Carpet Beetles: Interesting Facts & How to Get Rid of Them

Carpet beetle facts

Carpet beetles are the types of insects commonly found in our home all over the world especially in Europe.There are a variety of species of carpet beetles among which Varied carpet beetle is the most common type.

1. Appearance and size

The most common types of are fur beetle and varied carpet beetle. Both are found in Europe. The length of adult beetles is around 1\8 inches. Their bodies are oval in shape and larvae have typical length.Adults are brown in color with scales of different patterns. Carpet beetles are dark brown or black in color. They range in sizes from 4-5 millimeters.Fur bottles have a white spot on their wings with black color.Varied carpet beetles are mottled with brown, black and white scales.

2. Behaviour, diet, and habits

They feed upon things present in our home. They may be found in trash cans or pillows. Woolen carpets are the common infestation of carpet beetles. They feed upon the wool fabric, but nowadays most of the carpets are made up of synthetic wool which is not infested by carpet beetles. In hot summers they usually migrate towards cooler areas which include small areas like barns to larger ones like entire home. The larvae of carpet beetle feed upon animal hair, natural fibers, dead insects, and feathers. An adult carpet beetle seeks for a food source nearby before laying eggs. Their favorite locations include birds’ nests, the edge of carpets, the fur of pets, storage containers with a fabric material, costumes and museum of insects.

3. Reproducition and life span

Carpet beetles undergo various stages from egg, larvae, pupae and finally adult phase. Only single generation is produced by Black or varied carpet beetles, but other species may produce multiple generations.Their life span varies from three months to years from the time females lay their eggs.

Adult carpet beetles mate and feast during the summer season, and after laying eggs, they die off. Carpet beetles life span depends upon the food resources in the larval stage.Larval form of Anthrenus flavipes (furniture carpet beetle.)

4. Carpet beetle eggs and larvae  

The adult carpet beetles lay eggs during the summer season. Female carpet beetles lay around 30-100 eggs near the areas where food sources are available for survival especially in indoor areas. Eggs usually hatch within 6-30 days. They are cream or white in color with size around ¼ -1/2 mm.They have spine projections and often blend with their surrounding environment. They are also found near air ducts, lint buildings, and furniture.

The immature or larval stage of carpet beetles is  1/4 inch long, i.e., 3-5 Mm in length, about rice size.This stage is also known as “wooly bears.”They are heavily covered with bristles or hair. They are oval or carrot-shaped with black or brown color with stripes. Its length i.e. 8mm distinguishes black carpet beetle larvae with brown to yellow coloration. The hairs on their tails are longer than other species. The life span of larvae varies between 260-660 days. They hatch after 6-7 weeks after being laid.

The larvae stage nourishes upon fabric and causes a mess. The larvae phase feeds on animal skin, lint or dried hairs deposited in upholstered furniture or air ducts so thorough cleaning should be inspected every day. Dry cleaning and laundry should regularly be performed to eradicate these little species as they are highly persistent. Larvae may succeed surviving despite regular housekeeping efforts. Larvae may be a source of food for spiders. Larvae growth spreads rapidly so you should keep a proper check on them. When Carpet beetle larvae molt they leave shell like brown, bristle covering cast skins.

5. Pupae and adults

The pupal phase varies from species to species and range between 10-14 days. When larvae are about to pupate, they burrow themselves into food or wander and shed off their skin.After the pupal phase, the adults move to the outdoor areas as they prefer sunlight.

The adults are smaller in size with oval-shaped bodies about 1/7 to 1/8 inch long i.e. 4-5 mm in length. Adults have the ability to fly. They are black or brown in color along with colored, white and black patterns. They feed on pollen nectars, flowers, human food flour, cereals or rice. They may be found in indoor areas like windows or fixtures. They have a short life around 2-3 summer weeks mating and feasting, and then they die.Macro picture of a varied carpet beetle walking on a old sponge.

