How to Handle a Carpet Beetle Infestation
Carpet beetles belong to the beetle family called dermestids. These insects can be commonly found in houses, warehouses, museums, and other locations as long as they can find a suitable supply of food.
Where do carpet beetles come from?
They are considered pests because they can cause significant damage to stored food, fabrics, carpets, and specimens meant for preservation.
These items aren’t the carpet beetle’s food — they actually feed on pollen and nectar, especially from plants that produce a lot of them like buckwheat, crape myrtle and spiraea. However, it can be easy to bring carpet beetles inside a property when you step inside carrying cut flowers.
What kinds of carpet beetles should you look out for?
In California, there are three species of carpet beetles that thrive:
Anthrenus verbasci, the varied carpet beetle, can be identified by its black exterior with a pattern of brown, dark yellow and white scales on its wing covers (although older beetles appear solid brown or black).
Female beetles lay their eggs in the nests of birds, wasps and bees. Once they find their way indoors, they will lay eggs on rugs and carpets, leather book bindings, woolen products, silk, hair, stuffed animals, fur, dried plants and others as these will serve as larval food. They will often be found near windows when indoors.
Furniture carpet beetles or A. flavipes have a generally mottled appearance and are larger as well as rounder than varied carpet beetles. Adults will appear solid black with white undersides. They feed on the same types of materials as varied carpet beetles.
The black carpet beetle, Attagenus unicolor, is a shiny dark black and dark brown insect with brownish legs. When in arid areas like California, they cause more damage to stored products like grains and spices (their primary food source) than to fabrics.
How should you address a carpet beetle infestation?
Eliminating carpet beetles can be challenging because they can disperse widely throughout a property and they can easily find food sources in obscure areas. While a few adult beetles inside the house isn’t cause for alarm, you should undertake pest control measures once you find larvae in fabrics inside the home.
Eliminate the carpet beetle’s food sources by:
- Regularly cleaning carpets, rugs, drapes, and upholstered furniture through thorough vacuuming and prompt disposal of the bag
- Carefully washing of fabrics to eliminate food and sweat stains that they are attracted to
- Sweeping away accumulated hair, fur, lint, dead insects and insect nests
- Throwing out any cut flowers with carpet beetles
- Having pillows, mattresses and furniture with feather stuffing cleaned by a professional dry cleaning, storage firm or pest control company
For more severe infestations, call AAI Pest Control. Their pest control specialists can use chemical compounds, sticky traps that come with pheromones as bait, boric acid and protective sprays to get rid of the carpet beetles effectively.