Carpet Beetles—How to Keep Them from Damaging Antique Furniture in Storage


If you need to place all of your furniture in a storage unit for a period of time and have several different antique couches and chairs, then you will need to protect your furniture from some very specific types of pests. These pests include carpet beetles. To learn why carpet beetles may be an issue and to also find out how to keep them from destroying your furniture, keep reading.

Why Are Carpet Beetles a Problem?

Carpet beetles are insects that feed on products made from animal skin, hair, and fats. The insects also feed off pollen and nectar, but only once they become adults. The larvae or young beetles are likely to live inside until they become full adult beetles, and they will thrive in any area where food sources are abundant. Typically, adult beetles will lay eggs in areas where they recognize a good source of food for the larvae to eat. This allows the beetle eggs to hatch and the larvae to feed and grow without having to go outdoors until they reach adulthood.

Adult carpet beetles and their young like to eat in dark and quiet areas, and this makes your storage space a perfect place for an infestation. Also, antique furniture is sometimes stuffed with animal hair. Horse hair is often used in antique pieces, and this is actually a sign that the furniture is of high quality and valuable. Feathers, down, and other types of animal hair were sometimes used as stuffing as well, and these types of materials can all be eaten by carpet-beetle larvae. 

Carpet-beetle larvae move slow and eat several times their weight as they grow into adult beetles. This means that even a small infestation of larvae can and will destroy the internal padding of your antique furniture. 

How Can You Protect Antique Furniture?

There are several ways you can protect your antique furniture from carpet beetles. You should make sure the beetles cannot get into your storage unit. The beetles will become adults in the spring and summer and will live only about two weeks. During this two-week period, the beetles will mate, and females will lay up to about 100 eggs. The beetles will typically fly into indoor spaces if they can, so you will need to make sure that your storage unit is completely closed and airtight at the beginning of spring to keep eggs out of the space. 

Carpet beetles are only about one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch long. This means that the bugs can fly into fairly small openings. To make sure your storage space is protected, cover all the walls of the space with a solid layer of plastic sheeting. Thinner two- or three-mil sheeting is thick enough to keep the beetles out of the storage unit. Use duct tape to secure the sheeting around edges, seams, and corners. 

You also need to make sure that you implement measures to kill any larvae that may have worked their way into your furniture before placing the antiques into storage. You can purchase resin strips that contain insecticides to eliminate carpet-beetle larvae. These strips can either be placed directly on your furniture or hung within the larger storage unit. Strips that are covered with an insecticide called dichlorvos is a good product to purchase. This type of insecticide will kill carpet beetles as well as a variety of other pests that may cause harm to your antique furniture. 

Dichlorvos insecticide strips will release a chemical vapor into the air that will kill any carpet beetle larvae that live in your storage space. A sprinkle of boric acid across the floor of the space can help to eliminate larvae in the area too. Boric acid can typically be spread on fabrics safely as well to kill any larvae that have worked their way into furniture items. Boric acid is often used to make furniture and fabric items fire resistant. The powder can be mixed with water and spread over upholstered parts of your furniture items. However, you should spot-test antiques before soaking all furniture to reduce potential damage concerns.  


25 October 2016

protecting your cherished items in storage

Storage units make it possible for us to hold onto the things that we aren't quite ready to let go of. Whether you have moved into a smaller home, or your collection has simply outgrown the house you are in, a storage unit can make it possible to keep the things that you love. If you pack and store things properly, you don't have to worry about pests, heat, cold and moisture damaging the things that you have stored. This blog will show you how to protect your belongings by teaching you how to pack and store things in a way that will protect them.