Archive for the ‘Winter Pest Control Problems’ Category

Ant: The Pavement Ant

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

One of the many varieties of ants is the pavement ant. This ant gets its name because it usually makes its home on or under pavement. When you see those little dirt looking mounds on the sidewalk or flushed up to the foundation of a building, those are where pavement ants hangout.

ant pavement ant

Here is a mound that pavement ants have built on a cracks of a side walk.

The piles of dirt are actually soil particles that they have moved from their colonies, usually the colonies are nearby or under the pavement where the mound is located. Pavement ants will make their colonies under things like sidewalks, building slabs, large rocks, wood, and or boards. Lawns and anywhere water might be are also popular spots for pavement ant colonies. As the pavement ants build their colonies they can become very territorial of them and during the spring there are often ant wars over territory on the sidewalks where they reside.

These pavement ants that go to war seem pretty scary, but for the most part they usually don’t bother people unless people bother them – for instance, destroying their mound on the sidewalk. Don’t forget ant bites are never fun to get.

ant pavement ant

Here is an up close image of the pavement ant.

Pavement ants are dark brown to black in color and are small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long. Their body parts help distinguish that they are pavement ants too. They have an uneven thorax with 1 pair of spines, grooves on the thorax and head, and two pedicels that connect the thorax and abdomen. These traits are hard to see on such tiny insects, but are visible once you get up close. Another trait is that some of the pavement ants have wings. Like other ants, there are the workers, swarmers and Queen. In the pavement variety of ants the swarmers have wings, and are twice as large as the workers.

The swarmers are also the reproducers. They mate with the Queens who will bury her eggs in soil. Often the soil is the location for the new colony that this group of workers will help start. The swarmer’s only job is to mate with the Queen, and reproduction is at its highest in spring and summer. As the eggs hatch and the ants develop, they will spend that time about two to three months, tending to the Queen of their colony. Once the workers develop into adults they will continue helping the colony. One very important thing for workers to do is to get food.

ant pavement ant

These pavement ants are eating away at a sunflower seed shell, see they will eat anything.

The pavement worker ants leave the colony to find food. They will eat pretty much anything they can find, although they prefer things like greasy food, sweets, fruits, and insects — dead or alive. As they leave the colony in search of food, ants leave a trail behind them in order to know where to go back for more food and how to get back to the colony. Their journey in search of food can take the pavement ant up to 30 feet away from the colony. If there is a home, office, or restaurant within that 30 feet radius, the pavement ants may make their way into them to find a meal. This is usually the ant that people find in their kitchens, and so on. The pavement ant will really only go inside to find food, otherwise it stays outside.

Although depending on the location of the colony there are rare occasions that the pavement ants will migrate into homes for heat during the winter. If this does occur, the pavement ants will reside within walls, under floors, or inside insulation. So homeowners won’t really see that they are there, until they come out looking for food. This can become a problem as the pavement ants can contaminate the food with their waste. If you see pavement ants inside your home — no matter what season — call your local pest control company to get rid of the ants.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Centipede: The House Centipede

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Centipedes are a gross thing to find in your house. Many times people find them near a water source, like a drain or a toilet. People usually assume that the centipede got there by crawling up through the drain pipe, but that actually is not true. Although centipedes do live in damp areas, they do not crawl around through pipes.

centipede house centipede

Looks like this centipede is trying to get off this chair. Notice how longs their legs are, yikes!

Centipedes are flat looking, and sometimes seem to be slimy. Their coloring is brown to gray, and have stripes on their body. They can be up to two inches long, and on that long body are even longer legs. The centipede has 15 pairs of long legs, equaling 30 legs on their whole body. Their legs are white banded. The pair of legs at the end of the body is the longest out of all 15 pairs; and, this last pair of legs is also antennae.

Even though the centipede isn’t the prettiest pest to look at it actually can be beneficial to have in or near your house. Centipedes eat other small insects like cockroaches, spiders, insect’s larvae, and flies. By eating these types of insects they are getting rid of the other pests, this can be a good thing for homeowners. Centipedes will usually come out to hunt for food in the evening and night time because they are nocturnal.

