HOMEOWNERS GUIDE TO CARPET BEETLES
Insects known as carpet beetles belong to the family Dermestidae. The species which we battle as household pests include Anthrenus verbasci (varied carpet beetle), A. scrophulariae (common carpet beetle), A. flavipes (furniture carpet beetle), and Attagenus unicolor (black carpet beetle). These tiny, oval-shaped beetles range in length from 1/10 of an inch to 5/16, and they have a range of colorations.
No matter what color they are, they are all frustrating when they invade our homes, as they are prone to do. And, when they get in, they begin to multiply. Homeowners should be aware, however, that these pests are more than just annoying. They can be damaging to belongings, and to some people.
WHAT EVERY HOMEOWNER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CARPET BEETLES
HARMFUL TO BELONGINGS:
While it may be tempting to think that these beetles only do damage to carpets, sadly, this is not the case. While in nature, adult carpet beetles feed on dead insects but, within your home, they primarily feed on cereals, flour, and rice. Be aware, however, if you find adult carpet beetles in your pantry foods, it is highly likely that there are carpet beetle larvae chewing on much more within in your home. Larvae are happy to feed on materials such as clothing, blankets, comforters, woolen sweaters, pillows, carpets, drapes, tapestries, couch cushions, and anything else that is made out of natural fibers. Some natural fibers they consume include silk, fur, wool, leather, and animal hair. And they will also consume some synthetic fibers if they have food spills on them.
HARMFUL TO SOME PEOPLE:
While most people will not suffer from an encounter with carpet beetles, some folks can have an allergic reaction to contact with the larvae. When the hairs, or bristles, on the abdomen of carpet beetle larvae come in contact with the skin, it can leave tiny red bumps on the skin which look like bug bites or a rash. This can also happen if someone comes in contact with the insect's blood. If scratching is not controlled with these rashes, the area can become infected.
CARPET BEETLE PREVENTION TIPS
If you have not yet seen these insects invading your home, there are several things that you can do in order to prevent an invasion. These tips will help to prevent other household pests from getting in as well.
- Examine the outside of your home. Look closely at the foundation and outer walls for holes, gaps, and cracks where insects may squeeze through. Be sure to pay attention to areas where pipes, wires, and other objects pass through walls.
- Wherever you find any openings, no matter how tiny, make repairs using a caulking gun, cement, or other repair material.
- When bringing plants in from outside, carefully inspect them for carpet beetles and other insects.
- Dry cleaning or running all your clothes through the dryer on the hottest setting will kill carpet beetle larvae if any are present.
- Carefully clean furniture and pantry shelves on a regular basis.
- Make sure to keep your home vacuumed and dusted.
- Using bright fabrics and keeping rooms well lit will help to drive larvae away. These creatures prefer to be in dark areas.
- Keep all foods stored in tightly-sealed containers or inside the refrigerator or fridge to prevent adult carpet beetles from finding food.
WHAT IF THEY HAVE ALREADY INVADED?
If you have discovered carpet beetles eating away at your pantry foods or seen evidence of the larvae doing damage to your belongings, reach out to the professionals here at Witt Pest Management. Ridding your home of carpet beetles can be tricky business if you don't have a working understanding of how these insects operate and you may find yourself frustrated when they keep coming back with DIY strategies for eradicating them.
Both adult carpet beetles and their larvae can go for long periods eating away at your belongings because they tend to hide in dark, undisturbed areas. Don't let a small problem grown into a large problem.