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This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  meghank 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #160239

    meghank
    Participant

    We have carpet beetles and silverfish living with us in our 400 sqft apartment. After having most of our wool clothes destroyed, I’ve become more motivated than ever before to keep a clean, tidy, more minimal home.

    The bugs have been living in the cardboard boxes under our bed. Gross! So today I reorganized the kitchen to make space for some of the contents of those boxes to try to get rid of as much of the cardboard as possible. I’m cleaning like a madwoman.

    Have any of you ever had experience with carpet beetles? What other areas should I watch out for them and make sure to keep clean to keep them from coming back? Is there some not too harsh chemical you’ve used to get rid of them?

  • #227429

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    A very complete description of steps you can take is on the University of California (Davis) website: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html

    One family I knew replaced their badly infested wool wall-to-wall carpet in a rarely used upstairs bedroom with a synthetic carpet. They did not get rid of stored boxes or unused bedding and the clothing they’d stored for years continued to be infested. The bugs spread to animal skin rugs. I don’t know what ever happened to the old bearskin rug.

    Another family I know just had their house treated professionally. They’ve decluttered the crowded room’s boxes and furniture (throwing out a lot) and gotten rid of under bed storage entirely. They are now vacuuming much more enthusiastically than before the infestation.

  • #227431

    Anonymous

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    Check out http://askthebugman.wordpress.com/ Richard Fagerlund’s blog. He’s the real deal, and quite helpful.

    Get rid of as much paper/cardboard as you can. Replace storage containers with plastic or metal. I think the Bugman recommends diatomaceous earth for silverfish, but check his blog. DE is found at garden centers and is very easy to use. DONT get the swimming pool kind, get the ‘okay for livestock’ kind. It’s inexpensive, a little goes a long way. We used to use it when we had 3 dogs and 2 cats. It helped enormously to keep the flea population down.

    Good luck.

  • #227439

    meghank
    Participant

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    Yes @writing all the time I put DE along all of the baseboards but it seems not to have really helped.

    @ mad_scientist, the shocking thing is we have no carpet whatsoever! Working on the boxes now…

    It would be hard to completely have no under bed storage as we live in such a small place with zero built in storage. But of course I’m making progress towards that every day.

  • #227440

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    We just dealt with carpet beetles ourselves – the funny thing is that we didn’t have carpet – but we did have a rug packed away that we had forgotten about that was their main home. We are at the tail end of our carpet beetle infestation – every once and a while I still see one, but they are very few and far between.

    Basically, we threw away the rug and anything else that was TOO infested, and we washed everything washable. I put the attachment on our vacuum that allows you to get into the crevices, and we vacuumed our baseboards multiple times per day. Although the beetles are hard to see, I would hold a flashlight up to make sure I got them all – and if I vacuumed in the morning, there were usually another 20 or so hanging out on the baseboards by the afternoon!

    We didn’t use any chemicals at all and (knock on wood) we seem to have gotten past the worst. Good luck!

  • #227442

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    Meghank: I strongly suggest you remove the mattress and box spring from the bedframe. Inspect the bottom of the box spring to see if there are more beetles or larvae there. Vacuum the bed frame throughly. Scrub it down if you like (hot soapy water is good for de-squicking). For the time being, leaving off a dust ruffle can help light up the dark underbed area and significantly improve air circulation. Not to mention it is easier to clean under the bed when there’s no dust ruffle flopping around.

  • #227448

    meghank
    Participant

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    @ sleepy kitten – Could you actually see them under the baseboard? I see wandering larvae on the walls sometimes or under a box. Maybe I will buy a vaccuum. Do you know of any with long attachments to get behind furniture that’s too heavy to move?

    @ mad scientist – good idea! I have to remove the mattress to get to some of the boxes anyway.

    The pest control people have sprayed some organic essential oil thing but I’m not sure it is working. I think you’re all right about the boxes and vaccuuming. I’m also considering caulking the gap between the baseboard and the floor where some bugs seem to be hiding. I thought the DE would be enough, but it seems not to be

    Thank you for the tips!!!!

  • #227450

    bandicoot
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    getting rid of cardboard boxes is crucial.
    i haven’t heard of carpet beetles here, but we get every other kind of beetle imaginable and they all adore cardboard.

