There are many species of carpet beetles commonly found in Iowa. Although they are abundant "outdoor" insects, they are also a frequent pest in the house. Carpet beetles are scavengers that feed on a variety of animal products such as woolens, hides, feathers, hair, taxidermy specimens and dried meats. They also feed on dead insects such as boxelder bugs and attic flies that may be trapped in inner wall spaces. Carpet beetles do not remain on their food material but instead crawl about, often for considerable distances.
Carpet beetle controls include eliminating the beetles by cleaning or destroying infested items (clothing, food products, etc.). Often, the source may be difficult to find or there may not be a single source. A major part of carpet beetle prevention and control is thorough vacuum cleaning to prevent the accumulation of lint, hair, and other carpet beetle food materials. Close attention should be given to radiators and registers, corners, cracks and other hard to reach places.
If beetles are found throughout the house, localized applications of residual ready-to-use insecticides may be needed. Select an insecticide labeled for carpet beetle control and follow labaeled instructions. Treatment should be lightly applied to those surfaces upon which the insects are likely to crawl, such as along the edges of carpeting, in closets, behind radiators, baseboards and moldings, and in corners, cracks, and so forth. For more information on isecticides please see "Insecticides for Indoor Use." Cases of heavy, widespread infestation may require the services of a professional pest control operator.