Pest Control Spotlight: Carpet Beetles
Published on April 21, 2011
Of all the destructive pests a homeowner in the Pacific Northwest can face, few are as damaging or as voracious as the beetle. Beetles will consume many different types of materials, from wood to green vegetation to dung. Unfortunately for homeowners, beetles also eat another common material - organic fabric fibers.
What are carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles come in three main varieties - varied, furniture and black - and can be hard to spot. There isn't much a carpet beetle won't eat, including carpet, furniture, clothes, bedding, leather, lint, pet hair, dust and even dead insects. Infestations can cause asthma, and some beetles have even been linked to the spread of diseases such as Anthrax.
In short, they're a big problem.
Can they live anywhere other than my carpets?
Oh my, yes. Carpet can be found anywhere there is an appropriate food supply. Many infestations occur in hard-to-reach places, such as under a bed, under a couch, behind a fridge or in the back of a closet. Carpet beetles got their name because carpets used to be made predominately out of wool (an organic fabric). These days, most carpets are made out of synthetic fibers and therefore a carpet beetle infestation may indicate a secondary pest issue, such as rodents. Or they could simply be feeding on pet hair if you have a dog or cat that sheds a lot.
How do I get rid of them?
Dealing with beetles should be a big part of your home's Integrated Pest Management plan. First, look for signs of the pests. These can include small holes in fabrics or clothes, shed skin or dried fecal matter. Second, identify the source of the pests. After you've found the little buggers, vacuum the entire area. Twice. Or three times. Try to get rid of as many as possible. Wash carpets, rugs, clothes and any other infested fabric in hot, soapy water to get rid of larvae and eggs.
After you've gotten rid of as many as you can, you may need to call a Portland pest control company to finish the job. A professional will help ensure you've eliminated the entire infestation and provide a thorough inspection to find and eliminate the source. Unless, of course, it's Fido.
[ photo by: J. Coelho ]