Get rid of Carpet Beetles that are damaging your clothes fabrics, carpets or upholstery! Four species of Carpet Beetles are most common: The Black Carpet Beetle, Varied Carpet Beetle, Common Carpet Beetle, and Furniture Carpet Beetle. Together, this group of beetles is more destructive to fabric than Clothes Moths.
CARPET BEETLE IDENTIFICATION
To get rid of Carpet Beetles first learn how to identify them and what they eat. Then eradicate them. Four species of Carpet Beetles are most common: The Black Carpet Beetle, Varied Carpet Beetle, Common Carpet Beetle, and Furniture Carpet Beetle. Together, this group of beetles is more destructive to fabric than Clothes Moths.
Differences Between Common Beetles and Carpet Beetles
Don't confuse common beetles with Carpet Beetles. Hide Beetles, Museum Beetles, Bird Nest Carpet Beetles, and Cabinet Beetles all have a somewhat similar appearance. Both adults and larvae of other beetles may be mistaken for Carpet Beetles. Carefully read the descriptions in this article (and view the photographs), to be sure of proper identification. This is important when you attempt to get rid of Carpet Beetles.
The Carpet Beetle Metamorphosis
Carpet Beetles go through a complete metamorphosis: Egg, larva, pupa and adult - the same life cycle as a butterfly. The larva is the only stage that causes damage to fabrics
. Homeowners rarely see the adult beetles, because the adults are small and inconspicuous. You can find adult beetles indoors or outdoors, where they feed on flowers and pollen. Adult beetles and are most numerous in the spring and early summer. Flowering shrubs such as Spirea and Pyracantha are particularly attractive to adult Carpet Beetles, but Carpet Beetles also enjoy other species of flowering plants.
BLACK CARPET BEETLES Adult Hide Beetle
Several species of Hide Beetles are considered fabric pests, since they are often found in tanneries and warehouses that process hides and skin. They are also found in homes attacking furs, animal skins, feathers, and meats or cheeses. Three of the most destructive Hide Beetles are: The Larder Beetle, the Black Larder Beetle, and the Leather Beetle. These beetles occasionally invade homes, and infest products of an animal base. Outdoors, they also feed in bird s nests, and attack dead bird or mouse carcasses in attics. They also eat dead bees and wax in beehives, and feed on stuffed animals and insect collections in museums.
Eggs, Larvae, Molts, and Pupation
The female beetle must feed before laying eggs. Eggs are about 1/12 inch in length, and are laid in foodstuffs such as hides and other dry animal matter. Females continue to lay eggs for two to three months. The total number of eggs laid varies from 200 to 800. Larvae begin to feed soon after hatching. They are active in dark areas, but in the light they may become immobile. The larvae normally go through five or six molts. Fully-grown larvae measure about 1/2 inch in length. The larva wanders when it matures, seeking a pupation site. It may burrow into such materials as wood, or other soft substrates before pupating. The final larval skin is used as a plug, protecting the pupa from predaceous insects. If the larva is unable to bore a tunnel, the skin remains attached to the pupa.
INSPECTING FOR CARPET BEETLES
In your home, frequently check pet foods, mounted animal specimens, insect collections, skins, furs, woolens, seeds, organic fertilizers (e.g., bone meals), and other items likely to be infested. You also need to know if there are bird nests under eaves or in the attic. Check for wasp or hornet nests outside the residence. Knowing where they may be lurking will help you in your quest to get rid of Carpet Beetles.
Conduct a thorough inspection of your infested premises to find all the sources of infestation, before making any attempt at control. It is important to remember that adults of these insects do not feed on woolens, or on any of the other material that may be attacked by the larvae. The presence of adults in an area does not necessarily mean that larvae are in the same area. Adults may have already laid their eggs in some other room, and may be moving around at random. The adults may also be moving towards bright sunlight shining through windows (as adults, they will want to move outdoors).
