Carpet beetles, a threat to our textiles
Have you spotted carpet beetles in your home ? Have they started to invade your home and you don't know where to start? A carpet beetle invasion can become complicated if you don't act quickly. In this dossier, you'll find a range of answers and products to help you combat this textile-eating insect.
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Latin names : Anthrenus museorum (from museums)
Anthrenus flavipes (furniture beetle)
Anthrenus verbasci (carpet beetle)
Order : Coleoptera
Family : Dermestidae
Size : 3 to 4 mm
Location : any habitat
Period : all year round
What you need to know about carpet beetle
In summer, this insect lives outdoors, gathering flowers (particularly umbellifers and spirea). It lays its eggs in birds' nests, its larvae eating a variety of dried organic waste.
There are several possible sources of infestation: a bird's nest, organic insulation (wool, felt, hemp, etc.). Cut flowers can also help to transport these adult insects into homes.
Don't confuse the adult carpet beetle with a small ladybird, even though both belong to the order of beetles !
The larva lives in the dark (under carpets, cupboards, wardrobes, skirting boards, drawers, etc.) and its diet is very varied as long as it is organic. It mainly contains starch, vegetable spices, chitin, collagen and keratin.
With this type of diet, this insect is particularly formidable. It is capable of attacking all organic materials such as wool, leather, silk, dust, cotton, hair, animal hair and feathers, dandruff, dead insects and animals, carpets, furs, horn, insect collections, naturalised animals, etc, and of course textiles in which it makes large irregular holes.
A single female carpet beetle can cause enormous damage.
In the case of insect collections, it is mainly the smell of stored insects that attracts them. It will lay its eggs as close as possible to the food, in the display case if it can or in front of the place where the smell comes from. Once hatched, the extremely small larvae can penetrate the premises. If the display case is airtight, they will probably reproduce inside until the food runs out.
Whether it's museums, furniture or carpets, it's the carpet beetle's olfactory receptors that guide it to the place where food will be abundant for the larvae it will lay. Like moths, only the larvae are responsible for the damage caused in your home. To disrupt the adult beetle's olfactory receptors, the best prevention is to mask the odours. That's why our grandmothers used to put balls of naphthalene (a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) in their wardrobes, a practice now banned for several years.
Unlike moths, carpet beetles leave no web. They do, however, leave excrement (the size of a grain of salt) or exuviae (former larval moults), which should not be confused with live larvae.
The larva measures around 4.5 mm and resembles a small white worm whose entire body is bristling with tufts of dark hairs, slightly longer on the sides. These hairs can cause allergic skin reactions. It is therefore preferable not to handle them.
For several years now, more and more people have been reporting the presence of carpet beetles in their homes. While it's very easy to treat a cupboard, it's more difficult to treat an entire house. But, rest assured, it can be done. It just takes a little more time, courage and method.
Life cycle of the carpet beetle
Mating takes place immediately after adult life begins. Female carpet beetles can lay between 20 and 200 cream-coloured eggs, 0.5 mm long and with spine-like projections at one end. Over a period of 2 weeks, these eggs are deposited in suitable cracks or cemented with sticky secretions at a potential feeding site for the larvae.
After 2 to 4 weeks, the eggs hatch, giving rise to the characteristic hairy, stocky larvae. Once mature, carpet beetle larvae measure between 4 and 5 mm, are brown and have 3 tufts of golden hairs arranged in pairs on the posterior segments of the abdomen. Their short, 5-parted legs are well developed, with a single claw on the terminal part. Carpet beetle larvae avoid light and roll into a ball when disturbed.
The length of the larval life depends on the temperature, humidity and quality of the food. Soiled foodstuffs are most often their favourites. During this period, the larvae go through at least 6 moults, but the longer they remain in their larval state, the greater the number of moults.
Transformation into a pupa takes place in the last larval envelope. The nymph stage lasts from 10 to 30 days. The adults live for between 2 and 6 weeks and are able to fly to the flowers on which they feed and look for egg-laying sites.
