Beetles are found worldwide and have adjusted to living in many different climates. They are one of the most plentiful creatures on earth and can survive through harsh environments. The layman may view beetles as pests, but scientists have learned much from studying beetles. The presence of healthy beetle populations in an area can be signs of regional biodiversity, freshwater quality, and ecological continuity. When beetles such as carpet beetles have infested your home, they can pose a danger to you, your family, and your home.
Though beetles are usually good for the environment, they can swiftly become a menace to human civilizations. They can be a threat to food supply and other goods and can be very destructive. Understanding how beetles thrive will assist you in eliminating them from your home and property before they can cause severe damage.
The carpet beetle is a type of beetle that is known for causing significant damage to carpets, bedding, clothes, and upholstery. It’s the larva of carpet beetles that do the dirty work of destroying your personal property, but the adults don’t get off that quickly as they are the ones that enter your home and lay their eggs where food for their young is ample.
Adult carpet beetles will fly into your home through open doors or windows and continue to lay their eggs on any suitable food source. A female carpet beetle will lay between 25 to 100 eggs in the spring, and these eggs will hatch within two weeks afterward. The time it takes for carpet beetle larva to grow into adults depends on the availability of food and the humidity level of their environment. It can sometimes take a year or longer for carpet beetle larva to grow into an adult.
The carpet beetle larva mainly feasts on materials made up of fabric such as fur, animal hair, felt, silk, wool, and leather. They will leave behind definite signs of an infestation that can include loose carpet fibers, holes in clothing, holes in upholstery, and shed brown skins, indicating that you may have a carpet beetle problem. Adult carpet beetles will feed on dead animals and insects and are considered beneficial to the natural process of decomposition. Still, due to the damage their young can inflict, having them in or around your home can be of significant concern.
Image via Flickr by Gilles Gonthier
Carpet beetles have an oval-shaped body and can reach from 1 to 4 millimeters in length as they mature to adulthood. Their coloration ranges from yellow, black, orange, and white patterns. Carpet beetle larva are usually light brown to black and have dense hairs covering their body. Sometimes the hairs can even be barbed.
Another identifying feature of carpet beetle larva is three golden-colored hairs that are very distinct and located on their abdomen. During this pupa phase of their development, they tend to be larger than some of the adults and can measure up to 2.5 centimeters in length. They will continue to shed their skins as they develop into larva and then into adult carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles can be found throughout the United States, but are more common in northern coastal states which has a colder and humid climate. Adult carpet beetles can live outdoors or indoors. When living outdoors, they can live in bird nests or nests of other animals. Indoors, they can live in walls, crawl spaces, and chimneys. They prefer to lay their eggs indoors due to the abundant food sources that are readily available for their young.
Carpet beetle larvae are at home in the carpet and tend to infest rooms and closets. Carpet provides them with plenty of food, shelter from light, and protection. They will venture from the carpet into bedding, clothes, and other fabric materials in search of food.
Carpet beetle larva can cause unsightly and costly damage if an infestation is left unchecked. They are always on the move and looking for their next meal. They can destroy carpet from the inside out, create holes in your favorite or most expensive clothing, destroy upholstered furniture, and much more.
Carpet beetle larva may also cause skin irritation as a direct result of you coming in contact with their bristly, hair-covered bodies. They will also leave behind sheds of skin and fecal debris in or on infested surface areas. If not kept in check, these little nuisances can leave behind big messes.
When you suspect that you are dealing with a carpet beetle infestation in your home, enlisting the help of a professional pest control agency will be of great benefit. Trained exterminators will be able to identify and confirm the pest, work to eradicate the threat, and implement a preventative plan to reduce the risk of future invasions. You can have the peace of mind that your family, home, and possessions are protected from pests such as carpet beetles.
When inspecting an area of your home that you feel may have carpet beetles and their larva, you should look for signs such as damaged clothing, fabric, carpet, and furniture. You should also be on the lookout for sheds of brown skin and the actual larva or adults. After you have confirmed that you are indeed dealing with carpet beetles, you should take the time to vacuum and clean all carpet and surfaces where they could be hiding.
You can use insecticides to treat for carpet beetles as well. Once an infected area has been thoroughly cleaned and infested items have been removed, you can then proceed to treat the area with an insecticide designed for controlling carpet beetles. Due to their small size and the potential for them to be anywhere in your home, it may be necessary to treat your entire home as an added precaution.
Managing pests can be a complicated process that takes research and due diligence. Your family will be sure to thank you for not only protecting them, but their clothes, bedding, and home from unwanted and destructive pests such as carpet beetles. Knowledge can be your best ally when it comes to keeping your family and your home safe.