When it comes to insects that can invade your home, carpet beetles are one that can cause a lot of problems. If these critters get into your home and go unnoticed or unattended, they can end up causing severe damage to your carpets, bedding, clothes, and upholstered furniture items. Keep reading to find out more about what carpet beetles are, how they can cause damage in your home, how to spot them, and different methods for getting rid of them. Discover effective strategies to eliminate carpet beetles in the UK with our comprehensive guide on “How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in the UK.“
What are Carpet Beetles?
Carpet bugs are small in size, but they can cause a lot of destruction to your personal belongings if they get into your home, start breeding, and are not dealt with and removed quickly. The adult carpet beetles themselves do not cause a lot of destruction to belongings as they tend to feed mainly on flowers and plants. However, they lay eggs and carpet beetle eggs produce larvae, which feed on natural fibres such as fabrics, leather, upholstery, and carpet.
Adult carpet beetles are up to four millimetres in length, but the larvae are much larger at around 2.5cm long. Adults have an oval and varied carpet beetle shell that is black, white and either orange or yellow. The larvae are a black carpet beetle or light brown in colour, and covered in dark hairs with three lighter, golden-coloured hairs on the abdomen.
How to identify a carpet beetle
Carpet beetles are common household pests that can cause significant damage to various materials in your home. They are particularly fond of feeding on wool, silk, fur, feathers, and other organic materials. Here’s a detailed guide to help you identify them:
Adult Carpet Beetles:
Adult carpet beetles are small, ranging from 2mm to 5mm in size (roughly the size of a pinhead to a ladybug). They have rounded, oval shapes and are usually seen in one of three different varieties:
- Varied Carpet Beetles: These are the most common type and have an irregular pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow scales on their elytra (wing covers). They lose these scales as they age, so older beetles may appear solid brown or black.
- Black Carpet Beetles: As their name suggests, these beetles are dark brown to black in colour. They’re slightly larger, around 5mm long, and have more elongated bodies than the other types.
- Furniture Carpet Beetles: These are similar in size to varied carpet beetles but have a more distinct colour pattern, with white, yellow, and dark bands.
Larvae are often the most damaging stage of the carpet beetle life cycle. They’re larger than adults, reaching up to 7mm in length, and have hairy or bristly bodies, often in a distinctive “tail.” The colour varies from light brown to almost black.
Since carpet beetles feed on various materials, one of the best ways to identify them is by the damage they leave behind. They typically eat holes in fabrics, especially those stored in dark and undisturbed areas. You may also see shed skins and fecal pellets, which look like tiny grains of salt or pepper.
- If you see beetles indoors during spring or early summer, it might be a sign of infestation as this is the typical time when adult carpet beetles fly into homes to lay eggs.
- Carpet beetles also have a preference for feeding in dark, undisturbed places. Therefore, finding damage in secluded areas like closets, attics, or rarely moved furniture can also indicate their presence.
If you suspect a carpet beetle infestation, it’s crucial to act quickly. While small infestations can often be handled with thorough cleaning and treatment of affected materials, severe infestations may require the services of a professional pest control expert.
Signs that You have Carpet Beetles at Home
Carpet beetles can be a nuisance in your home.However, there are some signs that you can look out for to identify whether you have a carpet beetle infestation at home:
- Seeing Adult Beetles or Larvae: The most direct sign of a carpet beetle infestation is the presence of adult beetles or larvae. Adult beetles are small and round, while larvae are larger with bristle-like hairs.
- Damage to Fabrics and Materials: Carpet beetles have a wide diet and can damage various household items. They tend to eat holes in fabrics (especially natural fibres like wool or silk), but can also damage leather and synthetic materials.
- Shed Larval Skins: Carpet beetle larvae moult and shed their skins as they grow. These skins can often be found around areas of infestation. They look like small, fuzzy caterpillars or bristles.
- Faecal Pellets: Carpet beetles leave behind tiny, sand-like faecal pellets. These can usually be found around the areas they’ve been feeding.
- Increased Allergic Reactions: Some people may experience an increase in allergic reactions when there is a carpet beetle infestation. This can include itching or a rash, which can often be mistaken for bed bug bites.
- Unusual Activity of Other Insects: Other insects, like spiders, may be more active or visible if there’s a carpet beetle infestation as these insects may feed on carpet beetles.
- Finding Beetles in Light Fixtures: Adult carpet beetles are attracted to light and may often be found in window sills or light fixtures.
- Discovering Beetles in Spring and Early Summer: Adult carpet beetles typically lay eggs in spring or early summer.
Suspect a carpet beetle infestation? Act quickly! Start with thorough cleaning and treatment of affected materials, and if the infestation is severe, contact a professional pest control service.
How Carpet Beetles Infest the Home
Carpet beetles can get into your home in several ways, including through open doors and windows. They may also get into the property through an infested item that is moved inside such as a plant or piece of furniture. Often, an infestation can be started by an adult carpet beetle simply getting in through an open door or window before laying eggs on carpets and other fabric items around the home. Due to their diet, carpet beetles are particularly attracted to animal hides and can cause significant damage if not detected and managed promptly.
Carpet Beetles – The Damage They Cause
Carpet beetles can cause extensive damage to natural fibers, such as wool and silk, as they are their preferred food source Natural fibres are food for carpet beetle larvae. Unfortunately, this means that they are going to eat away at your carpets, upholstery, rugs, and even clothing items. This causes damage to the items that they feed on and if left for too long, can cause items to develop holes. Carpet beetles are unlikely to cause any damage to the structure of your property itself, but they can be very destructive when it comes to the items inside it.