Where to Look for Carpet Beetle and Clothes Moth Larvae
Clothes Moth and Carpet Beetle larvae
prefer to feed in secluded and protected places. To search for them, a good flashlight and a knife, nail file, or small spatula are essential tools. Larvae are usually found in dark clothes closets, on furs, woolens, hair padding, bits of carpeting, or other such materials in storage. Check under the edges of carpeting, and in and under upholstered furniture. Finding their habitat will identify where you should focus your treatments to get rid of Carpet Beetles. You may occasionally find larvae in cereals in the kitchen or pantry. Use your knife blade or other tool to bring out bits of lint or shed pet hair from under baseboards, in air ducts, and around door casings. Examine the lint or hair closely for live larvae or their cast skins. Often, you will find more cast skins than live larvae. The cast skins resemble live larvae so closely, they can be used for identification purposes. Use a flashlight when examining dark closets and other dimly lit places.
Outdoor Natural Habitats
Inspect the natural habitats of possible infestation surrounding your home. This is very important! Carpet Beetles can be found in sparrow, starling, or other bird nests close to your building, and are common points of origin (or continuation) for fabric pest infestations. Clothes Moth and Carpet Battle infestations can also originate in wasp nests, which are found under eaves and in attics. Moth or beetle larvae feed upon the remainders of dead insects fed to the wasp larvae, on cast wasp larval skins, and sometimes upon the living wasp larvae.
SANITATION AND PREVENTION
Implement preventive measures whenever possible! Once a "hole" is made, the damage is done and may not be repairable. Preventive procedures include basic sanitation and insecticide measures. Protect your carpets, woolens, silks, and upholstery by mothproofing garments or fabrics. You can do a lot to prevent fabric pest problems by keeping your surroundings clean. Use a strong vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean carpet and upholstery. Brush, air, and dry clean susceptible clothing or other articles. Avoid prolonged storage of old garments and bedding. Take furs or animal pelts (unprotected taxidermy) to a dry cleaner, who can provide chemical protection to them. Inspect old wool rugs, and furniture upholstered with vulnerable fabrics.
Eliminate Breeding Areas
Remember, you do not necessarily have to possess wholly keratin-based products to have a Carpet Beetle infestation. Soiled articles of otherwise indigestible materials are prone to attack, as well as garments made of wool blend fabrics. It is important to eliminate as many potential breeding places as possible. Discard old pieces of woolen fabric, odd pieces of carpeting, old feather pillows, dried flower arrangements or "shadow boxes" (with caches of seeds in them). Eliminating these objects go a long ways toward getting rid of Carpet Beetles. Clean areas under baseboards, behind door casings, under heat radiators, and inside furnace or air conditioning registers with a vacuum cleaner. Remove as much lint as possible from these areas. A vacuum cleaner with strong suction is a good piece of special equipment to use! Utilize careful, routine sanitation procedures. This will help limit fabric insect problems.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR PREVENTION
Utilize professional pest control chemicals in addition to good sanitation. We recommended Insect Guard
for prevention, in storage situations. It acts as a repellent and continuous fumigant. Place interspaced crystals of this material, which have been wrapped in clean paper, with the fabrics. Pack all into tightly into large plastic bags, and then into sealed trunks or boxes. Use tight containers for optimum protection. Cedar closets and most cedar chests are ineffective, primarily because a sufficiently tight seal is rarely maintained. Naphthalene (moth balls), are less desirable to use, and are also less effective. Garment storage in cold vaults is an effective preventive measure, especially for very valuable furs or other susceptible garments.
Direct Fabric Protection
Mothproofing and Clothes Moth control are two different things. You can mothproof by using preventive applications of an insecticide to avoid infestation, or use a professional dry cleaning company to mothproof your susceptible belongings. If you already have an infestation, you will have to use extermination procedures to get rid of Carpet Beetles. Use various moth proofers to protect your property from moth and Carpet Beetle damage. These chemicals kill larvae, either after light feeding or brief contact (before feeding occurs). Many newer fabrics are treated with a mothproofing solution at the time of manufacture. The chemicals eventually dissipate either by washing, dry cleaning, or by simple degradation. You should never attempt to mothproof articles of clothing.
Take vulnerable articles of clothing to a professional dry cleaning company to be treated. Professional mothproofing of clothing is usually quite effective over the length of time between cleanings, or for storage during the summer months.
Recommended Products for Moth Proofing
Use CB 80
and Insect Guard for general mothproofing to articles other than clothing
(carpets, area rugs, tapestries, drapes, etc.). Apply to the items after they have been removed and dry cleaned (if possible). Spray with a fine mist to obtain thorough coverage, but only after possible staining problems have been considered
. Be sure to test your articles to assure that staining won't occur.
