Although they carry no diseases, carpet beetles can cause untold amounts of damage to your property, clothes and fabrics around your house.
They can be hard to control as well, as they are able to live all over your property.
Read on to find out how to keep these pesky pests from spoiling your fabrics and ruining your home.
In the United Kingdom, there are two main types of carpet beetle. The fur beetle and the varied beetle. Both types of beetle can fly.
The fur beetle is around 5mm in length and has two white spots on its back.
The varied beetle is slightly smaller and shaped like a ladybird. It is brown, yellow and white in colour.
Adult carpet beetles cause no harm to your fabrics, it’s the larvae form, known as ‘woolly bears’ that will eat keratin found in fabrics made from animal fibres. Woolly bears have tufts of hair on their sides and are an orange or brown colour.
Ensure that the infestation is carpet beetles and not clothes moths, which cause similar damage and also feed on keratin.
Find the source
After mating, the female carpet beetle will look for a suitable place to lay her eggs. Typical places include woollen rugs or blankets and animal skins.
After two weeks, the eggs will hatch and start feeding on the keratin found in the fibres. You may notice woolly bears during the day, although they will roll up in direct sunlight.
Check sheepskin rugs, floorboards and skirting boards for signs of faecal matter or larvae.
Clean your Home
Regularly vacuuming and dusting will help banish the beetles. If possible, wash rugs on a high temperature or get them dry cleaned. Don’t forget to vacuum curtains, bedding and under sofa cushions too.
If you do notice a group of woolly bears, or damaged fabrics, remove the item from your property to prevent carpet beetles from spreading out to other areas in your home.
Dispose of infested Garments
If you think you might have an infestation in a particular piece of clothing, it may be best to just dispose of it. Carpet beetles will typically chew their way through a large patch in a piece of clothing or carpet, so the item could be beyond repair anyway.
Keep Garments sealed
The best way to prevent a carpet beetle attack on expensive clothing is to keep your garments sealed. You can purchase vacuum-packed bags which are perfect for saving space and keeping your clothing away from hungry woolly bears.
Freeze un-washable Items
If you’re able to save an item, or have an item that cannot be washed at high temperature, such as a stuffed toy, pop it into a tightly sealed polythene bag and put it in the freezer for three days.
You can then put it in the fridge for a few days to thaw. This should kill any woolly bears which might have been living on your possessions.
If you have to use an insecticide, be very careful and always keep pets and small children away. Do not spray the insecticide liberally, carefully choose a small area to spot treat instead.
Typically, the best insecticides to use to destroy carpet beetles are ones that contain chlorpyrifos, bendiocarbs, and allethrin.
Once you have used an insecticide, do not vacuum the area for seven days. This will give it time to work and get deep into the fibres where larvae might be hiding. During this time, it might be best to move animals out of your home temporarily, so they are not affected by the insecticide.
Prevent a return
You can prevent a carpet beetle return by maintaining a vacuumed home and regularly dusting.
Carpet beetles are able to live all over your home, so are tough to completely eliminate. If you feel that you have done everything possible to stop carpet beetles coming into your home, and you’re still suffering, contact a professional pest control company who will be able to help you out.
They can identify the breed of carpet beetle and have access to stronger chemicals that are more likely to eradicate them permanently.
Barry Walker is the Director of TDC Pest Control based in Southend, Essex and likes to offer advice and information on how to prevent and control pest infestations.