While inside a home the centipedes really do not cause damage. Also the centipede is harmless to people. It is very rare that a person would get bit by a centipede. They do have a pincher, but they are used for attacking prey and eating. If a centipede were to bite a person there would be some swelling and a stinging pain, but again being bitten by a centipede rarely happens.

The places to keep your eye out for centipedes are anywhere that is dark and or damp. If there are centipedes in your house they are usually found in places like, basements, bathrooms, closets, cabinets, cracks, crevices, garages, and or under firewood. So keep a look out! Although there are some things to do inside your home to help keep centipedes away like cleaning as much as possible and keeping areas dry, especially the areas where centipedes are most often found. A couple other things that will work to help get rid of centipedes are getting rid of their food supply, i.e. other small pests. So have your local pest control company come out regularly to service your house. Also you can lay sticky traps around your house to help catch them.

Throughout the year centipedes may be in your home, so always keep it clean and dry to help prevent centipedes even wanting to get into your home. The one time of the year centipedes might be more of a challenge is during the winter, when they will be coming inside to hibernate. Fortunately they do not reproduce while hibernating, but you still could have a large number of centipedes entering your home.

Once spring comes they will go outside in order to reproduce. While outside if you do come across any centipedes don’t try to kill them they are actually more beneficial outdoors than they are indoors, and should not be bothered. The only problem that can come from centipedes being outside is that if they make a home near your house they are more likely to go inside. Avoid this from happening by keeping any leave piles, composts, wood, or any organic matter away from the house. These items are better off in your yard or garden anyways, and so are the centipedes.

centipede house centipede

This centipede has found a great spot outside, hopefully he stays out there!

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Flies: The Cluster Fly

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The cluster fly is a nuisance pest for homeowners. It does not bite people, carry diseases, no cause any real damage to a home. Cluster flies are about five-sixteenths of an inch long; they are gray with golden-toned hairs on their thorax. Spotting them is easy because they are usually all clustered together on walls outside, sunning themselves. This is also where their name comes from, because when resting they usually will be clustered near each other. The cluster flies are similar to many other pests as they just want to get inside houses to stay warm. With this in mind, the winter time is when people will most often find cluster flies inside their homes.

flies cluster fly

Here is a close up of a cluster fly.

In order to get inside homes, cluster flies search for any small openings outside that will get them into the house. Also when windows or doors are open, that becomes a great entry opportunity for the cluster flies. Cluster flies will start entering homes in the fall, as the weather begins to cool down. By the winter most cluster flies will now be hibernating within a warm home. While hibernating the cluster fly is not very active, so a homeowner might not even know they are there. Although there are occasions where the cluster flies will come out in the day to sun themselves. Even though the cluster flies are in a warm house, they still enjoy sunning themselves in actual sunlight. If homeowners were to spot them it would be near the windows of the home; otherwise they pretty much stay in their hibernation spots. The areas of a home that the cluster flies like to hibernate in are the attics and wall voids. The cluster fly is also known as an attic fly because that is their most popular spot to be found. Cluster flies also like to be higher up, hence the attic as a popular hibernation spot. Many times people may spot them in their attics because they all clustered together once they are in there. Seeing a big blackish looking spot in your attic might be frightening, but it is probably just cluster flies once you look up close. Once spring starts to turn the cluster flies will leave the house and venture back outside. Once outside again they will mate and eat, neither of which they do during hibernation.

Now that spring is here and the cluster flies are back outside mating will begin. The cluster flies reproduce very frequently. The females do not have to do much; all they do is mate then they lay the eggs. The eggs are laid in soil near earthworms. About three days later the eggs will hatch and the larvae will migrate towards the earthworms, and then burrow inside of the earthworms. The rest of the development is done inside the earthworm using it as a food source. Once fully developed the cluster fly will be on its own. This cycle will continue from the spring to the summer. During this time up to four generations or more can be made. As summer comes to an end and fall approaches the cluster flies will have to look for another home, or the same home, to hibernate in.

flies cluster fly

These cluster flies are sunning themselves outside, and are probably looking for entry points into the house at the same time.

