Scientists occasionally decide there is no need to get creative when naming a new species. When they named carpet beetles, it was one of those times. Carpet beetles are precisely that, beetles that feed on wool carpets. If the scientists had been specific, they might have been named “wool carpet, fur, animal product beetles that sometimes also feed on plant materials.”
Carpet beetles are pests that look similar in size and coloration to some stink bugs. They are less than a quarter-inch long, with a hard shell mottled or striped in black, white, and yellow-orange. As adults, they feed on plant matter, but they can become a severe problem for homeowners when those adults lay eggs.
The adult carpet beetle lays more than 100 eggs that hatch in as little as ten days, and they become a destructive force against homeowners after they hatch. The larvae are bigger than the beetles themselves and look like woolly worms, feed on a specific protein found in animal products like wool, fur, and leather.
That means one beetle can lead to an army of destruction on wool carpets, leather sofas, or stored furs. Taxidermy animals can be especially inviting to carpet beetles, improperly stored furs, wool blankets, and the like.
Do Carpet Beetles Mean Your House Is Dirty?
Carpet beetles can be attracted to clumps of pet fur or other decaying animals and insects, so cleanliness can help prevent an infestation. Still, these pests can find their way into immaculate houses, too. Wool rugs and other animal products that are cleaned frequently are less likely to provide a hiding place for carpet beetle eggs and larvae, but the adult beetles often sneak in with people and pets or through open doors.
Like bed bugs, carpet beetles are attracted by carbon dioxide, so they will often also seek out places where people sleep, particularly if bedding from animal products is used, like that heavy wool quilt.
How Do I Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?
Do-it-yourself methods for getting rid of carpet beetles are difficult and expensive. For a small infestation, say a single rug, the item must be thoroughly cleaned and then subjected to freezing temperatures for at least a week to destroy the carpet beetles in any life stage. For homeowners with access to a freezer that can reach -28 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing only needs to last three days.
Some chemicals, like mothballs, can be effective against carpet beetles, but the infested items need to be in a tightly sealed compartment to ensure enough product concentration to kill them. Additionally, many commercially available products smell horrible and are dangerous for children and pets.
Additionally, the extent of an infestation can be hard to determine, especially in the egg phase. That makes it especially hard for the average homeowner to handle a carpet beetle infestation independently. In most cases, a professional exterminator needs to be called in to properly address the situation.
Call Elmira Pest Control at the First Sign of Carpet Beetles
Discreet Extermination has been eliminating pests, including carpet beetles, for more than 20 years. Our trained exterminators will rid your property of unwanted pests and we offer year-round protection plans to ensure that your home stays pest-free.