You can prevent carpet beetle infestations by regularly inspecting the areas where carpet beetles live and by adopting good cleaning habits, including regular ventilation of enclosed areas (cupboards, drawers, etc.). Sealing cracks and fissures can also be a good means of prevention.
It is also advisable to remove abandoned bird and insect nests from buildings.
You should also check cut flowers brought home for the presence of adult insects. And don't hesitate to shake and move the inside of your cupboards during the summer to disturb the squatters, because that's when they lay their eggs ...
It's the olfactory receptors that guide the insect and can therefore lead it to where it's not wanted. The best prevention is therefore to mask the fumes likely to attract them. This was the function of the mothballs used by our grandparents, or the lavender bouquet still used today against moths. Our moth repellent sachets work perfectly well to repel carpet beetles and prevent them from settling in drawers or cupboards. The same goes for our neem oil diffusers, hooks and sprays, which can be applied directly to the clothes to be protected (see below). Generally speaking, all our clothes moth products will also work against the beetle.
And what about essential oils ? Organic Atlas Cedar essential oil has really interesting insect-repellent properties, making it an excellent carpet beetle repellent. What's more, it will leave a pleasant woody scent in your cupboards. Simply place a few drops of this essential oil on a porous stone (or on our clay stone diffuser pebble), and place it in your drawers, chests of drawers, wardrobes and cupboards. You can also make small cushions to keep carpet beetles away by soaking them in a little Cedar essential oil. Remember to renew the oil regularly, especially in September, when the eggs hatch! But beware, essential oils will only have a repellent effect against carpet beetles. Remember that they should be used for prevention, not cure.
How to eliminate carpet beetle ?
The first thing to do is to remain calm and proceed in an orderly fashion. The following information will depend on the severity of the attack. Below is a suggested method for dealing with a confirmed invasion.
1. Empty your cupboard completely
2. Disinfect" the clothes: freeze for 48 hours for all items that can withstand cold or at a temperature > 70°C. You can also use Aries Textiles moth spray to treat any clothes affected or those you don't need immediately (winter/summer clothes, etc.). This spray, which contains neem oil, will also work against carpet beetles, even though it is primarily targeted at clothes moths.
Once the clothes have been treated, you can seal them in plastic bags or a completely airtight cover for complete peace of mind.
3. For clothes, you can also put them in a bin bag and fill the air space with insecticide. It's best to use Ecodoo insecticide made from alcohol and essential oils. Close the bag tightly and leave the insecticide to work overnight.
4. Vacuum all the nooks and crannies, especially the dusty ones, to remove eggs, larvae, insect corpses and organic debris that could feed the carpet beetles.
5. Treat all surfaces, nooks and crannies, cracks, etc. with Insecticide for All Insects (4J at 5%). This 500 ml spray bottle will treat about 5 m². For larger surfaces, use the same product in its concentrated form and dilute it at 5% in a spray bottle.
6. Put your clothes back on.
7. Finally, to disrupt their receptors, you need to install products that smell good but mask the odours. To do this, we offer 2 references. Don't be surprised if they're aimed at clothes moths. It also works perfectly for carpet beetles ! :
a - Pack of 10 packets of clothing moth repellent (contains cedarwood essential oil, an excellent repellent) packaged in a sealed aluminium sachet, to be placed on shelves.
b - ARIES textile moth repellent containing 2 diffusers that can be hung on a wardrobe hanger.
9. To be on the safe side, once the 4J insecticide treatment has been carried out, you can use the Habitat Biovétol fogger, an automatic diffuser made exclusively from active ingredients of plant origin (available in 3 different formats).
Go directly to the detailed product sheets for carpet beetle control.