Often times cluster flies find the entry points into homes on the exterior walls while sunning themselves throughout the year. As the weather gets cooler they will use these entry points to get inside a warm home. Then the cycle will just continue and repeat itself from hibernating to mating and so on.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug and Box Elder Bug are the Same Bug

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The box elder bug can be a very annoying bug to homeowners. It is actually known to be a nuisance more than a pest because the box elder bug does not harm things like other pests do. The box elder bug does not damage things within a home, does not bite people, and rarely damages things outdoors. The only slight damage that comes from having box elder bugs inside a home is that their excrement can leave a stain on items like carpet, draperies, and walls. Also, if a box elder bug were to be killed by being stepped on or crushed by something it would let out a foul smell. The box elder bug is also known as the stink bug due to the foul odor it releases if crushed. Those are about the only two negatives that a box elder can bring into a home. When the box elder is outside it doesn’t do much harm either. Of course it feeds off of trees and such, but it actually does not damage them. The only time the box elder bugs could damage a tree or plant they eat is if there were an abundance of box elder bugs feeding all at once. Considering the damage that many other household pests can cause the box elder bug is not a threat, rather just a nuisance.

stink bug box elder bug

Here is a close up of a box elder bug.

Spotting the annoying critter is easy. The box elder bug has very distinct physical traits. They are about half an inch long, are an elongated oval shape, have wings, dark gray to black coloring, have three stripes of reddish orange right behind their head, red lines along their sides, a diagonal line on each wing, their abdomen is bright red, and their legs and antennae are black. The only problem is that their darker features help them blend in with tree bark, so they aren’t always easy to see. When they are not on trees they are easier to spot. Many times box elder bugs can be found on plants, grass, or flowers and the contrast of colors will make them more apparent.

stink bug box elder bug

This is a box elder tree, a main food and shelter source for the box elder bug. If you see one of these trees there are box elder bugs near by.

While on plants, grass, or flowers the box elder is most likely eating, as these are some of the foods they eat. The box elder bug also eats low vegetation, seeds, new twigs, cherry trees, peach trees, apple trees, ash trees, maple trees, and female seed bearing box elder trees. The female box elder tree is a favorite food for the box elder bug, and provides as a place to live. Also the ash and maple trees can both be food and shelter.

Outside the box elder bug enjoys the warmth from the sun. Many times if the box elder bug is not on a tree or plant, homeowners can find them along the south side of the home enjoying the sun. The box elder bugs sun themselves, just as people lie out and sun bathe. While sunning on the walls of homes box elder bugs will look for entry points like cracks or crevices. Box elder bugs will need to get inside the home when it gets too cold out, and cracks and crevices are the easiest way in. There are easy tips to help homeowners prevent box elder bugs from getting inside their home to hibernate.

Even though the box elder’s food supply and home is outdoors they do go into homes, but not for food like other pests. The box elder bug hibernates in the fall / winter. They start looking for a place to take cover in the fall and will make their way into the home or building as the weather cools down. Box elder bugs really like warm weather, so while inside homes they may follow the warmth of the house or any sunny areas to hibernate. Most often they hibernate in walls and attics. Once they find their spot, box elder bugs will become inactive, for the most part. At times in the day some box elder bugs will leave their spot in search of more warmth or sun, they will then return by the evening. This does not always occur, but it is how most homeowners end up seeing box elder bugs wandering through their home. Unlike other bugs or pests, the box elder bug will not even reproduce during hibernation. Only adult box elder bugs will survive hibernation, and even then some box elder bugs will get trapped within the home after hibernation and die.

