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CARPET BEETLES

carpet beetle 3Imagine sitting down in your recliner and realize the fabric under the arm rest feels like Swiss cheese. Could it be wear and tear? Maybe, however, it may also be an infestation of Carpet Beetles.

Many people who have a Carpet Beetle infestation think they have a different problem entirely. Carpet Beetles can cause a moderate to severe allergic reaction in humans closely resembling bed bug bites and the damage they cause is often barely noticeable. Many homeowners who have Carpet Beetles either don’t notice, ignore it or incur expenses to exterminate for bed bugs that they don’t even have.

Carpet Beetles come in three common varieties: the Black Carpet Beetle, the Common Carpet Beetle and the Furniture Carpet Beetle. Black Carpet Beetles are oval shaped, range in color from dark brown to black and measure 1/8 - 1/4 inches. Adult beetles spend a lot of time outside, feeding on flower pollen and other plants and animal materials, such as hair, fur, feather, dead insects, nuts, seeds, etc. Adults don’t actually cause problems unless they’re drawn inside. Sometimes, birds and other animals or insects die in chimneys or other wall voids and their carcasses can attract Carpet Beetles. Often, however, Black Carpet Beetles are brought into a house with old woolens and carpeting. Once inside, the females will start to lay eggs behind the baseboards, as many as 90 per female. Soon after, larvae emerge and begin to wreak havoc, particularly to carpets. Surprisingly, Black Carpet Beetle larvae aren’t strictly black and, in fact, don’t even appear to be of the same species. They are carrot-shaped, light brown in color and covered in tiny, golden brown hairs. Once the larvae emerge they will immediately begin to feed on any animal hairs and furs found on your carpets, making tiny holes.

Common Carpet Beetles are slightly more noticeable, with orange, red and white scales and measure 1/16 - 1/8 inch. The adults Beetles, like their pure-black cousins, spend much of their time outside unless drawn indoors by decaying animal material. Female Common Carpet Beetles lay between 30-60 eggs directly on a food material. When the larvae emerge, they are red-brown with blackish hairs and measure 1/4 inch. Unlike the Black Carpet Beetle, who feeds on material found on top of carpets, Common Carpet Beetle larvae prefer to feed on the fabric themselves, causing extensive damage to carpets, furniture and clothing!

Furniture Carpet Beetles are mainly a furniture pests measuring 1/16 - 1/8 inches, are oval shaped and black with a spotted pattern of yellow and white. Their larvae are the smallest of the three species of carpet beetles, measuring just 3/16 inches and they’re chestnut-brown in color, covered in little hairs. Furniture Carpet Beetles are similar to their cousins, except for their feeding habits. This species often causes the most noticeable damage because they feed on hairs as well as padding and upholstered furniture (especially if made from horsehair).

IF YOU FIND CARPET BEETLES IN YOUR HOME, the best course of action is to vacuum thoroughly; I mean every inch of your carpet and upholstered furniture. Also, be sure to wash and dry all of your clothes. A clean environment will usually drive Carpet Beetles away because you’ve eliminated their food source. Be sure to also focus on areas where you may not typically clean (underneath and behind your couches, chairs, etc.). Pet hair and dust can accumulate in these areas making a perfect breeding ground for carpet beetles. Again, be extremely thorough in vacuuming since dust and hairs will hide in the most unexpected places.

 

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