Black carpet beetles

Asked July 29, 2015, 4:44 PM EDT

I recently noticed 2 to 3 larvae of carpet beetles and a number of adults in my condo unit. I have since vacuumed the apt thoroughly, washed most of what was in my closet, steam cleaned the couch, the mattress, and the carpets. Do I need to wash clothes that do not appear to be infested? I'm asking because I also have a lot of clothes that require dry cleaning and the costs are piling up.

Outside United States

5 Responses

Black carpet beetle larvae eat animal products such as leather, wool, silk, feathers, hair, dried meat, dead insects, as well as dried plant material. They can be a problem in kitchen cupboards, as well as in woolen carpets or clothes storage areas.

If you feel confident that you have located the source of infestation, then no further treatment should be necessary. If not, then you may want to continue to look for the source. When you find the infested material, either clean it or destroy the item.

If the beetles are widespread throughout the apartment and you cannot locate a source, then you may want to go with a pesticide application. If you choose diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel, then apply the product in wall voids or cracks and crevices. A different option would be a residual spray. Apply these to cracks and crevices (do not apply in tandem with the dust product).

Thank you for your reply. I've searched the kitchen cabinets and they don't appear to be infested. I've looked through the rice and similar items and nothing.

i believe the source was a collection of dead insects in between the double doors leading the balcony.

i did find a baby one in my leather handbag which I have vacuumed again. Are there any other tips on finding the source? Also do I need to have my handbag professionally cleaned if I don't see any more in there?

The only way to locate the source is to go through everything that may be a food source.

If you are concerned about your handbag, then you can either have it cleaned or you can seal it in a plastic bag and place it into the freezer for 5-7 days.

Sorry, one last question. Once everything is vacuumed, including the source area, how long can I expect to still see larvae and/or adults around before they disappear or drastically reduce?

If you have physically removed all of the insects through vacuuming, then you shouldn't see anything. If you are still seeing insects, then there are still some developing somewhere.