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What’s eating your carpet?

Imagine putting in expensive carpet, only to have it slowly destroyed by something you cannot see. KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz talked with a local woman who is dealing with the problem. He also talked with an exterminator to find out how to solve the problem and the signs to look for in your own carpet.

“Oh, I was horrified at the thought of something actually eating the carpet,” said Jaymi. She never would have guessed that tiny bugs would have taken up residency.

“Well, at first, I thought that maybe we had mice because I saw little, tiny, and it looked like, mouse droppings. But (we) set some traps and never caught anything. And so we just started looking at them under a microscope and saw that they were little, itty-bitty beetles,” said Jaymi.

And the damage was evident. Chunks of the new carpet were coming up.

“They actually take the fibers of the carpet, the glue that holds it together is what the feed off of,” said Tim Colling of Colling Pest Solutions in Idaho Falls.

“They’ll strip that glue out and all of a sudden you’ll be vacuuming along and you’ll start to seeing a little bald spot and then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and then you start seeing the bugs,” said Colling.

Colling came to Jaymi’s house to identify which type of bug was eating her carpet. He said proper identification is the first step in extermination. In this case, Jaymi had carpet beetles.

“Generally, we look on the edge of carpet is where you are more likely going to see them, a lot of times around where there has been a previous water leak in the home,” said Colling.

Colling said the time of year doesn’t matter. He has found carpet beetles in both winter and summer. They are typically about the size of a grain of rice and are often mistaken for a spider mite or some other insect.

“There, you see that? That’s dead though. You see that thing right there? That’s a dead larva,” said Colling, showing Kunz the viewfinder of his flexible wall camera.

Here’s how to tackle the problem: First, have a professional identify the exact kind of bug. Second, that professional will then do an inspection of your entire home. Finding the source of the nesting is key. Third is the treatment. It usually involves fogging your home. The fogging dries out the bugs. A general insecticide will then kill the bugs. An added insect growth regulator will mutate their offspring so those offspring cannot reproduce. It will take a series of treatments.

“Industry standard is three times, to fog three times, to catch all life cycles of the carpet beetle,” said Colling.

The cost varies by case, but it’s based on the size of your home and the type and amount of chemicals used.

This procedure is necessary. You cannot just replace the carpet, thinking that will get rid of the bugs.

“They don’t stay with that particular piece of carpet. It’s in your home, so you really need to get rid of the issue first before you really want to put down new carpet,” said Jaymi.

“Right here’s a larva, Todd,” said Colling, pointing to the edge of the carpet along the baseboard.

Prevention may be tough. Colling said it’s a 50-50 chance.

“In that light. Can you see it right there?” said Colling, using a flashlight to point at a larva.

“Yep,” said Kunz.

“And he’s actually dried up pretty good. That’s a dried-up one, so,” said Colling.

“Yeah, it’s hard,” said Kunz, as Colling pressing on the larva with a screwdriver.

“Yeah, it’s hard as a rock now,” said Colling.

Wasps and bees can pick up the larvae if they’ve been around the carcass of a dead bird.

“Chances are the translocation of that larvae or that adult bedbug can be dropped off when the bee is in your windowsill or flies in and out around your home. And it only takes one,” said Colling.

Other ways the bugs can enter your home are on deer and elk trophy mounts, on rugs, or on poorly warehoused carpet.

“What happens is, that same van that they used to haul your brand-new carpet into your home, just hauled somebody’s old carpet out, took (it) to the dump. Or they take that carpet back to their shop and they lay it down within 2 or 3 feet, or 1 foot, whatever, from the brand-new carpet,” said Colling.

It’s best to address the problem as early as you can.

“And not to wait until you actually see damage,” said Jaymi.

In Jaymi’s case, the carpet beetle problem had been in her home for about five years.

“Yeah, I mean, they could have been here before we even moved in in 2010,” said Jaymi.

Colling said the biggest bug problems they see right now in Eastern Idaho are carpet beetles and bedbugs. He said his crew typically sees 12 to 15 new jobs a week.

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