Since the box elder bug does not reproduce in the fall and winter it will start reproduction once it gets outside again, in the spring. Box elder bugs will create one or two generations a year. The female box elder bug will lay her eggs on tree trunks, tree branches, leaves, stones, and or crack and crevices of tree bark. The eggs are a yellow tone, and as the nymphs inside develop the egg will change into a red tone. About two weeks later the eggs will hatch. The nymphs are about one sixteenth of an inch big, bright red, and wingless. Other than the coloring and the wings the nymphs look like smaller versions of adult box elder bugs. In order for the nymphs to develop into adults they suck fluids out of seeds, foliage, twigs, and or fruit. Also, during their development they will molt. Once they have become an adult they are on their own, and will keep the cycle going.

stink bug box elder bug

These are box elder eggs, some are more developed than the others as they are already red. There is also a nymph crawling over the pile of eggs.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug – Box Elder Bug Prevention Tips

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Prevention for the box elder bug needs to be focused on during the fall or in the late summer. The fall is the peak time of the year when box elder bugs are trying to sneak their way into people’s homes. Occasionally people will see box elder bugs crawling around inside their homes already and panic. Trying to catch and kill them is tricky because you don’t want to crush them and let out that awful foul odor. Many people will spray them with a pesticide or a water and soap solution. This does not always work because it has to be sprayed directly on the box elder bug. The best thing to do if you find box elder bugs in you home is to call your local pest control service out to your house. If you don’t think you have a box elder bug problem these tips will help ensure that a box elder bug problem doesn’t occur in the future. Like prevention for many other pests the steps are easy. Here are some of the basic tips to homeowners to help prevent box elder bugs from getting inside your home.

  • Go over the exterior of the home and look for any cracks or crevices, as those are the most popular entry points. Seal any if found.
  • Check all screens on doors, windows, and vents to make sure there are no tears. Repair or replace any that are damaged.
  • Seal any openings around windows.
  • Make sure all doors have thresholds and weather stripping. Also, make sure garage doors have a rubber bottom.
  • Seal any openings around pipes or cables.
  • Don’t leave piles of debris near the home, dispose of these properly.
  • Rake leaves and any seeds that have fallen, especially those from box elder trees.
  • Box elder bugs are attracted to light, so use yellow lights outdoors and at a minimum of use. Also make sure not to leave any windows open near your outside lights.
  • Vacuum the inside of your home frequently. If you find dead box elder bugs vacuum them dead or alive. Do not try to pick up, as there is a chance you can squish them. If that happens they could leave a stain, and will leave a foul odor.
  • If at all possible, remove any box elder trees, maple trees, or ash tress that are on your property. This is the most effective way to not have box elder bugs near your home.

Pest Control Problems During the Winter

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Winter wonderlands are great places for people to enjoy the season and all of the holidays that are celebrated during the winter. Ironically people’s homes are winter wonderlands for pests. Yes, pests are a year round problem that homeowners have to deal with, but during the winter is when pest invasions are on the rise. There might not be as many pests during the winter as there are in the spring, but the risk of pests wanting to get into homes is much higher. If you already have pest control services set up make sure you have them year round and not seasonally.

pest control problems in winter

With snow and bare trees there aren't many places for pests to live outside during the winter.

The main reason pest invasions are on the rise in the winter is that pests are looking for a warm and dry place to stay. Some pests will actually hibernate within your home because of the warmth. While other pests will remain active once they’re gotten into a warm home. Having active pests inside your home during winter can be very dangerous as they can spread their diseases. Also while in your home pests can cause serious damage to wires, beams, and so forth.

The active pests that are inside a home will be looking for food, so keep all food stored properly and do not leave fruit out in fruit bowls. If pests walk on your countertops or on any food that’s left out they can transfer their bacteria etc. that they carry onto those surfaces and food. This is the most common way for people to physically suffer from pests, other than being bitten. Also pests will be leaving droppings which are contaminated with diseases and can cause harm to people. Keep an eye out for any droppings, especially in attics, basements, corners, etc. If you do find droppings call your local pest control service right away, as this is a sign of pest activity. If there are large amounts of droppings it can be hazardous to your health so do not try to remove the mess yourself, again call a professional out to your home.

