Finding carpet beetles in your home is a sure sign that you need a thorough cleaning. If you notice these pests, know that all your fabric items are in danger: carpets, clothes and bedding of all materials – from natural such as cotton, to semi-synthetic fibers as rayon. Carpet beetles can even be found in your kitchen, destroying your supplies of food.
As they can cause some serious damage to your furniture, carpets and clothes, you must deal with these bugs straight away. Here are several easy tips on how to prevent carpet beetles from destroying your precious items and keep your home safe and clean.
How to Recognize Them
There are three types of carpet beetles: varied, furniture and black. They belong to Dermestidae family, widely known as skin beetles. They all have similar life cycles and are found as larvae and adult bugs. Varied and furniture beetles are round and colorful (white, yellow and brown) and about 1/10 inch long. The black carpet beetle is strikingly different from other carpet beetles. You’ll recognize it by its dark color (black/dark brown), and length which ranges between 1/8 to 3/16 inch.
Where to find them
Most people wonder how carpet beetles enter their homes. These insects fly and they are attracted to plants near your home. From the nearby flowers and trees, they easily find way into your home through doors and windows, and then, they hide in soft and protected places such as blankets and carpets. Larvae are the ones that love to feed on your carpet fibers, while adult bugs prefer pollen and nectar in flowers. To find them, use a flashlight and a spatula and carefully inspect the carpet after vacuuming.
Regular Vacuuming and Washing
There’s no excuse for not vacuuming your carpets on a regular basis. This way, you won’t just get rid of the carpet beetles, but you’ll kill most of the dust mites, ticks and fleas (if you have pets). The frequency depends on the traffic and the number of occupants, but once per week is usually enough. Always vacuum furniture as well and don’t forget to wash curtains, blankets and all fabric items that can easily be washed in warm water.
Steam Cleaning and Disinfection
Vacuuming floors and carpets (even frequent) is not nearly enough to make your home clean. You need to wash carpets or better, clean them with steam. When you wash carpets, they need some time to dry, and that can cause the growth of mold. This is why steam cleaning is much safer – it will kill bacteria, viruses and pests as well as washing, but the carpets will dry much faster. Cleaning carpets with steam is recommended once per year.
Using Chemical Products
Occasionally, you can use certain chemical solutions to fight the carpet beetles and other pests. However, make sure that they are non-toxic for humans and pets – always opt for environmentally friendly products. You can use beetle prevention sprays and mothballs. Also, boric acid can be sprayed all over fabric furniture – it will kill larvae when they ingest it while it’s perfectly safe for humans!