Carpet beetles are pests that can inhabit just about any type structure from residential to commercial spaces. They are pests in homes, apartments, warehouses, and museums and they can be found anywhere foods, fabrics, and preserved specimens are stored. They are also attracted to — you guessed it – carpet!
Carpet beetles will lay eggs in furs, carpets, and woolen fabrics. The eggs hatch in roughly two weeks. The sticky carpet beetle larvae will feed for different time periods, depending on the conditions. Carpet beetle larvae prefer to pupate in secluded dark places. When it’s ready to pupate, the larvae burrows deep within the food source.
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Carpet beetles belong to the dermestids family of beetles. While the larvae can be found stuck to furs and fabrics as a food source, carpet beetle adults feed on pollen and nectar. They are actually attracted to sunlight and they will feed on a variety of plants that produce pollen such as buckwheat, spiraea, and crape myrtle.
There are three different carpet beetle species including: varied carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, and the black carpet beetle. The varied carpet beetle lays 40 eggs per cycle, the furniture carpet beetle lays 60 and the black carpet beetle lays 90 eggs. Indoors, the adult varied carpet beetle can be found near windows and they have light and dark brown stripes. It is not uncommon to find them or their larvae hanging around ceilings or the cracks of walls.
The furniture carpet is beetle is white and dark yellow or orange with black spots and the black carpet beetle are shiny black and dark brown. The larvae are also shiny, but smooth. They are covered with short, stiff hairs. Black carpet beetle larvae can grow from 1/8 to 3/16 in length. Full-grown larvae can grow up to 5/16 of an inch. This makes black carpet larvae different from other carpet beetle larvae.
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Because carpet beetle larvae feed in dark, secluded places, you may not notice any damage until you investigate the area. You will find brown, shell-like skins on the surface of wool, silk, leather, fur, feathers, fur, and pet hair. You won’t find evidence of damage on synthetic fibers. Carpet beetle larvae won’t eat or burrow into synthetic fibers. While carper beetle larvae habits may seem pretty set, they are not. It is not uncommon for the carpet beetle larvae to make its way to stored spices and grains, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised if you see them inching along ceilings or other odd surfaces to find their way to a cupboard.
Carpet beetles and carpet beetle larvae are tough to control. You can try sticky traps (with or without pheromone). You can also try the elimination method. Eliminate all materials that may serve as food for carpet beetles if it is not absolutely necessary to keep them. If you must, make sure all food sources are stored and secured in airtight containers and bins. Keep all fabrics and rugs clean and free of lint, hair, and dead insects. After vacuuming, sweeping, and/or dusting, dispose of the bags and dusting rags immediately. The only way to get rid of carpet beetles or carpet beetle larvae that have infested the insides of furniture or mattresses is to treat the pieces with lethal gas. It might just be better to throw the infested pieces out and replace them with new ones.