carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

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carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by PNW86 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:49 pm

Not sure where to post this - any experience or advice is appreciated.

My wife and I own a 3 year old home in the Northwest. This winter, larva/pupae were crawling on the walls of multiple rooms. We killed all that we encountered, and determined that we havevaried carpet bettles.

We vacuum the house daily (via a new roomba 960 and regular vacuum for the stars). We washed, dried all clothing and wrapped it in plastic (from the dry cleaners). We went through every food item and threw out anything that looked like it could possibly be infested. We found 2 "boxed goods" with a single carpet beetle in each. We basically threw almost everything out.

Since that time our clothes, and I mean all of them, have either been in plastic bins or plastic. We continue to freeze and then ziplock or glass jar food products that we purchase. As it sounds, this has been a complete and total pain in the ass.

Today we had our first warm sunny day of spring, and found the adult bastards (they are tiny) all over...I bet we killed 10 of them. During the last two months, we killed 2-4 adults per week. Both my wife and I look over every room in the house almost daily; they are easy to spot as our house is a light yellow color and about 1600 sq feet.

Anyone ever deal with this? It has been such a pain in the ass. I don't know that it is worth calling an exterminator. I have read what I could on the internet. Aside from initially going through everything (clothing and food) and continuing to keep stuff packaged up, vacuuming daily and killing everything we see, is there anything else anyone knows of that we can do? Tired of dealing with is a bit draining at this point to wake up at 6am for work and have to untie a plastic bag to get a shirt and pair of pants out. :confused :(

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by finite_difference » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:54 pm

1. Find a good exterminator in your area (ask around or check yelp/online reviews) and call them to help you. If they disappoint call a different exterminator. Rinse and repeat.

2. Life is short and this sounds like an annoying problem. But if money can solve it, then it is really not a major problem :) I would be surprised if a good exterminator can't deal with it effectively for you.

(I assume you already did your research online and ordered whatever traps or bait or spray or whatever you would need to deal with the problem. Killing them one by one is probably not going to work unless you can get to the source.)
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Kalo » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:55 pm

I would call an exterminator.

"When people say they have a high risk tolerance, what they really mean is that they are willing to make a lot of money." -- Ben Stein/Phil DeMuth - The Little Book of Bullet Proof Investing.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Gnirk » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:34 pm

I would love to know if an exterminator can get rid of them. We've had them in our house almost since it was built. It seems they had been in the rental my husband lived in while the current house was being built, and hitchiked in some of his clothes. They eat just about any kind of fabric, but especially like wools and cottons. Nothing like finding a hole in a nice cashmere sweater! :(
I've heard they don't like cedar, so have scattered small cedar blocks around the closet.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by fposte » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:37 pm

I'm in the Midwest, so obviously we've got a different climate here. But I had a savage infestation of carpet beetles, and it happened right when I had a health crisis and couldn't deal with the situation, so they really got entrenched before I could take action. In my case, I had a lot of clothing damage.

Absolutely call an exterminator, and keep some samples on hand to show him so he can confirm that's what you've got. Also be prepared to have to do more to your clothing than you did--usually what's recommended is an hour on high in the dryer for dry clothes, or three days in a freezer. If you think you had any soft furnishings in vulnerable spots (I had a chair that was a clothing dump spot), they should probably get treated--a carpet cleaner did the on-the-spot wet vac thing for my chair. They like warmer spots, so moving clothes down to a cool basement off-season is probably a good plan. I also put those bug glue boards open and flat under my hanging clothes so I can see if anything's falling off them. (Oh, and cedar doesn't make any difference.)

Carpet beetles are kind of endemic, so having the occasional stray in the house isn't a big deal, but they really can get out of hand.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by sport » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:59 pm

We had those in the house when I was a child. They lived in the wool wall-to-wall carpet. Mom killed them off with aerosol insecticides. When it was time to replace the carpet, they bought polyester carpet.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Call_Me_Op » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:28 am

I have them. They are really quite harmless. I kill one if I see it. To me, this is not worth hiring an exterminator, as the poisons they are likely to use would be far more harmful than those little beetles.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by MtnTraveler » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:10 pm

