food sources, and the eggs then hatch into larvae. Here’s the part where you’ll want to pay attention.
These carpet beetle larvae are the stage of this insect’s life cycle that causes all the damage. That’s right! All that expensive damage to your home is caused by carpet beetle larvae!
Larvae hatch and burst to life in the spring and begin eating their way through any food sources they can find. The larvae are oval-shaped, hairy, brownish, and about 1/8-1/4 inch long.
What damage can they do if they come indoors?
As we said before, this insect really does do a decent job of staying out in nature where it belongs. However, sometimes we inadvertently bring these tiny creatures indoors with us. And sometimes, the draw of our food-packed homes is enough for them to find a way in.
Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar, so they may hitch a ride on any flowery plants that you bring into your home.
They will also cling to animals’ fur and can be brought in by pets. Then, of course, these pests are perfectly capable of flying into your home through windows, doors, cracks, or any other kind of opening.
When carpet beetle larvae wind up indoors, it’s their eating habits that cause damage. These tiny insects feed on animal and plant materials.
Some household plant and animal substances include leather, skins, fur, hair, wool, silk, and feathers.
When it comes to your home, this means that your carpets, rugs, textiles, clothing, shoes, furniture, books, and anything made of or containing plant or animal materials is a possible food source. As you can imagine, natural history museums are also a frequent victim of these tiny eating machines.
Another common indoor feeding ground is the dead insects, skin, hair, and dander found in lint and dust. Carpet beetle larvae also enjoy feeding on materials containing sweat, oil, and food stains. This means that even synthetic materials can be attacked!
And to top it all off, they also consume dry food or grains, making pantry items like cereals, nuts, spices, pet food, and grains vulnerable.
If you’re starting to see dollar signs adding up in your mind, you’re not wrong! Carpet beetle larvae can wreak havoc in homes, and their eating habits have been known to cause thousands of dollars in damage.
How to determine if you have carpet beetles.
Adult and larval carpet beetles are tiny and very difficult to see. The best way to uncover them is to check for any signs of their presence.
Signs of carpet beetle infestation:
Can carpet beetles harm my family or pets?
The good news is that carpet beetles do not directly harm people or animals. They do not bite, and they aren’t known to carry diseases.
However, because they are attracted to animal products, it’s not unlikely that a person could spot a carpet beetle crawling on them. And although these insects do not pose any significant danger to their health, these pests can still be a major irritant to pets.
Carpet beetles may nest on, feed on, or even lay eggs in pet hair – and that means any variety of pet with fur. Like a flea infestation, having carpet beetles in their hair can make pets itch excessively, which can cause hair loss and skin damage.
Pets are more vulnerable because they have ample fur and spend time resting on the carpets and rugs that carpet beetles like to munch on.
Speak to your vet immediately if you suspect your pet is infested.
How to get rid of carpet beetles.
Step #1 – A Thorough Cleaning
A thorough cleaning is the first step to controlling a carpet beetle infestation. Although there’s pretty much nothing that is “convenient” about carpet beetles, the closest thing to an upside is that many of the items they affect can be either cleaned or vacuumed.
If you suspect an infestation, start by vacuuming all flooring, furniture, and other items covered with fabric. Vacuum deeply and thoroughly twice a day for at least a week. You should also consider having carpeting or any infected materials steam-cleaned.
For items that can not be washed, steamed, vacuumed, or easily cleaned, your safest choice is to toss them.
However, if you choose to hold on to any such items, step two will explain your other options.
Also, remember that these pests are attracted to dust, dead insects, exposed food sources, and stains. Therefore, regular dusting and cleaning of areas that collect lint, dead insects, or dust is a MUST. Carpet beetles frequently lay eggs in dust piles, so cleaning these areas can not be overlooked.
Step #2 – Using Products
There are products available for purchase that are specifically designed to eliminate carpet beetles. Any items that were infected and could not be deeply cleaned should be treated with one of these products.
It’s always a good idea to test these products out on small areas to ensure they won’t stain your stuff.
Be aware that these products are meant for spot cleaning items like rugs and carpets. These products should not be used on clothing, bedding, or anything you make a lot of contact with.
You can use these products to spot treat areas of suspected infestations such as closet shelves, under furniture, affected areas on rugs or carpet, or in areas where lint and dust collect.
Step #3 – Prevention Tips to Help Avoid a Return
Step #4– Professional Pest Control with Gecko Green
Carpet beetles rapidly multiply and can cause expensive damage – hiring a professional pest control service is the best way to eliminate this pest and protect your valuable items. Our technicians provide expert knowledge on identifying and treating all pest infestations.
Our team knows where carpet beetles hide. We can also identify likely entry pathways that can be treated with our professional-grade insecticides. Gecko Green offers pest control services that are guaranteed to solve your infestation issues, so call us today!