The Commonly Ignored Carpet Beetle
September 22, 2020
Carpet beetles are a menace to your carpet and your upholstery. ‘Carpet beetle’ is the colloquial name for Dermestidae, which is a family of Coleoptera. There are about 500 to 700 carpet beetle species worldwide, but there are only 4 that you are likely to come across. These are the black carpet beetle, the common carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle, and the furniture carpet beetle. Why are they called carpet beetles? They eat carpets. They also eat upholstery, fur, oils left from humans and pets, wool, and leather. They like the keratin of feathers, too.
Carpet beetles are generally round or oval bugs with clubbed antennae and a covering of scales or setae. ‘Setae’ is the word for bristle or hair-like coverings. Carpet beetles can fly, and they can get through many small holes because they are only 2.8 to 5 mm long. They are attracted to certain smells, particularly flowers. Once they sneak into your house, a female beetle can lay 50 to 100 eggs. The eggs hatch in 8 to 15 days, and then the larvae hide out under base boards, edges of carpets, around door casings, and under upholstered furniture. Carpet beetles have a holometabolous development, which means they go through 4 stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. The larvae are sometimes called ‘woolly bears’ because they are covered in setae, so they look fuzzy. It takes about 6 months to a year for the ‘woolly bear’ to grow up, and they live about 2 months after that. Most of that time, they will be gobbling down someone’s beloved leather couch.
If you see the shed skins, fecal dots, or the bugs you will want to get rid of them right away. Otherwise, their next act will be to eat holes in your carpets and rugs. Your first line of defense is good housekeeping. Vacuum your house thoroughly on a daily basis. Launder your bedding and clothes. If you suspect a piece of clothing is infested, throw it away. Otherwise, it will spread the infestation. After this, you can try packing what you can into tightly sealed containers with cedar balls. Just make sure the seals are tight. In really infested areas, you can put pheromone traps that will lure them away with hormones. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your house can be very effective. You’ll be able to find diatomaceous earth in most garden stores.
It can be difficult to evict carpet beetles once they get in your home, so it’s important to act quickly. If you live in the area for Phoenix pest control services, contact Green Home Pest Control and we’ll provide you with a comprehensive treatment to eliminate these bugs and ensure they don’t return. We hope your upholstery never meets up with a carpet beetle, but if it does we’ll be here to help.