These chemicals won't get rid of Carpet Beetles if you have an infestation, but they will help protect from damage.
CONTROLLING EXISTING CARPET BEETLE INFESTATIONS
If you have an infestation, utilize an extensive program of insecticide applications to get rid of Carpet Beetles. Insecticide should be applied after thorough cleaning and sanitation. To get rid of Carpet Beetles, apply insecticides such Precor 2625
, Demand CS
, or Bifen I/T.
Use residual sprays with a hand sprayer, using a fine fan-spray nozzle. Utilize handheld foggers such as CB80
for spot treatment, or more general applications, as necessary. Carefully follow the manufacturer's directions to get rid of Carpet Beetles.
How to Treat Areas of Heavy Infestation
Pay special attention to the areas of heavy infestation that you found during your inspection. On carpets, concentrate around baseboard areas and under furniture. On furniture, concentrate around seams, buttons, and padded areas. Apply insecticide as a rather fine wet spray, directly to the material being treated. To get rid of carpet beetles, spray upholstery fabrics using a light, fast hand. Do not soak the fabric, because this will frequently result in staining (not caused by the pesticide, but rather by the water).
Be careful to prevent staining or soiling when treating your carpets. Clean carpet before insecticide treatment, if possible. Be very careful not to soil the treated carpet with dirt from shoes or other sources. Do not walk on treated areas until after they have thoroughly dried. Remove all furniture from a room which will be treated, if space, size and weight allow. Place temporary pads under furniture castors or legs when treating carpet, to protect carpet from stains. Pads prevent rust marks on your carpet from metal furniture parts, and stains from wood parts of furniture. Both types of stain are almost impossible to remove, and can result in costly damage. Good temporary pads can be: Corrugated cardboard, cut into strips or squares, folded paper towels, or small paper plates. Do not remove the pads until the carpet is thoroughly dry, usually after two or three days.
Insecticide Cautions and Upholstered Furniture Instructions Regardless of the insecticide being used, be sure to keep small children and pets away from treated furniture and carpeting until they are thoroughly dry
. These chemicals may be hazardous while they are wet. Check the insecticide product label for any other caution statements. The residual chemicals will be removed to some extent by subsequent washing, vacuuming, and dry cleaning. Read the insecticide manufacturer's recommendations about length of control and re-treatment intervals to get rid of Carpet Beetles. Remove furniture cushion covers and the coverings from the bottom of sofas or chairs to expose the padding. Pay special attention to the padding inside upholstered furniture. It may be composed of feathers or horsehair (especially in antique furniture), and is susceptible to insect damage. Exposed padding can then be treated with sprays, which will not harm the padding. Padding can also be thoroughly treated with a suitable aerosol such as Ultracide with IGR
Aerosol Sprays, Residual Pesticides and Carpet Beetle Traps
Use aerosol applications if you do not want to wait on drying time. To get rid of Carpet Beetles, aerosols with an IGR usually give long residual control. Do not use these products where there will be contact with skin or clothing. Do not use on exposed upholstery surfaces or carpeted areas on which people or pets will sit
. Use non-residual or contact spray applications such as Precor 2625 Premise Spray
and Bifen I/T
when infestations are not heavy. They kill both exposed adults and larvae. Spray into cracks and crevices with as much force as possible, to drive the spray in deeply. To get rid of Carpet Beetles, an aerosol spray such as CB 80
is effective in closets. Be careful to avoid staining of clothes, walls, or furniture. Use traps, such as the Catchmaster 288i Professional Bug Traps
, under and behind furniture. Also use traps inside stored rugs to capture Carpet Beetles, and to help monitor their infestation levels.
THE DUAL APPROACH TO CARPET BEETLE INFESTATION
To get rid of Carpet Beetles, many professional pest companies prefer to apply a residual insecticide such Precor 2625
or Demand CS
to all of the appropriate areas, and then follow up with an aerosol application of a non-residual insecticide such as CB 80
. Doing this assures complete control of adult and larval stages. When your infestation and damage is widespread and extensive, dual application is the preferred method. Also use this approach when many active adults have been seen throughout the premises, and during egg-laying seasons.
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