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Carpet beetle larvae are the most common clothes-destroying pest in the UK - they're more widespread than moths. Get rid of these destructive pests before they chew through all your favourite clothes with these top-quality pest control products.
Carpet beetles are highly destructive pests that can ruin valuable fabric almost overnight. They can chew through carpets, clothing, curtains, and more in a similar fashion to moths. This means many people misidentify carpet beetles as moths and use the wrong treatments. If you’re not sure what it is that’s chewing through your best jumpers, read on; we’ll help you identify your carpet beetle problem and help you get rid of it!
Adult carpet beetles don’t directly cause us any problems. They live outside for most of the year and mainly eat pollen, so it’s very rare that you’ll actually come across them. However, when the weather gets warmer at the end of spring, they’ll move indoors to lay eggs. The larvae that hatch from these eggs are the things that’ll chew through your clothes. These small grubs are nicknamed “woolly bears” because of their fat bodies covered in bristly hairs, but don’t let the cute name fool you – they shouldn’t be taken lightly! Here’s how you can spot the signs of a woolly bear infestation so you can treat it properly.
The best way to tell the difference between a carpet beetle infestation and a moth infestation is to catch sight of one of the grubs themselves. Woolly bears look quite different from moth caterpillars – they’re plump and hairy, whereas moth caterpillars are longer, thinner, and hairless. You can also identify carpet beetle larvae by their distinctive brown and tan striped markings.
Like most insects, carpet beetle grubs moult as they grow. This means you’ll likely find these shed skins around your wardrobe or in your drawers along with hatched, empty eggs.
Unfortunately, because carpet beetle larvae are so small, you may not notice they’re there until they’ve already started chewing your clothes, carpets, or curtains. However, when many people notice holes in their favourite jumper, they immediately suspect they have a moth problem. This might not be the case, however, and you can sometimes tell by the patterns of holes that appear in the fabric. Woolly bears like to follow threads and seams, so you’ll find they tend to cause loose stitching and tight clusters of holes. Moths, on the other hand, chew through fabric in a random pattern.
Once you’ve confirmed that you do have a carpet beetle problem, you’ll want to get rid of them before they do any more damage. They aren’t the toughest creatures, but they’re very good at hiding and, as they can lay over 100 eggs at a time, are often present in great numbers! Luckily, there are a few ways you can get rid of them.
Before you start applying pest control products, you’ll need to clean your house from top to bottom. Carpet beetles don’t just feed on fabric, they can eat anything that’s made of natural fibres. That includes bits of fluff, dust, pet hair, bird feathers, and more. Like any pest, they’ll only live where there’s a food source, so removing dirt and fluff from your home means they have fewer places to run to. Old bird nests are particularly popular with carpet beetles, so make sure to clear these away wherever you find them. Vacuum up and use anti-bacterial surface sprays, and make sure you maintain a regular cleaning routine until the infestation is gone.
While adult carpet beetles can fly, their larvae can’t. This means the best way to get rid of them is to coat your surfaces in insecticide! One of the sprays you find above should be used inside wardrobes, on carpets, and curtains without staining or leaving lingering odours.
In some cases, you might need to use a smoke bomb to get rid of an infestation. This will spread the insecticide much further than a surface spray would, and it can penetrate deep into cracks and crevices. Make sure you choose a smoke bomb that’s the appropriate size for the room you want to treat – just click into one of the products above for more information.
Wash any potentially infested clothes on your washing machine’s highest setting. You’ll need this to get rid of any larvae that might still be lurking in your clothes. If your clothes are really badly infested, you might have to throw the worst ones away to prevent the larvae from spreading. If you’re worried about them coming back, you could replace your clothes with ones made from synthetic fabrics like polyester.
Once you’ve got rid of your carpet beetle problem, you won’t want them to come back anytime soon! The key to preventing them from returning is to make your home as unappealing to them as possible. Like most pests, carpet beetles like to lay eggs directly onto a food source so their larvae can start feeding as soon as they hatch. If you keep your cotton or wool clothing well-protected and you regularly clean and vacuum any feathers or pet hair, you won’t attract many carpet beetles.
If you have any old or valuable clothes, don’t store them away in a dusty attic – protect them with plastic covers and keep them in a place where you can easily clean around them. If you have any documents or photos that are important to you, make sure you keep them inside a secure plastic container. Remember that paper is a natural fibre, too, so it’ll make for a tasty meal for a woolly bear!