During the winter it is best to maintain any preventative methods that you do throughout the year; by maintaining these methods in the winter your home will also be ready for the spring problems. The best way to think of your house, in order to protect it from pests, is that inside your home it is like spring year round. Even though pest problems are year round, spring is the highest peak of pest population indoors and outdoors. So if during the coldest time of year the home feels like spring you are sure to have some pests trying to get inside. Here are some of the most common winter pests by state:

If you do not see the state you reside in on this list please check back as more states are still being added to our database. Also the database is still adding more and more pests, so if you have a problem with a pest and don’t see it listed in the database please continue to visit www.localpestcontrolservices.com as pests are continually being added.

Picture courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Cockroach: Preventing the Oriental Cockroach from Getting Inside Your Home

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Preventing oriental cockroaches can be very easy. It is mostly about maintaining a clean house and yard. Also of course, making sure there are no entry points from the outside into your home. Overall the oriental cockroach’s habitat needs to be modified. Here are the basic steps to help prevent oriental cockroaches from getting into your home.

  • Keep your home clean and dry.
  • Vacuum often, make sure to get the corners and in dark places like closets.
  • Fix any plumbing leaks you may have and keep moist spaces ventilated.
  • If there are any gaps near plumbing pipes, cables, or anything of that manner fill the gaps with steel wool or caulk.
  • Check around the foundation of the home and fill any openings, holes, or cracks that are visible. Pay special attention to the ground level. Also sometimes it is best to look at dusk when oriental cockroaches will start to come out to look for food.
  • Decaying leaves and organic matter should be removed from windows and doors.
  • Keep garbage cans outdoors, but away from moist areas.
  • Do not leave trash bags that are filled lying around, put them in a proper trash can because oriental cockroaches will eat through the plastic.
  • Drain traps should be capped.
  • Install door sweeps, thresholds, and weatherproofing seals on doors, including garage doors.
  • Add screens to your attic vents, crawl spaces, floor drains, and any other exposed areas.
  • On your windows make sure to have screens and weatherproof them as well.
  • Outside of your home keep all trash cans, firewood, and lumber away from the house, at least three feet. You just don’t want it set up right next to the house.
  • If you have any mulch in your front or backyard keep it at or below two inches thick.
  • Mow any weedy vegetation near the structure of the home or any other structures on your property.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces ventilated, and free of clutter.
  • Maintain keeping gutters clean, another source of moisture for oriental cockroaches to feed on.
  • Keep branches and bushes from touching your house.
  • Place sticky traps around, indoors and outdoors. Pesticides don’t always work because the oriental cockroaches may have already eaten, and can go for some time with out food. So trying to get them to eat poison is pointless.

Cockroach: The Oriental Cockroach

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Cockroaches are all over the world, one of the more common species in the U.S. is the oriental cockroach. Known as the dirtiest species of all of the cockroaches, the oriental cockroach is pretty gross. Not only is it disgusting to look at it, it even smells bad. Ranging from an inch to an inch-and-a-quarter long the oval-shaped oriental cockroach hides out in homes and backyards searching for food. In the case of food for the oriental cockroach – anything goes. The oriental cockroach’s diet consists of things like garbage, plant material, animal material, decaying matter, and sewage. As mentioned, anything goes when it comes to the oriental cockroach. The oriental cockroach can survive up to a month without food. On the other hand, the oriental cockroach can not go more than two weeks without water.

Some cockroaches fly and some do not. The oriental cockroach has wings, but it does not fly. The female’s wings are short and the male’s wings cover its body. But even with these wings they can not take flight. The oriental cockroach can be a reddish to dark brown to a black tone, usually the older ones are darker in color; they also are shiny or glossy looking.

cockroach oriental cockroach

This picture shows both sexes of the oriental cockroach. The male is on the far left, then the female, and then some oriental cockroaches in the nymph stage.

Based on their appearance they have have also been given other names, the black beetle and the water bug. The oriental cockroach gets the water bug name from where it is often found, near water. The oriental cockroach likes to live in damp and dark places. Aside from the fact that the oriental cockroach has two other names this gross creature has actually been around way before people. It is said that the cockroaches are one of the most successful animals since they have been around for nearly 300 million years.

cockroach oriental cockroach

Here is what the egg sac or oothecae looks like, on the left. On the right is a young oriental cockroach nymph.

