Let’s talk about carpet beetles. Not nearly as well-known as their fellow pests, ants and silverfish, the carpet beetle can be just as cringe-worthy and damaging. And what makes them particularly unique is that their larvae are more destructive than the actual beetle.
Here’s what the professionals at Northwest Pest Control want you to know. The larvae of carpet beetles feed on animal products including your wool sweaters and blankets, leather jacket, and even your hairbrush. They get their name from their love of wool carpets. The larvae also prefer to eat in the dark. This is particularly important to consider as you start to bring your warm-weather clothes out and push those warm, fuzzy clothes to the far reaches of your closet. If those sweaters are not protected, carpet beetle larvae will have a nice buffet.
Unlike their spawn, adult carpet beetles prefer to live life in the light. They prefer to camp out near windows so they can bask in the sun which is why you see them on curtains and windowsills. The adults also feed on pollen and nectar, not animal products, so they prefer to stay outside. If you see adults, most likely they journeyed in on something you picked from your garden or bought from the farmer’s market. People and carpet beetles could happily live together in a home if the adults didn’t lay eggs, but, of course, they do. And where there are eggs, there will be those damaging larvae.
The larvae, like most youngsters, leave behind a mess. While holes in your sweaters or wool carpets might be a sign of carpet beetle larvae, you’ll know you have a problem if you start to see piles of their molted skin and fecal pellets. The skin left behind will be brown, bristly, and shell-like. These signs can appear anywhere since once carpet beetles are inside they travel around looking for dark areas to lay their eggs.
Because they can be anywhere in your home, carpet beetles are a challenge to eradicate. It’s best to work to prevent them. Regular deep cleaning of carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture is key to prevention. Vacuuming will remove not only the food sources of pet and human hair, but will also suck up eggs that have been laid or any beetles that are roaming.
To keep your clothes safe, clean them before you store them. A trip to the dry cleaner or even a round in the washing machine will destroy carpet beetles at any stage. Once cleaned, put clothes into a protective plastic bag or airtight container before you put them away for the summer. For an added precaution, when it’s time to bring those warm clothes out again, inspect them carefully and clean them just one more time.
If despite your best efforts, you find an infestation of carpet beetles in your best wool carpet or favorite down pillow, call in the professionals at Northwest Pest Control. We have been keeping pests out of homes and businesses since 1985 and carpet beetles are just one of a long line of pests we have experience removing.