Carpet Beetle 101
Adult carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped beetles that range in color from black to mottled shades of brown, orange, or yellow. As the name suggests, they are a common household pest that can infest carpets and other fabrics, leaving behind damage that is often mistaken for the handiwork of clothes moths.
Although they are called carpet beetles, carpet is usually not their preferred food source because it is mostly made of synthetic materials, and they prefer natural fibers. Carpet beetles will feed on a wide variety of materials throughout the home, but accumulated pet hair under beds and around baseboards are a common source. These tiny creatures can be difficult to detect, leading to a major infestation before you know it.
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Carpet Beetle Pain & Prevention
Female carpet beetles can lay between 50 to 100 eggs at one time, producing fabric-noshing larvae that can wreak havoc on your home. During the spring, you may find clusters of adult carpet beetles on your window sills, which can be an indication of a larger infestation within your home. Carpet beetles will most commonly attack items stored in your closet, like sweaters and scarves, but they can also feed on blankets, comforters, and more.
The best way to defeat a carpet beetle infestation is with prevention. Be sure to wash or dry-clean woolen fabrics or other clothes before storing them away, as the cleaning will kill any existing eggs or carpet beetle larvae. Store the freshly laundered items in tight plastic bags, vacuum sealed if possible. Regularly vacuum all carpets in your home, and get rid of any built-up debris along baseboards or under beds.
If you do find yourself dealing with a carpet beetle infestation, you need to find the source of the infestation. Inspect all clothing in your closet and drawers, as well as upholstered furniture. When you locate sources of the infestation, be sure to remove or vigorously clean the materials.
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Hungry, Hungry Carpet Beetles
While adult carpet beetles actually feed on flower pollen rather than fabric, carpet beetle larvae feed on a variety of fabric materials, including wool, fur, felt, silk, and leather, breaking down the keratin in them for digestion. That’s why female carpet beetles lay their eggs near or on vulnerable materials, providing easy access to food for the larvae. Yuck!
Carpet beetle larvae are about ⅛ to ¼ of an inch long, slow-moving, tannish in color, and covered in bristles or hairs. As they feed on nearby materials, they may leave holes or threadbare spots in the fiber. They also thrive on accumulations of pet hair, lint, and other debris that can build up along baseboards or in vents. These guys are no joke!