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Tricky to find, but the damage they cause is easy to see but, despite carrying no known disease to humans, the thought of sharing our carpets and soft furnishing with insects and carpet beetles is not welcome.
The good news is, they can be quickly eradicated from your home – as long as treatment is effective – and there are always methods to prevent any future infestations.
Spotting the carpet beetle
Globally, there are hundreds of different species of carpet beetle. Similar in shape – they are oval – and in size, they are covered in scales. Here in the UK, the carpet beetle is not a too unattractive insect, with black wings, mottled with white and pale yellow matches.
There is also the less common black carpet beetle that measures 4mm in length and is usually found outdoors, feeding in spring and summer. The drop in temperature in early autumn sees it looking for somewhere warm and safe to lay its eggs and yes, you’ve guessed it, our homes make the perfect venue – centrally heated and with wall-to-wall carpets in many cases.
With beetles being difficult to spot, it means that identification of a carpet beetle infestation is usually down to the damage they cause along with any unhatched eggs or larvae. Around 5mm in length and grub like in appearance, they are covered in bristles and brown/yellow in colour. They are known as ‘woolly bears’ and it is the larvae that chew through your carpet and textiles, leaving patches – and they can do this for 3 years before they finally emerge into the world as carpet beetles.
Although not harmful to human health, what they do bring is huge amount of damage to your home that is protein bases – in other words, carpets, textiles, curtains, clothing and more!
Top Tip – move the furniture too and make sure you vacuum everywhere, as carpet beetles can burrow in to the carpet on which the furniture stands!
Effective treatment can take a multi-stage process:
- Once the affected area has been identified, we strongly advise thoroughly vacuuming it but not just the carpet - the surrounding furniture too and other items, taking care around skirting boards etc. Vacuum both sides of any rugs and make sure you empty the vacuum immediately after doing this!
- Wash everything that can be washed – but be mindful of temperatures. Despite us being encouraged to wash at low temperatures to use less energy and save the environment, it seems that any insect eggs, larvae and adults can survive these low temperatures. Advice is to wash items at a temperature of at least 60°. If this is not possible, have items dry cleaned as this an effective way of removing the eggs etc. from materials. Some suggest also placing things in the deep freeze, as prolong freezing temperatures can kill the eggs and adults.
- A high-strength pesticide should then be used but we suggest that you call in pest control experts to deal with strong chemicals. All professional controllers holding the correct qualification will know how to safely transport, store and use such chemicals.
- Sprays are also used in some cases to ensure that the chemical reaches the hard to reach spots in the room, from skirting boards to the nooks and crannies within the sofa or chair frame. Powder can also be used alongside the other insecticides, depending on the nature of the room etc.
Once again, on completion you will need to thoroughly vacuum the affected, treated area is essential but the most important aspect of any treatment is to have preventative measures in place…
- Carpet beetles can fly and are attract to our homes in a number of ways and so preventing them from accessing it is one way to stop them arriving! If you have empty birds’ nest close to your property, remove them, as well as clearing out the loft, eaves and gutters too.
- Anything materials or items you store in the loft should be sealed, to prevent beetles (and other pests) finding a food source and a place to breed.
- Storing clothing? Wash it first on the highest temperature you can and then seal it in clothing storage bags. You could also use sachets or other ‘deterrents’ such as ‘moth balls’ that can help in preventing carpet beetles.
- Keeping your home clutter free and vacuuming regularly is also a great help – including the small, dark spaces…
Noticed bear patches on carpets? Think you have unwanted insects living in your carpets? Call the experts for quick, effective removal!