Having a carpet beetle infestation in your home is no joke. If left untreated, these pests can quickly cause major damage to carpets, clothing, furniture and other household items. Feeding on wool, leather, cotton, velvet, silk, hair, feathers and a range of other natural materials, carpet beetle larvae can crawl from room to room causing all sorts of damage along their way. For this reason, it’s important that you know how to identify these pests and spot signs of any infestation as this will give you the best chance of minimizing the damage they can cause.
How Do Carpet Beetle Problems Start?
There are at least four different types of carpet beetles found in North America, all of which cause the same type of problems. Due to their somewhat rounded shape and elongated antennae, adult carpet beetles tend to look a bit like lady bugs. Still, it’s not the adults that you really need to worry about.
Yes, the adults are the ones that lay the eggs that lead to the larvae, but it is the larvae themselves that do all the damage. This damage isn’t just limited to eating holes in your carpets and clothes, as the larvae can also lead to dermatitis and other skin problems.
Beginning in May and June, the adult beetles begin to fly around looking for potential egg-laying sites and often fly into homes attracted by lights. They can also be brought into the home on cut flowers.
Any type of natural fiber is a prime spot for the beetles to lay their eggs, as those fibers provide ample feed for the larvae once they hatch. The larvae are often found in dresser drawers, under heavy furniture, in air ducts, behind and along baseboards and pretty much any other darker, secluded spot where they can feed.
Identifying and Eliminating Carpet Beetle Infestations
Carpet beetle infestations can be notoriously difficult to spot and also to eliminate. However, if you notice large holes in carpets, clothing, drapes, etc., it’s most likely that they were caused by carpet beetle larvae. While moths can also cause similar damage, they tend to result in smaller holes all over the fabric instead of being concentrated in larger areas.
If you do spot signs of damage, you’ll then want to search the possible hiding places for signs of larvae. This can include the larvae themselves and also their fecal pellets and skin sheds, which are black and about the size of a grain of salt. All of these are indications that the larvae are feeding in that area.
After identifying that the problem is indeed carpet beetles, you’ll generally always need to contact a professional pest control company to rid your home of the infestation. The problem is that the larvae can hide all over the home, which makes them incredibly tough to get rid of. As part of stopping the infestation, it will also be necessary to try to minimize their potential food sources.