I've dealt with them and the memory is still way too vivid after 15 years. An exterminator identified what they were and sold us some useless chemicals but another exterminator told us the plain hard truth - you have to find the source and eliminate it. We knew the carpet beetles were coming from a window box in the kitchen so we took off the formica ledge, expandable foamed the cracks and celebrated our victory. 10 minutes later we realized it was not going to be that simple as they were finding new ways out. Basically what we found out was that there was a tiny whole left open to the outside and mice had been coming in for years. All the previous owners had pets and the mice were storing dry pet food in the one wall (and under all the cabinets in the kitchen). The carpet beetles in turn were eating the dog food. We ended up taking out all the cabinets to clean under them and had to open up majority of the whole wall that had the window box. In the end we filled 15 large trash bags of dog food, dead mice, carpet beetles, and insulation. We re-insulated, dry walled, and repainted the wall and have not had a carpet beetle since. This was our first house and really bad experience. Now in hindsight we know why the previous owners were suddenly willing to drop the price further (after not dropping it at all for 6 months) if we closed in less than a month. They knew as soon as the temperatures heated up the problem would be apparent and they didn't want to deal with it. When taking out the cabinets we saw their attempts at chemicals, etc to eliminate the problem but the only way was to find the source and deal with it. It was a real big pain to deal with but my dad helped us out quite a bit with manual labor and we were able to rectify everything for under 2k (we found out when pulling things out that we needed new countertops as well as the previous owners never caulked when they put in a new kitchen sink so the underside was all molded out).

So basically if they really are carpet beetles the only way to deal with it is find the source and eliminate it. You shouldn't see many during the winter months but activity will pick up heavily during the warmer months. We were finding a hundred or so a day in our kitchen once June hit that year to give you an estimate of the size of our problem.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by fposte » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:12 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:I have them. They are really quite harmless.
They weren't harmless to me economically--I had to throw out a lot of clothes they damaged, and I need to get a chair reupholstered. If you just mean harmless as "don't bite humans," termites are harmless too.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by PNW86 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:28 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I am in contact with an exterminator and will let you know how it goes. I have an energy star home so as far as I know the place is pretty sealed up. Not sure how they got in but again I really appreciate your thoughts and will update.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Helodriver » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:33 pm

Carpet beetles can be a real bummer.

Have you looked at the website Didn't want to post a link not 100% about forum rules on that. They have a great write up on the primary species with photos and how they behave and treatments for each.

We found carpet beetles one spring several years ago. We suspect that their primary foothold was in a antique couch with jute and hair backing in it. They also were in the attic eating the cellulose insulation. What they really loved was areas where cat or dog hair could accumulate even in small amounts. We have found that they hide in the corners of cardboard boxes and like to nest in the corrugated edges of cardboard boxes. Also down comforters and down pillows.

When we find something that has been infested we put it into a large 60 gallon plastic barrel with large spin on sealing lid. I think they were originally used for importing olives. Locally available at a farm supply store. I put a piece of dry ice from the grocery in the bottom of the barrel and fill with whatever they are on. Seal the lid firmly but not completely and as the dry ice sublimates the co2 displaces the air and kills them overnight. Just be careful use a small piece of dry ice and close the barrel in a otherwise ventilated area.

Plantings near the house such as Spirea have been suspected of attracting carpet beetles. As do wasp nests and bird nests and rodentia in general.

Cleaning and vacuuming and then treating chemically the no or low traffic areas such as the attic and around the interior perimeter of the basement. also putting "warning" traps in the closets to alert us of a new arrival. Keeping it clean and dry has been our strategy and has kept their numbers low.
Good luck.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by PNW86 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:07 pm

This should be helpful to others.

First pest pro quoted me a price, and was ready to come spray my home. As fate would have it, they didn't follow up with their contract via email. I looked for a more local company and found rave reviews, and found out why.

They guy explained to me that if it is only a few, not dozens or hundreds, they probably came in from outside. New vinyl windows have holes that allow condensation out, and these things can crawl in through them, or window screen tracks.

He advises everyone to get a $30 vacuum from home depot called the stinger. You must vacuum your whole house but use the stinger vacuum hose to carfully vacuum all edges of carpeting and all baseboards. He told me they feed off any organic matter, which generally collects against the baseboards, and often lay their eggs in the baseboards. This explains why I always spot them crawling up the walls or at the edge of a wall and carpet. Focus on the baseboards. Also hit the window and sliding door tracks.

