What do you have to find in your business or home before calling for pest control? We’re willing to bet that list will includes rats and mice, cockroaches, ants and wasps, but would you think of carpet beetles?
Despite being largely absent from public consciousness, carpet beetles are voracious and destructive creatures that have overtaken clothes moths as the number one British textile pest. Infestations are notably difficult to eradicate since it’s nearly impossible to remove their food source, which is your carpets, furniture and even your pet’s fur.
When are you Likely to Need Pest Control?
Late spring and early summer is the time when adult carpet beetles are most commonly spotted, as this is when they emerge to search for warm, safe locations to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, “warm, safe locations” often equate to your wardrobes, lofts and the spaces between your walls. Putting away blankets and woollens without securing them in plastic containers provides a safe haven — and abundant food — for the larvae which hatch 8-15 days after eggs have been laid.
It’s these newly-hatched grubs which are the most destructive, and can prove harmful to humans. Though they may not be able to bite, contact with their prickly larval hairs will result in a red, itchy rash on skin which appears similar to the effects of a bed bug bite.
How Can You Prevent a Carpet Beetle Infestation?
Early warning signs are difficult to come by so your best defence, after professional pest control of course, is prevention.
High levels of cleanliness, ensuring unused textiles are sealed away before storing and regular assessments of potential entry points in your home or business can help reduce the chances of an infestation taking grip. Any cracks, holes or improperly sealed windows can provide an opportunity for all manner of pests to wander in unimpeded.
Carpet beetles, like all insects that feed on textiles, will only eat natural fibres. This is due to the material’s inclusion of keratin, an essential form of protein. If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the word keratin before, it’s likely from hair care adverts. The protein is a large component of human hair and salon treatments which include it are renowned for smoothing and strengthening weak or porous hair.
The takeaway from this is that purchasing synthetic textiles instead of items made from leather or wool, for example, can make your home or business less appealing to carpet beetles.
What are the Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation?
Before you ever spot a live carpet beetle or even a hairy grub, you’ll likely notice these three signs that an infestation has found its way into your home or business, and it’s time to take action with effective pest control.
- Shed Skins
As larvae grow and mature into adults, they’ll moult their tight skins and leave behind “shells.” These translucent shells will appear pale brown and bristly, thanks to the irritating larval hairs.
- Faecal Pellets
In addition to skins, you may find tiny, dry faecal pellets. These will appear dark brown or black.
- Holes in Fabric
The most commonly associated sign of an infestation is of course holes left behind in your textiles after a group of grubs have made it their latest meal. Unlike clothes moths, who tend to feed sporadically and will create holes all over the garment, carpet beetles tend to concentrate their feeding in one area, and will often follow seams to eat the thread.
What Can You Do After Identifying an Infestation?
The first steps are to remove any textiles that can’t be salvaged and put everything that can, through a thorough, hot wash. Then, vacuum up any evidence you can find of the carpet beetles, including any live adults, grubs or eggs.
Give any areas that you believe they’ve frequented a scrubbing and, when dry, sprinkle boric acid near any cracks, crevices and around the edges of the room to deter them from coming back. Whilst generally harmless to humans, boric acid can potentially cause illness in pets (though it’s rarely serious), so it’s advisable to keep them away from the area while you fight the infestation.
It’s also recommended that you carry out a thorough steam cleaning on any rugs or carpets to ensure you’ve removed all traces of the insects and can avoid the infestation returning.
Carpet beetles are notoriously difficult to get rid of, so it’s often an easier and more thorough solution to simply call in pest control professionals.
The experts at Safeguard Pest Control are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide essential advice on the removal of carpet beetles (or any other unwelcome pest for that matter!). Give us a call today.