While carpet beetles are very prevalent throughout our region, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent (or reduce) the risk of infestation. Cleanliness is a major pest deterrent for carpet beetles and other pests — frequent vacuuming and dusting (especially underneath heavy furniture) can keep issues at bay. If you store food anywhere in the home, use containers with tight seals. Also, because of carpet beetles' interest in pollen, be vigilant about plants and flowers that are brought into the home. If you see signs of carpet beetles around those plants, get rid of them.
Carpet beetles are present in many homes without making their presence apparent; in fact, when carpet beetles are present in reasonable numbers, they are a beneficial pest to have inside the home. They are especially adept when it comes to breaking down old organic matter and “cleaning up” after other insects. They will feed on a variety of different substances, including dead insects, deserted stinging insect nests, pollen and bird nest materials. However, they will also eat household items if their numbers swell large enough, at which point a professional should intervene to reduce those populations to a more acceptable level.
Carpet Beetle Damage
Carpet beetles are scavengers; often, the materials that they choose to infest and eat are not ideal. Some of the common targets for carpet beetles within a home are rugs, carpets, book bindings, fabric furniture, skins, furs, and other items protein based items. Larvae can be the most destructive of the pests. As larvae mature, they will shed their “shells.” This is a common way that an infestation is identified.
Biology of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are a very common pest in the Pacific Northwest. The two most common types of carpet beetles are both oval in shape, and vary in appearance including white, yellow, and black. Often, the carpet beetle larvae are spotted first, which are frequently striped and appear to be furry (they are covered with bristles).
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- Inspection. While not always obvious, the help of a skilled pest technician may assist you in locating the source of the infestation (or infested items). A strong understanding of carpet beetle biology and the products that are most effective will be crucial to developing a plan for treatment.
- Disposal of infested items. If necessary, it may be wise to dispose of the food source that the beetles have been utilizing. This may mean clothing, rugs, drapes, or other items. Your pest control technician can help you locate these items and make recommendations for disposal.
- Clean. A thorough cleaning of affected areas will help ensure that all infested items have been removed sufficiently and will prepare the area for treatment.
- Treatment. There are a number of products that can be used for carpet beetle control. Your service technician will work together with you to find the product(s) you are most comfortable with and that fit the situation at your home most appropriately.