Carpet beetles are common and persistent pests that damage clothing, carpets, and other fabrics. An infestation of carpet beetles can be moderate to severe and can be tricky to get under control. Some infestations I have seen have been so severe I would almost want to put them in the same category as bed bugs, but they were definitely on the same level as a German cockroach or tick infestation. However, most carpet beetle infestations tend to be mild. Here are some tips from Meryl’s Termite and Pest Control on what you can do to help us get ahead of an infestation as this is a case where the client’s cooperation is needed.
There are four species of carpet beetles that we deal with in our range, the common carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle, and the black carpet beetle. Belonging to the family of Dermestidae, the carpet beetles life cycle can span from three months to two years. The adult females may lay up to a hundred eggs at a time which hatch in about a two week incubation period. The fuzzy worm-like larvae do their best to avoid light and actively feed in cracks, crevices, or folds. Most frequently they are found in the closets, drawers, or inside upholstered furniture. Carpet beetle larvae can be detected by the remains of left behind skins which were shed, along with fecal pellets. The fecal pellets are only the size of a grain of salt and will be found in areas where they have been feeding. Depending on climate conditions and what food is available to them the larvae takes from nine months to three years to complete it’s transformation into and adult. Adults, unlike larvae, are attracted to light and often can be found on or around windows or around flowers and plants.
Like all pests, prevention is the key. Good housekeeping and sanitation practices will help, but won’t guarantee and infestation as the beetles can be brought into the home inadvertently from somewhere else as they often infest warehouses. Once a carpet beetle infestation has been established the first step would be an thorough inspection to find the source of the problem. What many people need to consider is that even though they can be brought into the house in cut flowers, they may also infest bird nests surrounding the structure.
A thorough inspection is crucial in finding sources of carpet beetle infestations. Although carpet beetles damage fabrics in a house, they may also be found in bird nests built on or inside the house. Carpet beetles can also be brought in on cut flowers. Even wasp nests under eaves and in attics can be a source of carpet beetles as the larvae will feed on the shed skins of the wasps. Of course the most obvious clues would be damaged fabrics, clothes, and carpets. You may wonder if damaged clothing or other garments are the work of clothes moths, but carpet beetles tend to damage a larger area on one portion of a garment or carpet, while clothes moths damage will often appear as scattered holes.