Can you think of a better way to receive a “gift” from a neighbor than by having carpet beetles crawl from their apartment to yours? Maybe the noxious pillagers might prefer hitching a ride in the throw rug or dresser that your best friend doesn’t have space for in their new house, but you have the perfect place for it. Better yet, the pesky-property-destroying-free-loaders could fly over to your abode to set up house keeping. No matter how these “guests” enter your home, you will want them gone quickly, before they begin sampling the wares in your pantry and making a meal of your fine textiles.
Carpet Beetle larva looks like a hairy grain of brown rice with stripes. Adults have the look of a small beetle. Adult colors vary from mottled beige, tan, and brown, to solid black depending upon the variety. Both adult or larva carpet beetles are small, ranging from 1/10th to 3/16th of an inch, depending upon the beetle variety. The ones we see in our area are about an 1/8th of an inch. The life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult) takes anywhere from four months to a year, depending upon the surrounding temperature.
Don’t let the name carpet beetle fool you, as they are not constrained to carpeted areas. Damage caused by larva can be found to the food in your kitchen and pantry, clothing, furniture, and bedding. They prefer natural products such as wool, silk, cotton, feathers, hair, and dander. Destruction to your carpet can be found under heavy furniture such as piano and couch legs. The naughty critters can be found living behind baseboards, the empty spaces around your oven and dish washer hidden by cabinets, in dressers and closets, and air duct systems. The adult carpet beetles have a more mature palette, and it no longer craves your carpet but have moved on to eating plant based food and pollen. You can often find adults foraging in your garden and yard.
Though these guys move slow, they can infest a home and cause considerable damage to your personal items. Luckily, these nasty bugs are fairly easy to rid from your home. First, get rid of any clutter, damaged items, or food sources where they are currently living and feeding. Old dried flower arrangements, dust bunnies under the bed, cereal and dog hair under couch cushions need to be removed. Second, pest control treatment on carpeted and other infested areas is needed to eradicate these annoying pests. Finally, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Empty the vacuum container into a bag and get it out of your house. This will help rid your floors and furniture of the little critters that are dead and dying, and the debris that they hide in and eat.
CC image by David Short on Flickr