When we talk about beetles, we may be talking about a number of insects. These bugs come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Some beetles are long and slim. While others are round or oval shaped--like the June beetles and lady beetles. However, this article is going to be specifically about carpet beetles and where they come from.
What are Carpet Beetles?
Of all the invading insects, carpet beetles are the most destructive. These pests create damage to upholstered furniture, rugs, bedding, clothing, wool, and silk that has been left unattended.
An adult carpet beetle grows to 4 millimeters (.15748 inches) in length. Less than one-quarter of an inch! These tiny pests have a body shaped like an oval, with a brown or black shell with orange or white and yellow stripes. Often, a carpet beetle is compared similarly to the oval-shaped and distinctively colored boxelder beetle that showcases black and orange hues.
What is a Varied Carpet Beetle?
The varied carpet beetles eat dead insects and a wide variety of fabrics, clothing, and other fibrous materials. Specifically, the adults are 2-3 mm long. Their elytra (wing covers) and back are covered with white, brown, and yellow spots, giving the beetle a “splotchy” appearance.
What are Black Carpet Beetles?
This black carpet beetle is bullet in shape, dark brownish to black, and has brown legs and antennae. Additionally, the larvae of the black carpet beetle are up to one-half of an inch long and look like a carrot.
What do Carpet Beetles Feed On?
If things aren't kept in check, carpet beetles are so tiny they can create an invasion quickly. The larvae and young beetles eat objects with natural fibers such as leather, wool, and silk. They might even infest beds in search of dead skin to eat.
A carpet beetle also feeds on products derived from animals, like the hair of your fur babies! An adult carpet beetle's favorite diet is flowers, plants, and the pollen produced. A carpet beetle prefers natural textiles like cotton, wool silk fabric, silk feathers, linen, and blankets. Rarely will they attack cotton or synthetic fabrics unless blended with wool or soiled heavily with food sources or body oils.
Where do Carpet Beetles Come From?
You might recognize the tiny adult carpet beetles as they are crawling around or flying toward the light. Larvae are sometimes seen crawling on specific areas as well. Clues of their damage are noticing holes chewed in infested items. Also, you might notice the skins they leave behind when they shed.
What do the Eggs and Larvae of Carpet Beetles Look Like?
The eggs a carpet beetle lays are tiny, no more than 1 mm in length, and are cream or white. Over one hundred are laid at a time by the adult carpet beetle and hatch in ten to 30 days.
When the larvae hatch, they are bigger than the adult carpet beetles—known as "wooly bears" while in the larval stage. Larvae are approximately 2.5 cm long, usually light brown to black coloring. The body is covered entirely with dark brown to black hairs, with the exception of the abdomen, which has three golden hairs.
How did I Get Carpet Beetles Inside my House?
If you are not careful, you can have carpet beetles entering your house by way of open doors and windows. Or, you can invite them inadvertently inside when they hitch a ride on previously infested items. A common hotspot attracting carpet beetles is taxidermy animals.
Adult carpet beetles feed on animal products and fabric. These items are easily accessible for flying through open windows to lay an egg sac on clothes, carpets, furniture, or rugs.
Carpet beetles can get into your home when you bring in cut plants and flowers. Some beetles may be living inside a birds nest that was set up in the vicinity of the plants and flowers your buy from the store.
How Serious Is a Carpet Beetle Infestation?
When carpet beetle larvae or their common relative, the common furniture beetle, feed on the natural fibers they find, they create damage by leaving holes in furniture, carpets, and clothing. The bristly hairs on a carpet beetle can irritate human skin if they become attached to clothes. Besides possible skin irritation, carpet beetles are not particularly harmful to humans.
What are the Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation?
The signs of a carpet beetle in the home can signify that larvae have been laid somewhere. Adult carpet beetles are attracted to light, so you will likely find them around bulbs and windows. Noticing holes in fabric items is an obvious sign of carpet beetle larvae damage.
Common Areas Carpet Beetles Lay Their Eggs?
Adults are likely to lay eggs where there is enough food, so look for those hotspots. They also prefer areas out of direct sunlight – like along skirting boards or in shady corners.
Bird nests and other organic materials, like the carcass of animals and inside trees, are places these bug species burrow. A female adult carpet beetle lays her eggs where larval food sources are stored.
How Long Does it Take Carpet Beetle Larvae to Mature?
Reproduction In spring, a female carpet beetle lays 25 to 100 eggs, which hatch into larvae within two weeks. They shed their skins and leave them behind when they emerge as adults.
Carpet beetle larvae can mature under various humidity levels and temperatures, although they tend to avoid bright areas. The larvae are larger than adult beetles, about 2.5 centimeters long.
The larvae feed on various fabrics and animal and plant-based sources. Adult beetles thrive on a diet of seeds, plants, and flowers. Adults don't usually feed on fabric, but they will eat animal hair. However, a carpet beetle may prefer fabrics that are extremely soiled.
How do I Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?
One way to get rid of carpet beetles is with a vacuum. Ensure to use the right attachments that allow access to clean drapes, upholstery, and in-between crevices.
Heat is another powerful weapon against these beetles, so steam-cleaning your home will kill larvae and adults. Use a vacuum to suck up the dead insects.
Preventing Future Infestations of Carpet Beetles
After you have gotten rid of carpet beetle infestations, you need to take preventative steps to keep them away. To prevent an adult carpet beetle from coming into your home, hang some sticky flytraps near the windows.
If you have repeat infestations, put some sticky pheromone-type traps in the closets and windowsills. As you are setting these sticky traps, pay close attention to where the carpet meets the skirting boards.
Another way to get rid of carpet beetles is to wipe all areas with a mixture of vinegar and water, including drawers, shelves, clothing hangers, and window sills. In addition, ensure any food sources and dirt are picked up on a regular basis. Get rid of remaining debris and larvae.
What Makes Carpet Beetles Live After I Have Sterilized?
Although you sterilize one area, carpet beetles may have already reproduced in another location you are unaware of.
When it's Time to Call a Professional Pest Control Company
If you have tried everything to kill a carpet beetle infestation and it won't go away, it's time to call a pest company. A.N.T. pest control knows how to eliminate a carpet beetle infestation.
We know what makes this species come around and how to keep carpet beetles away. Call A.N.T. Pest Control today and kill a carpet beetle for good! We will not only kill the beetles, but we also know how to eliminate carpet beetle eggs.
After we eradicate the area, we remove all the remaining dead bugs. Call us today and start living free of these oval-shaped, tiny pests!