If you’ve ever had a carpet beetle infestation, you know just what a pain this insect can be. While employing the help of a pest control company is not always required, a qualified pest control service can help you isolate the source of your issue and eliminate it. If you’ve been lucky enough not to have an infestation, the following information will help you identify types of carpet beetles and make sure your home stays safe from them.
The three most common types of carpet beetle are the black carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle, and the varied carpet beetle. All go through a four-stage life cycle, which includes egg, larvae (crawling stage), pupae (cocoon) and adult. The larvae look quite different from the adult carpet beetles.
Black Carpet Beetles
The adult beetle grows to be around 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch long and has an oval-shaped, shiny black or dark brown body. The black carpet beetle larvae tend to be golden to dark brown in color, are usually longer than the adults (around 5/16 of an inch) and have a narrow, elongated body covered with short, stiff, dark hairs.
Furniture Carpet Beetles
The adult beetle is usually around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long and nearly round. They appear to have a mottled appearance, as their bodies are covered with multi-colored scales. The underside of the body is white. The larvae of the furniture carpet beetle are more of an oval shape, around 1/4 inch long, and is covered with thick, dark hairs.
Varied Carpet Beetles
The adult beetle is similar to the adult furniture carpet beetle in that it is nearly round, grows to around 1/10 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch long, and has multi-colored scales, giving it a “spotty” appearance. Varied carpet beetle larvae have tufts of dark fur, bodies with alternating bands of light and dark color, and are oval in shape, although the rear of the body is wider than the front.
Carpet Beetle Behavior
In all varieties, the larvae are scavengers that cause damage as they feed on natural fabrics (like wool, leather, or silk) and open or spilled grain products (such as cereal, pasta, flour and cake mixes). Larvae also eat lint, pet hair, pet food, book bindings — you get the idea.
Since adults can lay between 40 and 90 eggs at a time, a group of larvae can be rather destructive. The adult will lay the eggs in what’s called a larval food source, a large section of any of the materials described above. Once hatched, the larvae will feed and move around until it is time to pupate (cocoon). During this time, they find dark, secluded places with ample food sources. It can be easy to tell their damage from moth damage because carpet beetle larvae tend to feed on one area of a piece of clothing or your carpet, while moths tend to cause damage in several different spots. The dark skin shed once the larvae pupate and their fecal pellets, about the size of a grain of salt, can also indicate where larvae have been feeding.
Pest Control Techniques
While it can be difficult to keep these insects completely out of your home because they are so small, there are pest prevention measures you can take to minimize their activity indoors. The first step is to keep your home clean. Vacuum frequently, especially in corners and under furniture, to remove any accumulations of lint and pet hair. Regularly clean draperies, linens, rugs and carpets. Promptly clean any food spills from furniture, rugs and carpets. Make sure all open food containers are sealed tightly after use. Trim back any flowering plants near window or door openings to prevent adults from sneaking into your home.
If you utilize the above pest prevention tactics and are still seeing ongoing evidence of an infestation, contact a qualified pest control service for assistance. A green pest control company will recognize that chemicals may not always be the answer; it is more important to find the source of the infestation and clean out that area completely.