Those darn kids! It's not the adult carpet beetle that causes the problem; it is the larval stage in the carpet beetle's life that causes damage to carpets and other fabrics inside the home. The larvae of carpet beetle are about a Â¼ inch long and look like a brown caterpillar covered with short bristles. They prefer dark, secluded places like closets, attics or the spaces behind walls and under floors.
If you discover carpet beetle damage on clothing you will need to do a thorough house cleaning including emptying, vacuuming and treating dressers, closets or other storage areas with a product like Talstar Pro. You can treat cracks and crevices with Tri Die aerosol. You need to kill the eggs, larva, and adult forms of the insect to get control. Roughly brush the clothing to kill eggs. Avoid spraying pesticides on clothing, of course. When storing fabrics, seal them in air tight containers and Nuvan ProStrip resin strips to keep beetles out and to kill larvae. Nuvan strips must be used in airtight places so the pesticide can build up in the air, if there is a leak the larvae can survive and keep on feeding. Some people use mothballs, but a negative about using mothballs is that everyone within a hundred feet of you will know you are coming before you get there. Same problem with putting clothing in cedar closets. The smell announces your entrance.
The adult beetle is about the same size but enjoys sunlight and feeds on pollen and nectar. But, because the adults are more open about their presence, they get blamed for everything. Adult carpet beetles shiny black or brightly colored depending on the species. Finding adult carpet beetles indoors on window sills may indicate a larval infestation somewhere in the house.
The larvae of carpet beetles move around from room to room, so the source of an infestation can be difficult to locate and treat. The best way to treat for carpet beetles is to keep areas clean of animal hair, dust, old spider webs or soiled fabrics. Carpet beetle larvae really like that stuff. Vacuum frequently with a beater-bar vacuum cleaner to eliminate eggs lying in the carpets. Eliminating food sources is the best way of preventing carpet beetles, but identifying where they are coming from is the first step in getting rid of an existing infestation.
Carpet beetles originate from an old bird's nest or dead animal hidden behind a wall. Old cereal in boxes or other grains can be good food sources for carpet beetles, too. Adult carpet beetles can be brought into the house on cut flowers. Finding molted shed skins that look like the larva of the beetle, but crusty and brittle, can help you to locate where the beetles are feeding.
Carpet beetle feeding patterns are similar to clothes moths, but carpet beetles generally feed on one large area rather than leaving many small holes. Sometimes carpet beetles will eat objects you wouldn't expect like the felt and hammer inside a piano. The beetles also will eat stuffed animals or the horns of mounted animals. Museums with animals on display often have this problem.
If you want to eliminate carpet beetles but don't want to fumigate or use pesticides, then you can freeze infested objects for two weeks or heat the object for thirty minutes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, these solutions will only work on smaller objects. If it's your carpet that is infested you have little choice, but to treat yourself or call in a professional pest control company to do the work.