He says their cycle is about 2 weeks. Physically removing them, and their eggs, and then doing a second pass 2 weeks later should get rid of most or all of them. He told me that he advises everyone to try this first, and then if not successful, to call him and he can spray if necessary. He also mentioned he has only received one call back regarding this problem, and that he did not believe the person had tried vacuuming thoroughly; so his advice must work!

As others advised, you also need to check for birds nests in the eves or attic, as well as bees nests. He was very confident vacuuming would solve this.

Hope this is helpful to others as well. I have to get back to vacuuming now....

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Beetlehater » Wed May 24, 2017 11:26 am

Black Carpet Beetles are a nightmare until you understand how to treat them.
1. Identify that they are carpet beetles.
2. Vacuum your entire house often
3. Carpet beetle come from outside, you will definitely find them in window sills, have your entire house perimeter treated with spray and baited by and exterminator
4. Wash all clothing in hot soapy water any infested clothes or carpets especially area carpets should be thrown away if possible you will need to have the carpets remaining have them steamed cleaned to remove larvae (these beetle larvae fibers can be extremely itchy and feel like fiber glass they can also cause respiratory problems.
5. Have an exterminator spray a growth inhibitor particularly in/near baseboards as they travel through the pipes
6. Use HOT SHOT Foggers to fog every room of your entire house regardless if you are seeing them in only one room cause they travel the pipes. The fogging may need to be done two to three times if it is a bad infestation. Fogging can reach hidden areas that you or an exterminator cannot get to!
7. Carpet beetles do not bite people, its there hair fibers and the larvae that come in contact with the skin that cause irritation.
8. Carpet beetles do not like dust so using carpet fresh with baking soda or oxyclean or Borax will cause them to leave the carpet.
9. This process will take time be patient and diligent and follow all the steps.
10. They do like birds nests and can crawl the house if you have shrubs close to the house cut shrubs back at least 6 inches if possible.
11. Good Luck!

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by random_walker_77 » Wed May 24, 2017 9:31 pm

In addition to vacuuming frequently, you can also apply diatomaceous earth. If you think they're coming in from outside, apply outside your house, and you can apply along your baseboards or even into your carpet. Be sure you buy the food-grade DE, and wear a dust mask as inhaling it probably isn't so good. ... le-control

See the 4400 reviews at amazon: ... food+grade

This one comes with a duster: ... food+grade

Note, 10lb goes a really long ways. But it's useful in the garden too. If you do buy from amazon, use the bogleheads link in the upper right...

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by azurekep » Fri May 26, 2017 9:06 pm

PNW86 wrote:
He advises everyone to get a $30 vacuum from home depot called the stinger. You must vacuum your whole house but use the stinger vacuum hose to carfully vacuum all edges of carpeting and all baseboards.
I could look it up myself, but I'm lazy... :)

Does the stinger use a battery or a power cord?

I've had bad experiences with vacuum batteries. They don't seem to last long.

Any other comments on usability, reliability, etc. would be appreciated.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by Longtermgrowth » Sat May 27, 2017 3:35 am

As with roaches, boric acid powder will work on carpet beetles if they come in contact with it. I have many low traffic areas dusted with boric acid. If you decide to use it, just be sure to keep away from food prep areas.

I have noticed they will hang around areas where there is dust from paper towels, toilet paper, etc, since they enjoy eating it. Ideally you want to catch them during their actual beetle phase, before they have laid their eggs, keeping those locations in mind during your daily visual sweep. In the larvae phase, they shed their hairs and can cause allergic reactions.

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Re: carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle)

Post by maria00200 » Sat May 27, 2017 6:15 am

We had a similar problem. I'm not sure if they were carpet beetles or what but they looked similiar to a fruit fly but a tiny bit bigger. Whatever they were, I was very upset. This is what we did:
1.) identify the source and eliminate. In our case, it was an old box of dog treats I had in the back of a closet that i had forgotten was there.
2.) Clean and vacuum entire house thoroughly, every corner, all closets, everything. I even emptied out all closets and washed all the clothes that were in there in hot water.
3.) Go buy an insect killer from Lowes or Home Depot. I forgot what we used specifically. Buy the bigger size one.
4.) Spray all baseboards, closets, window sills, corners of the house. Spray outside perimeter of home. Open windows and leave the house for a few hours.
5.) Repeat #4 if they still aren't gone in a few days. Ours were gone within a week after this.

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