Beetles are found worldwide and have adapted to survive in many different climates. They are of the most plentiful creatures on earth and seem to thrive when facing environmental change. The layman may view beetles as pests, but science has found that studying beetles can be significant. The presence of healthy beetle populations in an area can be indicators of regional biodiversity, freshwater quality, and ecological continuity.

Though beetles are generally good for the environment, they can quickly become a threat when introduced into human civilizations. They can threaten foods and other goods and can be very destructive. When beetles such as carpet beetles have infested your home, they can pose a threat to you, your family, and your home. This is why understanding how beetles survive can assist you in eliminating them from your home and property before they can cause severe damage.

What Is a Carpet Beetle?

The carpet beetle is a type of beetle that is known for causing extensive damage to carpets, bedding, clothes, and upholstery. It's the larvae of carpet beetles that do the dirty work of damaging your personal property, but the adults don't get off that easily since they are the ones that infiltrate your home and lay their eggs where food for their young is abundant.

Adult carpet beetles will fly into your home through open doors or windows and proceed to lay their eggs on any suitable source of food. 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 larvae to develop 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 larvae to develop into an adult.

The carpet beetle larvae mainly feast 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, but due to the damage their young can inflict, having them in or around your home can be of significant concern.

What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?

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. Colorations that they can have are yellow, black, orange, and white patterns. Carpet beetle larvae are usually light brown to black in color and have dense hairs covering their bodies. Sometimes the hairs can even be barbed.

Another identifying feature of carpet beetle larvae is three golden colored hairs that are very distinct and located on their abdomen. During this pupae 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 larvae and then into adult carpet beetles.

Where Do Carpet Beetles Live?

Carpet beetles can be found throughout the United States but are more common in northern coastal states. This is due to these states having a more humid and colder 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 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.

Problems With Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetle larvae 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 larvae 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 shed skin and fecal debris in or on infested surface areas. If not kept in check, these little nuisances can leave behind big messes.

Carpet Beetle Control Solutions

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. This will incite 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 larvae, you should look for signs such as damaged clothing, fabric, carpet, and furniture. You should also be on the lookout for shed brown skins and the actual larvae or adults. After you have confirmed that you are indeed dealing with them, 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 any infested items have been removed, you can then proceed to treat that 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 protecting not only 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.

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