Could Carpet Beetles be eating your carpet?
We all know the damage that moths and silverfish can cause to clothes and soft furnishings like curtains and fabric sofas, but did you know we have a destructive carpet beetle native to Australia?
The Australian Carpet beetle’s natural habitat is woodland and forest areas where they commonly feed on pollen in their adult state. With urbanisation, the beetle has found our homes are the perfect location in which to lay their eggs. Dark, damp areas under furniture and around the skirting boards are their favourite places to lay their eggs, providing the larvae with an ongoing food source.
Once the larvae have hatched, they feed on animal proteins found in hair, feathers and dried animal products such as woollen carpets and rugs. They are more active in warm environments – meaning Queensland homes experience the highest instances of damage due to these little pests.
How to identify carpet beetles:
Australian carpet beetles are not the only variety of carpet beetle. There are many different species with similar characteristics. As larvae, the Australian beetles are small brown grubs clearly distinguishable by the banded stripes across their bodies. They can be up 4 – 5mm in length. Other species are a similar size and colouring, only covered in small bristle-like hairs.
The beetle larvae can be destructive household pests as they permanently damage fabrics, furnishings and clothing that contain cotton, wool, silk, hair, fur or feathers. Synthetic items are resistant to attack, but blends of synthetic and natural fibres can also be damaged. They can eat carpet and rug fibres all the way through.
Signs of infestation in your flooring:
The larvae commonly avoid natural light. Darker areas like the corner skirting-board areas of walk-in robes, under beds and around the base of furniture is where you are most likely to spot them. You will notice large irregular shaped patches or perhaps holes in your carpet or fabric, and the larvae also leave behind their skins as they moult. They like to eat from the top of the pile, so you may see them in the carpet fibres if you look closely enough.
How to prevent attack and infestation:
If you are looking at buying carpet, ensure your carpet has been treated following the latest standards. Your sales assistant should be able to provide you with this information.
Carpets and rugs manufactured in Australia from natural fibres are treated with insect resistant chemicals, as are most of the imported products. However, the concentration is not sufficient to kill the beetles, their eggs or their larvae, so it only acts as a deterrent. Unfortunately, no product manufacturer will provide a warranty against insect attack.
The priority with carpets, rugs and fabrics is to limit the ability of the pest to enter your home and lay eggs in the first place. Look at sealing crevices and keeping flyscreens and doors closed wherever possible to stop the adult beetles from flying in.
Vacuum once a week, focussing on the areas around the skirting boards, the legs of furniture and in dark places. Move your furniture, if possible, to ensure you regularly clean under these items, so the larvae do not have a place to hide. Ensure any dampness is quickly dried up, paying particular attention to areas around your windows and doors.
The beetles can also live in flowers and birds nests, so inspection of these items should be undertaken if you are bringing them into your home.
What do I do if I find carpet beetle larvae?
If you notice live carpet beetle larvae, you should call and have professional pest control deal with these pests. Following the pest control, you should have the areas professionally cleaned to remove any remnants or eggs left in the carpets.
Annual professional carpet dry cleaning will ensure your carpets, rugs and runners receive a thorough once over. Elite Carpet Dry Cleaning professionals are aware of the telltale signs of carpet beetle infestation. If you have any questions or think these pests may have damaged your carpet, please call our experienced team to discuss your options. Many of our operators are also licensed pest control experts, so we can make easy work of eliminating these beetles for you.