Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beatles feed mostly on materials of Animal origin. A number of species are active in Australia but the most common is the variegated carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle. Only the larval stage is destructive to  various materials.


Variegated Carpet Beetle

  • 2-3mm Long
  • Mottled Yellow White and Black
  • Oval Shape Similar to Lady Bird
  • Larva up to 4-5mm long when fully fed
  • Larva are reddish brown to dark brown, with stiff dark brown bristles
  • Life Cycle: 9-12 Months
  • Very widespread and destructive


Black Carpet Beetle

  • 3-5mm long
  • Shiny Black to Dark Brown with Brownish Legs
  • Elongate Oval Shape
  • Larva up to 7mm Long when fully fed
  • Life Cycle 6-12 Months
  • Relatively Widespread.


Signs you have a problem

Adult Carpet Beetles are small (typically 5mm long) and oval in shape. Larvae are usually red-brown in colour and endowed with stiff bristles over the body surface. Carpet beetles tend to leave larger areas of damage in dark / sheltered areas (as compared to damage in a number of spots caused by clothes moths). Feeding Carpet Beetle Larvae produce droppings that are similar to sand. Their activity is usually restricted to undisturbed areas where feeding may lead to accumulation of dropping and cast skins. Adults are mostly pollen and nectar feeders and therefore appear in Spring and Summer seasons. Commonly they are found around window sills this time of the year likely trying to get outside to feed on the pollen (flowers).


So you have Carpet Beetles… What do you do?

Pest Controllers can be costly but where infestation has gotten out of hand this may be your best option. Alternatively there are products you can buy to D.I.Y… Firstly it is important that a thorough and extensive inspection be carried out throughout the premises. If treatment is directed merely towards the obvious feeding areas, the less obvious areas may continue to provide adults.


Non Chemical Methods of Control

Hygene as with most pest control plays a very important role in the prevention of pests. The vacuuming or cleaning of carpets, rugs, soft furnishings and upholstered furniture should be carried out regularly. Particular attention should be paid to the edges of carpets along the skirting boards ad areas covered by furniture. Such areas are often neglected and therefore a build up of food sources for pests occurs. Rodents and Birds should be excluded from the premises and pet bedding should be regularly cleaned. Cut flowers brought into the house should be inspected carefully for carpet beetles. Clothes should never be stored in a spoiled condition for any length of time.

Articles of clothing that have an infestation of fabric pests can be freed of pests bu=y placing the clothing in a plastic bag which is then sealed tightly and hanging the bag in the sun for a good few hours. Or if small enough placed in a microwave oven for a few minutes.


Chemical Control

Before treatment the entire premises should be inspected carefully to ensure that potential sources of reinfestation do not escape attention. Where accessible the roof cavity should be checked. Furniture should be moved so that carpet or rugs underneath can be inspected and treated if appropriate. A thorough vacuuming of all carpet areas especially edges and areas covered by furniture, should precede treatment. The contents of the vacuum cleaner should be sprayed or otherwise appropriately discarded.


Surface Sprays 

A number of insecticides are registered for, and employed as surface sprays for the treatment of carpet beetles, formulations are usually emulsifiable concentrates. Space Spraying treatments are directed to feeding sights as well as adjacent areas. Whichever product you choose follow the directions on the label very carefully and for safe use adhere strictly to these directions


Space Sprays

Space sprays will not penetrate into fabric and still air spaces such as cracks and crevices and therefore can only be used as an immediate kill of any beetles that may be on walls, window seals and furniture at the time of application, therefore non residual products are used. Avoid products that produce oily droplets that may stain or make horizontal surfaces slippery.


Dusts

Insecticidal dusts can be applied to sites of infestation such as carpet edges, the should be brushed carefully into the carpet pile to ensure some penetration. Where infestation has occurred in the roof cavity due to nesting birds or rodent carcas, the rodents or nests should be removed and the ceiling space treated with an insecticidal dust, which must be applied copiously and efficiently. Proofing against any future instances of words or rodents should also be strongly considered.


In Summary

The proper control of carpet beetles in a premises relies on:

  1. Thorough inspection to determine the extent of infestation in the building
  2. Careful application of insecticide(s) so as to make likely contact with the pest.

Source: Urban Pest Management in Australia, 5th Edition, 2015

 

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