The return of the carpet beetles?

Asked March 2, 2019, 11:51 AM EST

At the beginning of March 2018, I started to see a few carpet beetles (professional exterminator confirmed). I live in a one bedroom apt in a high rise building. After a lot of searching, I found 5 larvae skins in an ottoman with a wool cover, 1 larvae skin in the closet light fixture and 1 larvae skin in a shoe box. After cleaning everything and putting everything through the wash and dryer (or dry cleaned), I would still find a few here and then. My roomba vacuum would pick up one here and there. After a few weeks, I was feeling frustated and got a new exterminator. The first exterminator only used phantom outside the balcony and in an electrical outlet where I saw one carpet beetle once going in, this exterminator also recommended I vacuum every day. The second exterminator was not too excited to use chemicals because I have asthma and a pet. He recommended I steam clean my carpet in the bedroom and closet, where I saw most of the carpet beetles. I did this in May 2018 and never saw them again. I kept vigilant and continue to vacuum twice a week. Today, as I woke up, I found a dead carpet beetle in the wall of the living room. It wasn’t moving so it was easy for me to see it. Building maintenance was in the apartment 3 days ago to change a faulty smoke detector which was very close to the wall where I found the dead carpet beetle. I searched both of the wool area rugs I have at home (both in the living room, I don’t have carpet there, just the bedroom) and I could not find any larvae or skins, also no dead or live beetles. Since the carpet beetle battle of 2018, I keep all my wool clothes hanging as I was told by the exterminator that this would make them less susceptible to the bugs, though they never got in my clothes. Another resident in my building had them in 2017, but not in my floor. I also threw away the ottoman where I had found the most larvae skins as instructed my the exterminator. I don’t think I had a bad infestation as I only saw about a total of 15-20 live/dead carpet beetles from March to mid-May. I haven’t caught anything all these months, I continued to monitor with sticky traps throughout the apartment. What are the chances of them coming back? Should I go ahead and steam the carpets again? Or is this something seasonal that I will continue to experience for the rest of the time I live in this building or area (I live in Bethesda, MD)? Thank you in advance for your reply. MDBug

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Carpet beetles are common pests of fabrics and often feed on dead insects, accumulated hair, or lint. It is the adult beetles that you see but larvae does the damage. We cannot say what your chances of the beetles coming back. You will just have to be vigilant about checking and prevention - cleaning and properly storing woolens, etc.

Your vacuum cleaner is the best defense against these insects. After using it, dispose of the bag contents promptly; they may include eggs, larvae, or adult insects. Regularly clean baseboards, hard to reach areas behind furniture, corners, cracks, woolen rugs, upholstered furniture, etc. Pay attention to woolens. Make sure to properly clean wool clothing before storage. Soiled wool is particularly attractive to carpet beetles. You should be able to tackle this on your own. No insecticides are recommended. See our website for more information