Have you seen a carpet beetle? The adults are roughly 1-4mm in length, oval shaped and normally either black, white, tan, yellow or orange patterned. The larvae are light brown to black and covered in dense, barbed hairs with distinct golden hairs on the abdomen. The larvae are usually slightly larger than the adult beetles, and measure approximately 2.5cm in length.
The larvae have a diet of fabric and animal products, and they can thrive in a home that is left alone. Adults can fly inside homes through open doors and windows to lay eggs on furniture, rugs, or clothing. You can also find them hitching rides on people or infested items that are being brough inside the home.
If the home isn’t kept cleaned and well maintained, a new carpet beetle brood may hatch and start the cycle again. Most of the damage is caused by the larvae eating holes in the natural fiber items like wool, silk, feathers, dead insects and leather. Their bristle hairs can also become irritating to the skin.
When they mature into adults, they feed on pollen instead of fabric items. Adults are mostly a nuisance because they’re attracted to the light. However, their presence indoors indicates that their eggs and larvae are somewhere in the house. Infestation can tend to go unnoticed for long periods of time, allowing severe damage to bedding, clothing, carpets and upholstered furniture. You’ll know if you have an adult infestation when you can see them gathering around windows and lights. Larvae you can find crawling on surfaces, but their most likely sign is the damage. There will be chewed holes in the infested items as well as shed-ed skins. The larvae favor dark areas like closets and behind baseboards, this can make them difficult to spot with the naked eye.
Spring is the time of year carpet beetles will more likely show up around your home. Since dust, cobwebs, dead insects and pet fur are open invitation to larvae, pulling out the vacuum or broom is a good way to fight them off. Go through stored clothing to check for any damaged or infested items. Laundering kills active larvae but any wool, leather, fur or delicate items need to be professionally dry cleaned.
Infestations last longer if they have a consistent source of food. Stored clothing, old rugs and carpeting, or dirty sheets are likely infestation sites. Clean and wash all the fabrics in the home on a regular basis, and storing fabrics that aren’t being used in airtight areas make it harder for beetles to access.
Other than keeping a well cleaned and maintained home, proper pest control services can keep any pest infestation at bay. If you’re finding you’re losing the battle to pests or even carpet beetles, reach out to a Palm Coast Pest Control representative today.