We’re looking at natural/organic latex mattresses but have noticed that pretty much all of the mattresses on our short list have a layer made of wool.
We know we have carpet beetle problems in our house; they destroyed a wool rug and have infested several other areas.
Even with frequent vacuuming, I can’t be confident that they are gone, and they seem to come back every spring/summer.
Since we know we have carpet beetles, and we know carpet beetles love wool, I’m hesitant to purchase an expensive mattress with a wool cover for fear of beetles infesting it. That would be horrid indeed!
Has anyone out there with one of these mattresses had this problem? Or any tips for avoiding it, other than frequent cleaning?
Thanks so much!
I have little experience with or knowledge about carpet beetles but I did do a little reading (such as here and here and here) and apparently carpet beetles don’t eat cellulosic fibers such as cotton or viscose or synthetic fibers such as polyester (except rarely if they are soiled with perspiration or body oils which attract them) so you may be OK with a wool quilted mattress cover and a mattress protector (to protect the mattress from perspiration and body oils) because the wool would be quilted inside a cotton, viscose, or polyester fabric which would probably prevent the carpet beetles from reaching the wool … at least “in theory”.
Hopefully others with more knowledge than me will also share their experiences.
Thank you for your help.
The actual beetles (adult form) are small and harmless - about the size and shape of a ladybug.
The larvae on the other hand, are creepy, aggressive (no kidding!), and destructive. They are also covered in bristles that shed and can be a major skin irritant. (Nature’s version of a fiberglass splinter!)
Our experience has been that the conventional wisdom that they are “shy” and prefer low traffic areas to be untrue. They do seem to prefer the dark, but we even had a rather disturbing encounter with aggressive larvae living in a wool toy that was being played with. They bore into pretty much anything woolen.
We would use a mattress protector for sure, but I’m torn between thinking it would help prevent the larvae from finding the wool and thinking it might give them a dark, sheltered cover that would allow them to dine undetected!
Either way, we’ve found that carpet beetles are surprisingly common - like crickets and spiders, most houses have at least a few of them during warm weather, even if they go unnoticed. If we don’t hear that any of the owners of the mattresses with the wool lining have had a problem with the larvae taking over, I think we’d be safe to say that they can’t find the wool under the cover, or the latex is a natural deterrent.
I’m also thinking that we could put a little sprinkle of diatomaceous earth between the end of the bed and the wall to help make that dark, hard to vacuum area less hospitable to insects.
FWIW … I’ve talked with hundreds of retailers and manufacturers over the course of years about mattresses and many of these make mattresses that use wool quilted covers and I’ve also spent thousands of hours with online research and in the course of all of this I’ve never come across a single story about carpet beetle larvae harming a wool quilted mattress cover. That doesn’t mean that it’s never happened of course because “absence of evidence” doesn’t mean “evidence of absence” but I think it would be fairly safe to assume that it would be very rare … particularly if you were taking preventative or remedial measures.
MKGregory, I know what you mean about the carpet beetles. Not dealt with an infestation, just the occasional one. Living in the country in the midwest, we get just about every beetle and bug. Phoenix mentioned a mattress protector which I think would work well. Any mattress has a similar ticking/main cover so not sure it’d be any more problematic for a latex vs any other mattress. A protector would be doubly beneficial, protecting from spills/perspiration in general and keep any bugs off it (not just bed bugs). Depending on the level of concern, they either go on like a 5 sided fitted sheet or a 6 sided zippered version for full enclosure. They seem to be attracted to light, at least around this region similar to moths (and lots of other varied flying things). My bedroom light is directly over my bed, which is where i’ve found the occasional beetle directly underneath. Never seen the larvae. Pretty sure a protective cover of some sort would be a good preventive measure to several things and overall keep your mattress cleaner. Diatomaceous earth can be a good deterrent for insects and would possibly help prevent in that hard to reach area, but may not do much to prevent carpet beetles since they fly (like most typical beetles).
My sister had a horrendous time with carpet beetles, so I feel for you, they can be awfully difficult to get rid of once you have them. In my sister’s case, they found that there was an opening into the eaves of their house and birds were nesting in the attic (bird nests are a big source of carpet beetles).
I guess if it was me, knowing what I know of carpet beetles, albeit second-hand, I would avoid wool or other natural fibers if I had a carpet beetle problem, just to be on the safe side. There are latex beds without a wool layer.
One thing about the mattress protector, latex mattresses are heavy and it can be kind of challenging to get the thing around it.