Carpet beetles are tick-like insects that infest carpets, as indicated by their name, but can also feed on wool, fur, cotton silk and other animal skins. These small creatures can come in several colors brown, yellow, black on white and orange with red, white or black scales. Although they do not bite, fur and skin shedding may cause annoying skin rashes and allergic reactions.
Carpet beetles enter by flying through windows and vents and have the ability to multiply quickly, and an infestation can be hard to control if not stopped early. However here are some steps to help you get rid of carpet beetles from you bed. In this article we will tell you how to get rid of carpet beetles in mattresses.
Identify Source Of Infestation
Carpet beetles are often mistaken with bed bugs and other pests, and therefore must first be identified before extermination. The focal point of the infestation would usually have the most damage and have visible beetles. These beetles can also inhabit furniture, so be sure to check your bed frame as well. To identify carpet beetles, look for the following:
- Adult, oval carpet beetles, in the colors mentioned above, that can typically fly
- Smooth larvae with tufts of hair that may also be smooth
- Hair shed from larvae that forms brown shell-like grains
- Brown pellets of feces, the size of a sugar crystal
Remove all Bedding
Once a source of infestation has been located, remove all bedding and carpeting that is present near the site of infestation. To take extra precaution, it might be a good idea to also remove any clothing or upholstery present in the room as well.
Once removed sort through and set aside any fabrics that show extensive damage. This may be a site of a secondary infestation and may contain eggs of the carpet beetles. Unfortunately, the only way to stop a recurring infestation would be to throw away such items completely or else they would always pose a risk. Pillows should also be checked for carpet beetle damage, and ideally replaced if not washable.
Remaining fabrics and bedding should be washed thoroughly, in accordance with manufacturer guidelines, preferably in warm water. This should kill off any adult or larvae populations present in the bedding. Make sure that all ‘dry clean only’ bedding is not washed but rather dry cleaned and your dry cleaner is aware that they need to be processed separately.
Once the bedding has been removed, vacuum all sides of the mattress thoroughly. Also vacuum the bed stand, especially underneath the bed stand as the carpet beetles prefer dark environments. It would also be suitable to vacuum the entire house so that any fleeing beetles are also removed.
All non washable fabric should also be vacuumed. Vacuuming should be done several times a day for the first week and at least once a week following that. It would also be preferential to hire a professional steam cleaning surface if your mattress and carpet manufacturers recommend it on their labels.
It is necessary that you use adequate insecticide, specified for carpet beetles, around the bedroom including on all furniture. It would be helpful if the furniture, especially the bed is taken apart so that all the nooks and crannies that the carpet beetle might have spread to are exposed. Targeting areas that may gather lint will also be helpful. Do NOT spray any bedding or the mattress itself. While spraying make sure that your skin is covered, and that you are wearing gloves. Follow all directions given on the container. Discontinue use if you feel nausea, dizziness and/or vomiting.
Spray Boric Acid
Boric acid should be used in areas where it is difficult for insecticide to reach. To make an appropriate solution add 1 tablespoon of boric acid to every 2 cups of hot water. Stir until the powder dissolves. Boric acid is a bleach and therefore adequate precautions must be taken before use.
Do not use any dark material. Alternatively, one might sprinkle boric acid in powder form into crevices and cracks.
Set Hormone Glue Traps
In case of extreme infestations, glue traps can be placed throughout the house to trap beetles. This can be also done during the insecticide spraying process to prevent the carpet beetles from migrating to other parts of your house. Traps are usually placed at openings such as doors and windows and around or under the bed. The pheromones released will attract stray beetles and entrap them. These glue traps can be used as a long term solution as well with replacements needed every 2 weeks. However, before buying the product make sure that it is specified for carpet beetles as different pheromones attract different pests.
Preventing Carpet Beetles in Mattresses.
It would also be beneficial to look at a couple of ways one can prevent a carpet bug infestation of their mattress. These ways includes in you how to get rid of carpet beetles in mattresses.
Use A Mattress Protector
A mattress protector is a plastic or fabric cover for mattresses that is usually easy to put on and can be washed. It forms a protective barrier against all types of insects and bugs and is a cost effective solution to reducing bug infestations.
Use Synthetic Bedding
Bedding, including mattresses, made of natural materials such as wool and cotton can become a good breeding ground for carpet beetles due to their high nutritional value. Hence, switching to synthetic, polymer materials, which are indigestible by the bugs, will reduce chances of infestation.
Getting rid of carpet beetles from mattresses can be a difficult and lengthy task but early detection and adequate prevention can reduce the chances of infestation. It is key to look to for signs of an infestation throughout the house and start rectification measures as soon as a breakout is suspected. It is also necessary to regularly clean your mattress at least once a week. Vacuuming your house regularly to keep it lint free would also be helpful, as lint usually attracts carpet beetles. In case an outbreak is serious it may be advisable to call a professional exterminator.