*PAE : Ready to use
Frequently asked questions about carpet beetle
Q: I have a few questions about the use of your products on anthrax.
a- For the Ecodoo Tous Insectes aerosol, how much should I use for a 30-litre bin bag (3 sprays) ?
b- Does the smell kill carpet beetles or just scare them away ?
c- How long does it take for the eggs to develop ?
d- How long do they and the carpet beetles last, enclosed in a plastic box, in which I now keep my clothes? I then spray 2 or 3 times.
A: The answers in the order:
a- It all depends on how long you press the button. According to the manufacturer's information: 30 seconds in a 12 m3 room. So, if you spray for 3s, i.e. for 1 volume of 1.2 m3, for a 30l bag you're using 40 times the manufacturer's dose, I think that's more than enough.
b- This is not a repellent but an insecticide. Saturating the air in a bag forces insects to breathe in insecticide and die very quickly.
c- Concerning the carpet beetle (verbasci): 40 eggs which hatch after 10 to 20 days.
d- A larva trapped in an airtight box sprayed with Ecodoo insecticide dies very quickly. Without insecticide, no idea. If the box is completely airtight, the insect will die of asphyxiation but not of starvation. They can also die of thirst if the air is dry. As for the eggs, they will resist until they hatch and then do the same as the larva.
Q: I'd like to treat my parquet floor (grooves) against carpet beetles. 1/ It's an old, beautiful (!) varnished oak floor. Can I apply your products without damaging my floor ? 2/ What is the protocol for carpet beetles ?
A: If your floor is sealed and not waxed, there's no problem, but it's best to treat it with a spray in the groove (make sure the bottom of the groove is wet) as there's no point in treating the floor itself as the insects won't be inside. If you have insects, larvae or eggs in the grooves, they will be destroyed by the insecticide.
Q: I seem to have a small family of beetles in my flat. You say that you can get rid of them with insecticide. But which of your range is the most recommended for this type of beetle ?
A: You have a choice, depending on where they are located. You'll find several insecticides on our site, in different packaging. 4J and Pistal are effective on eggs and adults, but only if they are affected by the product. Ecodoo aerosol is a pyrethrum-based neurotoxicant that does not kill eggs but can kill adults that "breathe in" the product.
Q: My clothes are full of holes, but not my woollen clothes or my cotton clothes. What insects can cause this ? What solution can I use to treat my clothes ? I have a cat, could it be my pet ?
A: If there are holes in your clothes, you probably have moths or beetles. If they're big holes, it's certainly carpet beetle.
Q: Do you have a product that can replace naphthalene for insect boxes ? It's not clothes moths but collection insect boxes, I used to put a piece of naphthalene in a corner, but since it's no longer on sale, the insects are being eaten away by the bugs...
A: It's probably the museum beetle, which is a common sight in insect collections. These insects are attracted by the smell of "corpses". The naphthalene is only there to mask the smell, which generally works well. You can replace this product with our cedar essential oil-based clothes moth repellent packets, which have a strong smell but don't last as long (about 1 month). Before keeping insects away, you need to destroy the larvae that have probably settled in your collection. Our pyrethrum and alcohol-based ecodoo insecticide spray (which doesn't get wet and dries very quickly) should do the job without a problem.
Q: For the last 1 week I've had ladybird-like creatures climbing up the side of the windows. They have 1 white fang on each side of their mouth (I don't know the name, sorry). I've also hung up some washing outside and found 1 cotton jumper with holes in it. I found one in the dining room. What should I do ? Thank you for helping me, I'm making myself sick, I'm afraid of having them in the house. I don't even dare air the house any more. I've put lots of insecticide around the windows and in the house. I don't know if there's a connection, but I've got little holes in the garden. Could this be their nest ? What should I put in the holes ? I don't know whether I should use crawling or flying insecticide.
A: I think your bugs are carpet beetles.
