Carpet beetles are bastards

So, it’s been awhile since I blogged, and I was planning on a more cheerful return. However, this blog post is brought to you by… carpet beetles.

Compared to my last residence, our current home is ridiculously easily accessible to bugs and other critters. Our front door is at ground level, mere feet away from shrubs and hedges (aka adult beetle food), so it’s easy for something to sneak in when T or I enter and exit the house. We have wall-to-wall carpeting, so there’s lots of little crevices where a bug could theoretically lay eggs. And I have a lot of hair, and tend to shed a lot. Left unchecked, our home is prime breeding ground for bugs, even without my knitting hobby and all the wool (aka baby beetle food) kept in the house.

So we aim to keep it checked. We vacuum regularly. I inspect the stash every few months and keep it in sealed containers, store the handknits in airtight containers during the off-season (upstairs, as far from the front door as possible), put all yarn through a freeze/thaw/freeze cycle every year, etc. And as long we didn’t do something utterly stupid, all our natural fibers have stayed safe.

However – you knew that word was coming, didn’t you? – we did do something stupid. Some things, rather:

  1. Neither of us stored our Felted Clogs properly in the off-season. We just left them out in the open, right on the shoe rack. Which is right by the front door.
  2. T and I vacuumed all the easily accessible areas regularly, but – as embarrassing as this is to admit – neither of us was always good about moving the shoe racks to vacuum behind and under them.

So of course, both pairs Felted Clogs ended up infested with beetle larvae. Grooooss. At least those are the two projects I am least sad about losing (let’s be honest, each pair took all of 2-3 days to make, and that’s including felting time), rather than something like my Forest Path Stole, but still. Boo.

Once I tossed the clogs out, I then launched into full inspection mode. Thankfully, the beetle invasion was limited – no larvae anywhere else, and every single one of my properly-stored knits was completely fine. (A SmartWool shirt – that I did not think to store properly, because I’m dumb – did have some tiny holes in it.) But, you know, I’m paranoid, so I laundered every article again, even though I’d washed everything before storing it. (And then stupidly introduced a couple of holes in my Aeolian Shawl, by washing it with my Arm Candy and its non-smooth buttons. Whoops. Another lesson learned.)

And all the FOs and SmartWool clothing are going through a freeze/thaw/freeze cycle anyway. I have never been so grateful for our excessive amount of freezer space before!

Yarn’s next up for another freeze/thaw/freeze cycle. A couple of months early – remember, I do this regularly – but better safe than sorry. I’ve never lost yarn to bugs before, and I’m not about to start now.

And we’re basically vacuuming every part of the house much more frequently, until I feel better about the whole thing.

It could have been worse. And would have been worse, had I not already been paranoid about infestations and taken some preventative measures with yarn and clothing. Thank you, past Kris, for doing something right at least. (Okay, fine, past Kris and T – fibery storage may be mostly my responsibility, but general cleaning is up to both of us)

What have I learned from this? That we’ve been on the right track, but our housekeeping could still use some improvements.

Oh, and that carpet beetles are bastards.

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