Pest infestations are disgusting but common. Carpet beetles are one common type of pest that destroys fabrics in your home. Whether you think you may have an infestation or you just want to be able to spot one before it starts, check out these six important facts you should know about carpet beetles.
Adult Carpet Beetles Don't Do Much Damage
Adult carpet beetles don't really do much damage to your fabrics. They prefer feeding on pollen and nectar from outdoor plants. These adult carpet beetles, however, get inside your home to lay their eggs because your home has an abundant food supply for their larvae. In fact, it is the larvae that do the most damage inside your home. They dine on many fabrics, such as carpets, rugs, furniture, clothing, mattresses, pillows, etc. This causes damage to your fabrics that cannot be repaired.
The Larvae Prefer Animal-Based Fabrics
Larvae of the carpet beetles prefer to dine on animal-based fabrics, such as animal fur, wool, silk and leather. They have, however, been known to eat synthetic materials when they become dirty from food or skin cells. Common items at risk include wool rugs, wool items that are infrequently used and washed (wool blanket shoved in a closet for months at a time), pillows and furniture with feathers or animal hair.
There Are Three Main Types of Carpet Beetle
There are actually three different main types of carpet beetle: the black carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle and the furniture carpet beetle. The varied carpet beetle is the most common. It is round and has a white, yellow and brown pattern. The black carpet beetle is black and more elongated than the varied carpet beetle. They prefer substances with keratin (animal fur, feathers, etc.). Furniture carpet beetles are similar in shape and markings as the varied carpet beetle, but they may appear slightly larger.
Both Adults and Larvae Prefer the Dark
It may be hard to spot the first stages of an infestation because both the adults and larvae prefer dark, undisturbed places, such as a closet you rarely use. As a result, the beetle may be laying hundreds of eggs before you actually notice. Good places to check for infestations include cabinets and closets that aren't used often, under floors, behind baseboards, under furniture and inside your heating ducts. By the time the adults and larvae begin appearing in more noticeable areas, you may already have a major infestation throughout your entire home.
They Leave Gross Evidence
Even if you haven't noticed any adult beetles or larvae, you may be able to spot their gross evidence: fecal matter and shed skin. The fecal matter is extremely small, but it isn't invisible. Look for it in the same areas mentioned in the previous section. You may need to part rug and carpet fibers down to the backing to get a good enough look. Look for a substance that looks like small black salt. In those same areas, you may also notice cast skins, cocoon tubes and cases.
You Can Prevent Them With Good Housekeeping
One of the best ways to prevent carpet beetles is to practice good housekeeping. Keep your rugs and carpets well-vacuumed. Clean wool items occasionally, even if you don't use them often, or keep their tightly sealed. In the kitchen, keep food properly sealed. If it's too late, and you already have an infestation, it's best to contact a pest control specialist to handle it.
Carpet beetles are more likely if you have a lot of fabrics made from animal-based materials, but they will attack synthetic materials under the right circumstances. If you think you might have an infestation, contact a pest control service in your area today and reclaim your home.
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