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What are carpet beetles?

Everything you need to know about carpet beetles

Young and undeveloped carpet beetles, also known as larvae, cause immense damage to clothing, furniture, and other household products.

These larvae forage on natural threads, whereas the adults mainly feed on plant pollen and nectar. Larvae hunt for food in dark and secreted areas. Invasions take place quickly and more often than not it goes unnoticed until the damage is beyond control.

The larvae of carpet beetles primarily feed on animal and plant constituents such as feathers, hair, silk, dander, and fabric. Consequently, they damage clothes, furnishings, and other household materials.

While larvae carpet beetles have a preference for organic materials, they end up consuming artificial fibers with oil, sweat, and leftover food stains.

They occasionally feed on grain particles and spices, plus nuts, cereals, and other powdered products. Larvae at times consume animal hair, carcasses, and other small insects.

Larvae mostly thrive under heavy furniture, under floors, behind baseboards, inside air ducts and in dark well-hidden areas of the house.

Even though carpet beetle larvae move sluggishly, they can infest an entire home and cause extensive damage within weeks.

In homes, carpet beetle larvae cause destruction to a variety of materials, and if left unchecked, they can increase in population. In case you come across carpet beetle infestation inside or around your home, contact pest control professionals to discuss treatment possibilities.

An infestation can spread rapidly in several areas within a home. This is as a result of the carpet beetle larvae scurrying from one room to another in food.

Major infestations occur near-dead insects, remains from air ducts, and animal hairs. Apart from clothing, furniture, and carpets, larvae may also invade basements, attics, and other dark hidden areas in the house.

Should you discover damage to fabrics, visible larvae movement, and skin shed, this is a sure sign that your house has been infested.

Since carpet beetle larvae feed on fur, grime, and animal hair, stringent housekeeping measures may aid in maintaining the infestation at bay. Once in a while, dry cleaning your clothes is optional, since carpet beetle larvae grow on stained clothes.

Nonetheless, lint and dust components in air ducts and furniture are not easily removed. Carpet Beetle Larvae may thrive regardless of thorough housekeeping procedures.

A carpet beetle plague can be treated by the use of chemical and nonchemical methods.

Carpet beetle species are characterized by their ability to ingest keratin, commonly found in animal hairs and other animal-based fibers.

The larvae of all carpet beetle species are known for their ability to digest keratin, a protein contained in animal hairs and other animal-based fibers. Years ago, carpenters recycled horsehair as padding in upholstered furniture.

Furniture carpet beetle larvae thrive well in furniture and mostly feed on upholstery and furniture padding.

They also eat silk, furs, horns, feathers, carpet, and wool. Some larvae also feed on linen and cotton items that have been stained with sweat or oil-based stains. Carpet beetle larvae also invade and damage clothes comprised of a natural and synthetic mixture.

Furniture carpet beetle larvae are about 5 mm in length. Their bodies are lined with stiff, straight brown hairs. Larvae are firm with pointed ends.

How to control carpet beetle infestations

In the case of a severe carpet beetle invasion, here below are several effective treatment methods.

  • Boric acid application. Sprinkle this mild insect repellent on the carpets, rugs, and furniture and it will kill any remaining larvae. Before vacuuming, let the boric acid dust lay untouched for two hours, then vacuum the excess acid powder and dispose of the used vacuum bag.
  • Steam cleaning. This is the step that follows after vacuuming. Steam clean all the same areas you vacuumed with a steam cleaner. The hot humid and moisture in this step will aid in removing the remaining beetles and larvae.
  • Always use warm water and detergent to wash clothes, towels pillows, and linens. Should you feel uncomfortable using the infested clothes dispose of them in plastic bags in sealed trash bins.
  • Vinegar mixture spray. A mixture of vinegar; white or apple cider vinegar with water can be applied to window sills, cupboards, shelves, drawers and hangers, to remove any dirt or food deposits.
  • Indoor insecticides. Use indoor insecticides specially formulated to kill the carpet beetle and their larvae. Spray under the sinks, around the crevices, and around baseboards.
  • Carpet beetle infestation can at times prove difficult to attend on your own. Call the exterminator if the infestation persists and they will advise on the best methods.
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