How to Spot an Infestation of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetle eggs are small, white, and hard to spot, often hidden in dark, undisturbed areas such as closets or under furniture. Having your home infested by carpet beetles is an issue that should be dealt with as soon as possible. Not only can they cause damage to your belongings, but the infestation could also pose a risk to your health. Thankfully, understanding how to spot the signs of carpet beetles will help you notice any potential issues and deal with them sooner.
Spotting One Carpet Beetle
If you see just one carpet beetle in your home, then you might think that there is nothing to worry about. However, this is a sign that the infestation has already started. The larvae will not be visible to the naked eye until they have formed, but there may be eggs nearby if you see a long, white worm moving on the carpet. If you find more than one carpet beetle in your home, this is a sign that the population is growing, and significant damage could occur if you don’t take steps to remove the pests.
Bald Carpet Areas
Carpet beetles feed on carpets, which can cause bald spots to appear on them due to carpet beetle bites. You may notice narrow spots on the carpet that may look like a series of tunnels or holes. Since adult carpet beetles are quite small, these spots can easily be missed until there are lots of them, so keep your eyes out. This is one of the worst signs of having carpet beetle infesting your property as it means that not only adult carpet beetles are present but also larvae that is being developed under the furniture or underground.
Damage to Furniture and Fabric Items
Carpet beetles can cause a lot of damage to woollen items, fabric items and upholstery. They especially feed on woollen rugs and knitted items like socks, scarves, and sweaters. If you have a woollen rug and notice that there is a discoloured area on it that isn’t a stain or other issue, then it could be due to carpet beetle larvae feeding in the area. There may be several carpet beetles living underneath your carpet or rug.
As they move around in your home, adult carpet beetles will leave faecal matter behind. It is usually white in colour and looks similar to small grains of flour or corn. Due to the colour and the size, they can often be quite difficult to spot on a carpet.
Carpet beetles will leave their dead skin behind when they are done feeding on the furniture, carpets, or other fabric items in your home. These exoskeletons are empty husks that look similar to cocoons. Carpet beetle larvae will shed their skins several times as they mature, and these husks are likely to appear regularly in any areas where the larvae are feeding.
How to Remove Carpet Beetles from Your Home
Whether you have noticed some sure signs of an infestation in your home, or suspect that they may be in your property, the good news is that there are several things that you can do to remove carpet beetles. How to get rid of carpet beetles:
Clean with Vinegar
Mixing apple cider vinegar with water and using it as a natural household cleaner can help deter pests such as carpet beetles from infesting your home. White vinegar is an ideal cleaning solution and using it in your home can help with getting rid of carpet beetles. Use it to clean items such as windowsills, shelves, surfaces, drawers, and hangers. Along with this, use it for cleaning in the kitchen to clean away any food residue and dirt that might attract carpet beetles.
Experts in pest control recommend steam cleaning hard surfaces around your home to remove any carpet beetles. Not only is the heat and moisture from a steam cleaner great at getting various areas in your home extremely clean, but it will also remove any remaining beetles and eggs.
Regular Vacuum Cleaning
Carpet beetle larvae will feed on various types of debris that might get left behind in the carpet including human and pet hair, dead skin, and dead insects. Regular vacuum cleaning means that not only are your carpets kept in better condition but there will be less in them for the carpet beetles to feast on. Along with this, vacuuming often gives you a better chance of cleaning up any larvae and eggs in your carpet before they have a chance to hatch and cause destruction.
Make Sure Infected Areas are Thoroughly Cleaned
If you have found carpet beetles, then the first thing to do is clean the infected area as thoroughly as possible. Make sure that any larvae and debris are removed, and wipe down or launder surfaces, furniture, soft furnishings, clothes, and other fabric items. You may wish to use pesticides on the carpet beetles but do this with care as they can be poisonous to pets and toxic to humans. Boric acid is often used as a natural pesticide in homes and can be effective in eliminating carpet beetles from infested areas.
Inspect Plants Regularly
If you have houseplants in your home, then they might be attractive to adult carpet beetles who will feed on them. When you are watering and caring for your houseplants, it’s a good idea to look over them for any signs of the pests. You should always check for carpet beetles when you buy a new plant and bring it into your home.
Wash on a High Temperature
If you have found carpet beetle or larvae on items that can be washed in a washing machine, then it’s a good idea to do this immediately. As long as it is safe to do so on the label, you can wash items such as throws, clothing, bedding, and other soft furnishings on a high or boil temperature using the washing machine to kill any carpet beetle larvae.
Seal Dry Food Containers
Adult carpet beetle won’t usually feed on your carpets. However, they do like dried food, and may be attracted to this before laying eggs in your carpet and other soft furnishings. To prevent this from attracting carpet beetles to your home, make sure that all dried food is stored in a sealed and airtight container.
Secure Windows and Doors
While there may not be much you can do about preventing carpet beetles from getting in when your window or door is open, you can make sure that it is harder for them to enter your home when they are closed by sealing any gaps or cracks around the doors and windows. Not only is this good for preventing carpet beetles but also draughts in the home.
If you’re living in the UK and need advice on getting rid of carpet beetles, then you’ll want to read this article on how to get rid of carpet beetles in the UK.
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Types Of Carpet Beetles In The UK
The UK is home to several types of Carpet Beetles, such as the Varied Carpet Beetle and the Common Furniture Beetle. For more information about these pests, read this post about Types Of Carpet Beetles In The UK.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of carpet beetles, this article on “Carpet Beetles and How to Get Rid of Them” is a great resource for you.
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Pest advice for controlling Carpet Beetle from British Pest Control Association