  • #227452

    bandicoot
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    my mother just bought a leaf lblower, specifically for blowing dust and debris out from behind furniture that is too heavy to move (bookcases).
    i’d rather have a vacuum cleaner, even a small one.

  • #227454

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    To clarify, I could see the larvae hovering around the baseboard – I didn’t remove the baseboard and I rarely saw the adult beetles, but I could see the larvae. I have a super cheap corded dirt devil vacuum from Target, so I can’t give you good vacuum advice. Somewhere on the forum, there was a vacuum discussion if you are looking for an “investment vacuum”. But the cheap one works well enough for me for now, until I save up money for an upgrade.

    Another non-vacuum thing I did was use one of those lint rollers with sticky tape – when I saw a stray larvae, I would “lint roll” it – they squish and die very easily. A single adult beetle can lay a ton of eggs, so I didn’t let ANY larvae go if I saw it.

  • #227455

    Anonymous

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    The DE needs to go everywhere, not just the baseboards. If you have carpet/rugs, it needs to be sprinkled liberally there. Underneath your bed, where the boxes were, on any flat, horizontal surface.

    Use a paint mask type thing while applying, you need to sprinkle it liberally and it can be irritating to the nose/throat/lungs. Once it’s down, it’s quite safe to walk on. Check out bugman’s website, he’s got a ton of info there.

  • #227513

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    This is a vacuum attachment for use under refrigerators and other hard to reach places: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Refrigerator-Cleaning-Wand-Extension/dp/B006GMY4KI

    The price shown is pretty typical in the US. The attachment fits on standard size hoses.

  • #227515

    meghank
    Participant

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    Thanks everyone. Managed to get rid of 3 more boxes today. Making good progress

  • #228661

    gailbon
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    @meghank, how are you doing with the carpet beetle infestation? We have the same problem in our home. I don’t see the bugs now, but once the weather gets warmer, I know they will be crawling out of the woodwork…..literally!
    I do know silverfish feed on the boxes. We had a problem in our attic years ago, and I just threw out all the storage boxes, and they were gone within a few weeks. But as far as the carpet beetles, I am stumped!

  • #228719

    meghank
    Participant

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    @ gaibon – I am carpet beetle free in 2013 so far. Here’s what I did:

    called the organic pest control people. (Western Exterminator in SoCal)

    they told me to get rid of all paper and cardboard, which i did. (with the exception of books on the bookshelf)

    I emptied my closet and washed ever article of clothing and dry cleaned what couldn’t be washed.

    I took everything out from under the bed and removed it, cleaned, dusted all over under the bed with diatomaceous earth, then put what had to go back in large rubbermaid containers.

    I took everything on top of the closet away, cleaned it, and put it back in plastic containers

    all art supplies were thrown away that were on the floor, they were infested

    I pulled all furniture away from the walls so the exterminator could spray the organic stuff along the baseboards

    When he left i put DE along every inch of every baseboard, as well as behind bookshelves and under my kitchen cabinets (there is a crack where bugs could get under)

    I checked my mattress and bed frame carefully. The exterminator says any upholstered surface is a place where they can breed

    I took everything out of my crawl space, put DE everywhere, and put it back with nothing touching the floor except plastic or solid wood.

    The exterminator told me to keep the DE in place for at least a month, even in the places it is plainly visible to guests. After a month, I can sweep it up in areas where I caulk the tiny crack between the bottom of the baseboard and the hardwood floor.

    In summer, I will have to repeat the DE everywhere

    I am keeping DE under the couch all the time and under the bed all the time and behind bookshelves and closets in places where guests cant see.

    I also have a quarterly contract now with the pest people so any time i see the bugs, the bug people come help me

    I hope you have good luck. The exterminator said the DE and getting rid of all cardboard and paper is the best solution.

  • #228949

    gailbon
    Member

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    @meghank, thank you so much! I am a decluttering madwoman this month, so I am going to toss EVERYTHING and then call an exterminator. We only see the carpet beetles in the spring and fall (in the Northeast), and there is not a ton of them, but I know they’ll be back.

  • #228991

    meghank
    Participant

    Insects and Decluttering Motivation

    The exterminator said the most important things to get rid of are cardboard and paper. Good luck!

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