Carpet beetles are one of the most troublesome pests to keep at bay. The is because they can locate food items even in hidden places and spread throughout the premises fast. Their diet consists of plant and animal products like silk, wool, leather, hair brushes having natural bristles, fur, feathers and carpet fibres. Sometimes, they may even feed on grains and certain spices.
The first step towards successful control of carpet beetles is ensuring proper exclusion and sanitation. In case a full-fledged infestation exists in the concerned area, implementation of a well-planned integrated pest management program becomes necessary. Two most important steps of that program is elimination of the sources and protection of stored items:
Elimination of the Sources
- Accumulations of hair, dead insects, lint and other debris must be cleared away immediately. It is better to throw away the severely infested items. Spider webs and nests of birds, rodents, wasps and bees must be removed, as they can serve as a harbour for carpet beetles to infest a property.
- Regular cleaning of draperies, carpets, rugs, closets, upholstered furniture, etc. is an effective control technique. Frequent vacuuming must also be done for depleting the food sources.
- Since perspiration and food stains on fabrics usually draw the attention of carpet beetles, all washable items must be dry cleaned or laundered in hot water. This method can also eliminate other pests existing within the fabrics.
- Mounted animal specimens like game trophies or museum pieces must be cleaned on a daily basis or placed within a freezer periodically for 10 to 14 days. Stored linens, furs and woolens must be inspected and brushed semi-annually in the sun.
Protection of Stored Items
- The items vulnerable to carpet beetles must be placed in airtight containers by inserting a paper layer after every few inches. Putting one or two moth balls, crystals or flakes inside the containers can help.
- In general, closets are not airtight and opened frequently on top of that. However, a closet can be transformed into an airtight storage space by caulking any cracks or gaps using plastic wood or putty.
- A chest, box, garment bag or trunk can also serve as a good storage option and keep carpet beetles away. All one needs to is seal the cracks or holes, and wrap the whole thing with heavy paper before sealing by means of tape.
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