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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Beetles

Carpet or carpenter beetles are small pinhead-sized pests that, if left untreated, can do great damage to your home.
Adult carpet beetles are small, measuring between 1/16” (2 mm) and 1/8” (4 mm) in length. They are oval in shape. Their colors are usually a mottled combination of yellow, black, white, brown, and orange hues.
Adult carpet beetles feed on nectar and pollen, particularly on the flowers of buckwheat, spiraea, crape myrtle and other plants profuse with pollen. For this reason, they are usually found outdoors.
However, they can fly from the flowers in your garden and stay on your window sills, panes, or drapes. Or they can lodge in on cut flowers and be brought inside the home by accident. 
These beetles do not carry disease. Neither do they feed on fabric or woolens. However, do not sit back when you see signs of these beetles in your home. You have to take action and start effective carpenter beetle extermination right away.
These beetles are fast breeders. A female beetle can lay as many as 50 or 100 eggs. Although beetles usually lay eggs on obvious breeding sites like a woolen carpet stored in your attic, they also do so in unexpected places like ducts, air vents, or baseboards where you can find a nest of pet hair or a mass of dead ants.
The larvae are big eaters that feed on a wide variety of items with natural fibers. They can do great damage not only to homes but to home depots, commercial warehouses, museums, and other sites where they find suitable food.
Carpet beetles larvae do not only infest carpets. They feed on any item made from animal fiber like fur, feathers, wool, leather, and animal skins. Although they have no interest in synthetic and cotton fabric, they can do significant damage to scarves, sweaters, coats, and clothes that are grubby with body oils or food stains or blended with wool. They can infest comforters, down pillows, blankets, upholstery, and taxidermy mounts, leaving holes or threadbare areas.
They thrive on hair, lint, and other similar debris found inside ducts, floor vents, and baseboards. They breed on dead insects, animal remains, and bird nests usually found in light fixtures, attics, basements, and chimneys. Some types occasionally feed on pet food, spices, seeds, and grains.
It is helpful to note that larvae choose to infest fabric folds like collars, hems, or cuffs of items that are not in regular use. They are found in undersides and edges of carpets and rugs rather than in the exposed areas. They are not likely to infest rugs or drapes that are dusted or vacuumed routinely. They also prefer to feed in dark, hidden, and undisturbed areas.

Tips for the Elimination and Prevention of Carpenter Beetles
What actions should you take to safeguard your home against carpet beetles?
Destroying Carpet Beetles
Get rid of carpet beetles – adults, eggs, and larvae, by intensive cleaning and sanitation.

  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, draperies, carpets, and rugs frequently.
  • Use heat and moisture from a steam cleaner to get rid of the stubborn beetles and their eggs and larvae.
  • Dry-clean or wash clothes, blankets, scarves, coats, linen, towels and pillows using detergent and hot water.
  • Spray or wipe down surfaces with a mixture of water and apple cider or white vinegar. Apply the cleaning liquid to hangers, drawers, cupboards, shelves, and window sills.
  • If you have game trophies, mounted animal décor, or museum pieces, clean them regularly.
  • Sprinkle a mild indoor insecticide like boric acid on carpets and furniture. Spray stronger insecticides intended for the control of carpet beetles on crevices, baseboards, and areas under the sink.
  • If the carpet beetles don’t respond to do-it-yourself treatments, call a professional exterminator to help you with carpenter beetle extermination.

        Preventing Infestation
The steps for preventing infestation are similar to the steps for getting rid of carpet beetles. Clean and vacuum your home thoroughly. Remove food sources and, when warranted, use insecticides or boric acid to keep carpet beetles from returning to your home.
In addition, take the following steps:

  • Secure doors, window screens, and vents to prevent carpet beetles from coming in from outside.
  • Repair any holes on your screens. Because carpet beetles are really small, even tiny holes are possible entryways.
  • Do not bring in flowers from outside without inspecting them for adult beetles.
  • Inspect and clean areas where carpet beetles are likely to collect. Clean and vacuum often.
  • Remove their food sources. Throw out old and badly infested clothes and personal items. Get rid of spider webs and nests of bees, wasps, birds, and rodents. Remove dead insects, hair, lint, and other debris that have accumulated.
  • Take out stored linen, furs, and woolens once or twice a year, brush them thoroughly, and air them out in the sun.
  • Put clean items in protective plastic bags or airtight containers before putting them in storage. Put moth balls, crystals, or flakes intended for pest control in layers of paper and put them in with the items.
  • If you are using boxes, chests, or trunks for storage, seal all cracks and holes. If the lid doesn’t fit snugly, use a packaging tape to seal it and to keep it in place.

        Keeping Carpet Beetles Out of Your Home
Keeping your things and surroundings clean is your principal deterrent for preventing a carpet beetle infestation.
Remove trash regularly. Make it a habit to thoroughly vacuum your carpets, draperies, rugs. Frequently wash your clothes, pillows, linens, and towels. All these steps will make your home unattractive to carpet beetles.
You can also do the following additional steps:

  • Carpet beetles love the dark. Open your home to sunlight and your closets to natural light to deter the pests.
  • Avoid furniture, carpets, or rugs that use natural fibers. Carpet beetles larvae feed on natural fiber, particularly on materials with a fibrous animal protein called keratin. They don’t eat synthetic material like rayon or polyester.
  • Get rid of all types of household pests.

If you follow all these steps and the infestation persists, call on professionals to help you with carpenter beetle eradication. They are in the best position to apply effective and environmentally-friendly solutions to your pest problem.

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Published on: 05/24/20 3:43 PM