Q: I'd like your advice on a product to eliminate carpet beetles and clothes moths, because I don't know which one is making holes in my clothes, especially the ones I've been wearing to sleep for some time now. This has been going on for years; I used to see butterflies, so I called in an exterminator. It stopped, only to start up again a few months later. For more than two years now, I haven't seen butterflies but the holes in my clothes, at stomach level. I'm constantly spraying Neem oil diluted with water, in my drawers, on the mattress and wardrobe. We're a family of four and only my clothes are attacked and that's at night when I'm sleeping! Do you have any products to recommend and do you deliver in Quebec, Canada ?
A: If you see butterflies flying, it's moths. If you don't see anything flying, they're probably carpet beetles, the adults looking like brown ladybirds. Incidentally, the description of the holes matches. You say you spray neem oil with water, but is this oil cosmetic or insecticide? If it's cosmetic, I'm not sure it's very effective and in any case, neem is not an insecticide but rather a repellent. As with the moth, it's the larva that makes the holes and hides during the day. According to our customers, carpet beetles are very difficult to get rid of. 5% insecticide is very good for treating surfaces, Ecodoo aerosol for treating enclosed spaces, pistal for treating cracks, crevices and other nooks and crannies, and Aries moth repellent for treating clothing. All these products are effective against moths and carpet beetles. We deliver to Canada with no problem.
Q: Hello, carpet beetles have infested our house. Larvae seem to lodge under our floor between the joists and despite 2 smoke bombs 4 weeks apart, we still find adults in the living room near the baseboards. We would like to find 1 product that could kill these larvae and adults when they come out of the floor at the baseboard level because it is impossible for us to have access under the floor. Do your products such as 4J or Pistal exert their contact action over several days or only for a few minutes after application? We have 1 infant of 2 months and 2 children, are these products harmful for them ? Should I leave the premises after application of the indicated product(s) and if so, for how long ? Thank you for your opinion. Cordially
A: Hello, the difficulty of a treatment under the floor is actually to be able to reach the larvae. Our insecticides are indeed contact insecticides. On the other hand, they will not have a remanence of several days. We want to stay on products whose composition is as natural as possible. You will therefore find neither synergizer nor additive, making it possible to reinforce the power of the active ingredient or to increase the persistence of the product. The 4J, like the Pistal act immediately (or almost immediately) on contact with the larvae, eggs or adult insects but degrade themselves in a few hours (depending mainly on the temperature of the room).
Compared to the harmfulness of the product, there is no concern. Nothing to do with commercial smoke bombs. Pyrethrum degrades on its own and disappears in a few hours. Depending on the product used, there may remain some traces of potassium soap or paraffin (which gives the asphyxiating effect on larvae and eggs), but they can be cleaned without any problem with a damp sponge or mop. In addition, the advantage of these contact insecticides (unlike a fumigant) is that you can ventilate during the treatment (and after) without worry. The smell of pyrethrum and the complex of essential oils can give a slightly strong smell.
However, as a precaution, because pyrethrum may be natural, it is not therefore harmless (especially when it is handled in its concentrated form), it is preferable to leave infants, children and cats in a room other than that treated. . The advantage is that 4 to 6 hours after the treatment, everyone can reinvest the treated part.
Q: Hello, I would like to treat my apartment (26m²) against carpet beetles. I have already bought Ecodoo product to treat all my clothes, bought moth repellent to stick in my closet, but I would like to completely treat my apartment to be sure to get rid of it. I have 2 cats, this weekend they are going to my sister's so I can do all this quietly. To treat the whole apartment I have to buy the 4J Insecticide concentrated with vegetable pyrethrum of 125ml ?
I plan to spray everything on Saturday morning, let it work and come back Sunday afternoon to wash and vacuum everything. Should I bleach afterwards ? Or do I just suck ? Is it dangerous for my cats ?