Signs of a carpet beetle infestation

  • Black capet beetle: its length measures around 3-5 mm.They are black to dark brown in color.They are smaller than varied is an oblong little bug.
  • Furniture carpet beetle: its length measures around 2.5mm.They are black, yellow or white in color. They are bit larger in size than the Varied type carpet beetles. They are plump and oval in shape.
  • Varied carpet beetle: they are around 2-3mm in length. Its upper part has brown, yellow and white scales with irregular black bands. They are in round shape. Their color is blackish gray, wings with white bands and back with a red stripe in the middle.

Common signs include damage to cotton, leather, silk, wool or fabric items.

When larvae stage converts to adult carpet beetles, they look for pollen seeds to feed upon in outdoor areas.So bugs are found in large numbers during the spring season for the search of flowers.Carpet beetles invade your home through the opening like doors, windows. Carpet beetles usually infest upholstered furniture, carpets, coats, blankets, wool, comforters, clothing and pillows.Larvae and adult carpet beetles both prefer undisturbed and dark areas so their spread may go unnoticed until they increase in number. The animals or birds nest in chimney, attic or walls may be the source of infestation for carpet beetles. Infestation may also be found near, dead insects, dried skin or hairs.

How to get rid of carpet beetle

1. Identify the source

Close up of the head of a modern vacuum cleaner being used while vacuuming a thick pile white carpet.Fecal pellets, cast skins or carpet beetles are good indications that they infest area and identify the primary source.Carpet beetles usually attract fabric items especially carpeting in dark or closet areas.They are also found near furniture items, materials made of feathers or furs and clothing stuff.They may attract non-fabric items including paint brush, flowers, cabinets and dog food.Keep a check on undisturbed dark location, for example, attics, duct, baseboards.Also checks under rugs, carpets, couches or furniture.

2. Remove the carpet beetles with the vacuum

Vacuum all over your homes especially covered areas. Try to vacuum areas covered with fabric or furniture. Suck up all the carpet beetles especially their eggs. To avoid carpet beetle infestation cleans your house once daily every week.

3. Wash your fabrics in hot and soapy water

All the clothing items should be stored in tightly sealed containers. Wash your towels, fabrics and linen items in washing machine properly with hot and soapy water. Steam cleans your furniture and carpets. Carpet beetles are highly resilient, so they need to be killed by strong detergents and hot water.

4. Try dusting with boric acid

A solution which is dusted in infested areas and is non-toxic to humans. It is a bleaching agent and kills all the insects. Boric acid should be sprinkled in crevices, cracks, moldings and baseboards.Boric acid may be harmful to pets and may be damaging to property.

5. Carpet treatment containing Chlorpyrifos, Bendiocarb, and Allethrin

Apply insecticides on carpets containing Chlorpyrifos, Bendiocarb, and Allethrin which are effective against these tiny beetles. IGR insecticides may also be used as birth control measures to prevent them from reproduction.

Professional carpet beetle remover

Pest control worker spraying pesticides on wooden drawer.Carpet beetles are the highly resilient type of pests especially their eggs which require professional removal.These tiny creatures can be removed through a variety of methods, but it is challenging to eliminate them even after attempting all the tricks mentioned above. So if you cannot remove them, it is time to seek help from a professional exterminator against these tiny beetles.

Preventing carpet beetle infestation

Carpet beetles are not carriers of diseases, but they can cause devastating damage to your commercial products.

  • Fabric or woolen items should be laundered or dry cleaned before being placed for a longer duration.
  • Cleaning should be done regularly so that larvae or eggs of beetles may be killed or perspiration odor is removed.
  • If you want to store articles made of wool or fabric, pack them with flakes, mothballs or Paradichlorobenzene crystals in tightly sealed containers.
  • Avoid using insecticides on clothes or bedding.
  • Seal ceilings or wall cracks to prevent infestation by carpet beetles.
  • Keep the sprayed items away from the reach of pets or children.
  • You can try keeping the infested items either in oven or freezer at higher temperatures which are not tolerable by carpet beetles, and these temperatures may kill them.
  • Store your starches or clothing materials in plastic bags.
  • Choose the synthetic material for interior, carpets or furniture because it does not attract carpet beetles.
  • If you control the infestation of other pests, you will find a drastic reduction of carpet beetles infestation in your homes.

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