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What Causes Carpet Beetles?

Have you come across small bugs crawling on your carpet, even after you vacuum? They could be carpet beetles. They can be menacing and an eyesore.

Luckily, there are ways to get rid of them permanently. But before that, do you know what causes carpet beetles?

Carpet beetles feed on debris and dust. Therefore be sure to get them if your carpet is dusty and dirty. They get blown in through open windows and sometimes the vents. These bugs are attracted to dust, dirty clothes and rugs, and food remains. They are primarily found in animal products like leather, wool, and feathers. 

These insects can cause irreparable damage to your curtains, carpets, couches, and even furniture. They can even infest your cloth wardrobe and ruin your clothes. 

You must wonder how these insects look like. Well, carpet beetles are like cloth moths, and you may even mistake them for moths. However, the carpet beetle larvae have a cycle-like appearance, sometimes known as a wooly bear. They are banded and covered in tiny hair-like substances. They can measure up to 5mm. 

At a glance, you might think these larvae are tiny caterpillars. They eventually grow into carpet beetles which are round in shape with six legs like most insects. They also have an antenna. Even then, there are different carpet beetles.

They come in varied colors, such as black, orange, or white. Some are also speckled. They also vary in size, with some measuring 2mm and others as large as 5mm. The beetles are most dangerous at the larvae stage compared to adulthood.  

There are three species of the carpet beetle: 

  • The black carpet beetle
  • Furniture carpet beetle
  • Varied carpet beetle

They all look similar in appearance and normally infest similar materials. So, what causes carpet beetles, and where do they come from? Read on to find out. 

Where Do Carpet Beetles Come From?

Carpet beetles come from many sources. Note that regardless of the species, they all come from the same source. Sometimes you may still get carpet beetles even if you keep your house clean and tidy at all times. So how do they get in?

Carpet beetles can get into your house through the vents and open windows. You may also carry them in if you often cut fresh flowers and bring them to your home.

Your pets can get them in since these beetles attach themselves to the animal’s skins and furs. 

If you hang your clothes outside on the fence to dry, they can get contaminated. These bugs can also get into the house through the shopping that you bring with you. 

Outdoor carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar. Even then, they still prefer to lay eggs in the house where it is warm, safe, and abundant food supply.

You may also find some beetle nests and eggs in your chimneys. These bugs prefer poorly lit areas that are warm and quiet. This makes them quite difficult to notice. 

What is the Cause of Carpet Beetles?

It’s challenging to pinpoint one specific cause of carpet beetles. This is because a variety of factors causes these insects. 

The most common cause of carpet beetles is dirty carpets and rugs. The insects thrive off the dirt. Substances such as dead skin, dead insects, dust particles, and debris are good for carpet beetles.

You are likely to get a carpet beetles infestation if you fail to vacuum your carpets frequently. 

Here are some more causes of carpet beetles.

Stained clothes

It is normal to have dirty clothes stashed in your laundry basket waiting to be laundered.

Clothes with stains should be cleaned immediately. Stained clothes crumpled together in a laundry basket provide the perfect breeding ground for carpet mites. 

Clothes made of natural materials such as cotton, wool, and line are at risk of attracting carpet mites. Your synthetic items are also not spared as mites feed on any stain regardless of the material. 

To avoid mite infestation on your clothes, ensure you wash your stained garments as soon as possible. Pay extra attention to sweat and food stains as mites are attracted to them more. 

If you have to wait long to do your laundry, ensure you keep your heavily stained clothes in an airtight container. This can be a storage tub or a zipper bag. You can also wash off the stained part and leave the main washing for later. 

If you notice any signs of carpet mites on your clothes, wash your clothes in hot water and dry well, preferably outside in the sun. 

Poor/infrequent Housekeeping

As mentioned before, carpet mites flourish on dirt. Therefore, it is highly probable to have carpet mites in your place if your house is unkempt.

An unkempt house has much dirt; shed hair, skin particles, lint, and dust. Carpet mites love this. 

Poor storage options, especially for animal products

Carpet mites are first attracted to animal products before anything else. You are likely to find them in your wool jacket before you see them in your carpet unless your carpet is made from an animal hide. 

Animal-based materials such as silk, feathers, fur, wool, and leather should be well stored. Before storage, ensure you wash and clean these items in hot water and also dry them well. As well, ensure they have no smell on them. 

Store them in sealable materials such as zipped clothing bags, storage tubs, or zip-up comforter bags. 

How to Detect Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are relatively tiny and may be hard to detect unless you carry out a careful investigation.

Here are a few tricks to help you see carpet beetle infestation fast. 

Check for any adult beetles on your surfaces, especially near the windows

The first tell-tale sign of any bug infestation would be spotting adult carpet mites on areas near your windows, vents, and doors. It may be hard to spot them, but here is what to remember.

Adult beetles feed on pollen majorly and would be found near openings leading out (doors, windows, and vents). On the other hand, Larvae beetles feed on textile and fabric and may be hard to spot. So, be on the lookout for adult mites that will lead you to the larvae. 

Check for holes in your furniture and frays on your clothes and fabric materials such as curtain

Larvae beetles eat fabric, so they will cause holes in your clothes. Inspect your clothes for holes. Remember that carpet beetles feed in clusters, so look out for several holes in one spot. Or one large, almost patterned hole. 

You also need to check for holes in your furniture. Carpet beetles also feed on furniture, especially in dark areas such as the underside of your couches or the back of your wardrobe.

Carpet beetles infested furniture may have loose joints or tiny specs of wood falling out of specific areas. 

Look for shed skin

As the larvae grow and develop into adult carpet beetle, they will shed their skin. Carpet beetles have a life cycle that spans an average of nine months, and they shed skin a couple of times throughout this period. 

You can find bits and pieces of shed skin in darker areas of your furniture, for example, at the base or back of your wardrobe. 

Carpet Beetles Removal Tips

The fastest way to remove carpet beetles is by cleaning your entire house. Even then, this may not be enough sometimes. Apart from vacuuming your home frequently, here is what else you can do to get rid of carpet beetles. 

1. Clean and disinfect infected areas

Vacuuming will help remove top layer dust and debris but to get rid of carpet beetles completely, you need to thoroughly clean and disinfected any infested areas. 

Ensure you wipe down all your surfaces with warm water with some disinfectant added to it. Make it a regular habit to keep beetles at bay. 

2. Launder all infected clothing and items

All clothes, soft furnishing, throws that you think to have carpet beetles should be put in the washing machine and laundered under high temperatures. This will also help kill any beetle and larvae eggs. 

  1. Inspect your plants before bringing them indoors

Any plant from outside should be inspected, and its leaves wiped down. Regardless of whether they are artificial or natural plants, wipe down the leaves and, if need be, spray on some mild insecticide. 

3. Seal all gaps

Adult carpet mites find their way into your house through open vents, gaps, and cracks on your doors and windows.

While you can’t seal your windows and doors since you need them for ventilation, any other hole or a crack needs to be sealed immediately. Make sure your windows close securely with no spaces in between them and the walls. 

4. Call pest control for professional help

If the carpet beetle infestation is too much and seemingly out of control for you, then it’s time to call pest control.

A licensed pest control professional will help detect and get rid of carpet beetles.

They will also advise you on how best to keep these bugs out of your house for good. 

Carpet beetles may be tiny insets but, if left unattended, may cause massive damage to your house. Therefore, it is best to always be on the lookout for them.