A: 4J Insecticide Concentrate: Yes. Against the carpet beetle, we recommend a dilution of this product to 5%. A 125ml bottle of concentrated 4J insecticide, once diluted in water at 5%, will allow you to cover approximately 25m². The bottle of 250ml concentrate, the double, i.e. 50m², etc. Your apartment is 26m², so a 125ml concentrated bottle should be able to cover the apartment for one treatment. Be careful, however, to also calculate the interior surfaces of the cabinets/cupboards. These surfaces will increase the treatment area to be provided.
Once treated, pyrethrum will act quickly on all insects that come into contact with the product, including eggs and larvae. 4J insecticide is a contact insecticide. That is to say that it will only act if you manage to put the product in contact with the insects. This data is important. The more surface you treat, the more you increase your chances of destroying them. Give preference to the treatment on the interior surfaces of cupboards, chests of drawers, drawers, having taken care to empty the spaces. Also target the surfaces where you have observed them, floors and carpets, etc.
There is no need to bleach afterwards. The surfaces can be washed with clean water to remove the small film of potassium soap that the product may have deposited. In order :
- A big vacuum cleaner before the treatment
- 4J insecticide treatment
- Again, a big vacuum cleaner
- Then a washing of the soil.
The 4J treatment must be done in the absence of the animals. The product containing pyrethrum, it could get under their paws, then ingest it while grooming. On the other hand, if the treatment is done on Saturday morning in the absence of the cats. You can come back with them on Sunday without any problem and reintegrate them into the apartment. The pyrethrum will have dried out and degraded. There will be no more risk for the animals.
Q: I placed an order recently to control a carpet beetle infestation in my apartment. I alternated this weekend with the 3 products, namely the 4J, Ecodoo and Pistal. I wanted to know if there was a contraindication to using these products frequently and in our presence. Last weekend I sprayed the baseboards with it and we were away from the apartment.
Also, is there any risk for a 3 year old child?
I am asking you these questions because although reassured by the explanations contained in your site, I am beginning to be worried on the other hand by what I read on many forums on the fact that insecticides must be avoided at all costs. And finally, I observe a very slight decrease in the number of carpet beetles observed but nothing obvious. Do you have any testimonials from customers who got rid of these critters? And if so, after cb of time? Thank you so much for your help. I am somewhat desperate.
A: Most commercial insecticides are composed of synthetic insecticides (organo-chlorine, carbamate, organo-phosphorus or pyrethroid). There are indeed many studies that have demonstrated the harmful consequences of the use of this type of insecticide on our health and on the environment. The insecticides we sell are exclusively composed of vegetable pyrethrum (which is therefore not synthetic). We have also recently excluded from our catalog a reference from Kapo Vert because they have started to add the formula of PBO, a synergist which increases the persistence and reinforces the action of the product, which is highly controversial.
We are therefore very careful to use only natural substances in insecticides. On the other hand, although we are talking about natural active ingredients, we must remain cautious about their use. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe. It is therefore necessary to respect the precautions for use of this type of product. It is a contact product and has no persistence. After their application, they will only act for a few hours. There is therefore no point in leaving the products in place. Remember to ventilate well during and after the treatment. A leaching of the soils and the treated parts can also be carried out.
The only risk (even if it is minor) for a young child would be that it remains in the same room at the time the application of the products is made. He could inhale the product or move on all fours on the treated surfaces. It is therefore recommended to set it aside for a few hours.
We often have people who encounter carpet beetle infestations (especially in the spring). Most people get away with it. But each scenario is different. It depends on the degree of invasion, the configuration of your home and especially the way in which we proceed to apply the products. It is for this reason that we try to describe in our file on carpet beetles the methodology of action. It is to be adapted according to each case. But, from experience, more is better than less. It's no wonder you didn't get them all in one treatment. This is why we recommend repeating a treatment approximately 1 week after the first one. This allows you to destroy the carpet beetles that have evolved from an egg stage to an adult stage in 7 days and that you had not touched in the 1st treatment. With each treatment, you weaken and diminish them.
It is important to carry out each treatment in one go, in order to be sure to touch a maximum of anthrene and to prevent it from moving.