One factor of how the oriental cockroach is such a high populated species today is that they re-populate often. A female oriental cockroach will get pregnant anywhere from once to eight times with in her life. Each time this occurs she lays up to 16 eggs which are deposited into a sac, also called an oothecae. The female will carry her oothecae around with her for up to 24 to 36 hours, after this time she will find a spot to leave the oothecae. The oothecae is usually left near a food supply, so when the nymphs come out of the sac they are near some food. Also the mother will want to leave her oothecae somewhere where it will be safe, so she looks for cracks or crevices to leave the sac. The eggs will stay in the oothecae for up to two months, depending on the environment. Once they have developed enough they will leave the sac, and are now nymphs. The nymphs are left to survive on their own, because the mother really does just leave her oothecae full of eggs and never comes back. Unlike many other insects the oriental cockroach nymphs looks a lot like an adult oriental cockroach, and is usually more of a reddish tone than a black tone. During the nymph stage the oriental cockroach will shed its skin seven to ten times before the nymph becomes an adult. As an adult the oriental cockroach will live up to six months to a year and a half. Then the cycle will just repeat itself.

Unfortunately, oriental cockroaches are slow movers, and it can take some time for them to get from one location to another. This also is a problem if a person finds an oriental cockroach and wants to kill it. Many times people will think that the oriental cockroach is going to take flight and fly away because they have wings on their bodies, but remember they do not actually fly. Therefore, the best thing an oriental cockroach can do is to hide. Also unlike other pests the oriental cockroach does not have sticky pads on their feet. This makes it challenging for the oriental cockroach to go certain places because they can not climb up smooth surfaces.

cockroach oriental cockroach

Here is an oriental cockroach outside crawling through some leaves on the ground.

People often find oriental cockroaches near any type of decaying organic matter (trash, compost), sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, under sinks, under washing machines, crawlspaces, and or floor drains. A common thread of all of these locations is that there is water near all of these spots. Also the oriental cockroach can find many places to live that are often in backyards or frontyards of homes. Oriental cockroaches like to live in bushes, under leaf ground cover, under mulch, anywhere damp, under porches, around shrubs, around flowers, near garbage cans or chutes, and under or in firewood piles. Knowing these are popular places for oriental cockroaches to live make sure to pay extra attention when you are near these spots. Some of the other locations mentioned can be found inside a home, and no one wants oriental cockroaches inside their home. A problem that can happen even if the oriental cockroach is living outside of your home is that the oriental cockroach can get easily brought in on accident. Oriental cockroaches get into homes by crawling on or into food packages, laundry (if your laundry room is outside of the main house), doors, air ducts, garbage chutes, plumbing, window jams, openings in foundation, and or ventilators. The oriental cockroach will try to get inside homes during droughts in search of water and when the weather cools down in search of warmth and food. Once inside your home the oriental cockroach can cause major problems.

The scary part about the problems oriental cockroaches can cause is that the actually harm people and not things. There is rarely any real physical damage left behind from oriental cockroaches. One thing that might actually be left behind is feces, which is a huge problem. The feces of an oriental cockroach have allergens in it, and this can make people have allergy problems or worse yet asthma. Also the skin cast from molting has allergens in it, so finding either one of these can be harmful for people, especially children. The allergens are more of an airborne problem, while the oriental cockroach is still able to get people sick just by crawling around a home.

This oriental cockroach looks to be crawling on some tile inside of a home. If you do find an oriental cockroach inside your home call your local pest control.

This oriental cockroach looks to be crawling on some tile inside of a home. If you do find an oriental cockroach inside your home call your local pest control.

The oriental cockroach is constantly secreting bacteria, viruses, and diseases from their bodies. As the oriental cockroach roams around they are constantly contaminating everything they touch. From the counter tops where food is prepared to the bowl of fruit to the dishes and utensils in the kitchen, these are all things that can be contaminated by oriental cockroaches and make people really sick. As the oriental cockroach moves the secretions fall off its body and onto whatever may be below, and if the item gets into the hands of a person with the contaminates still on it the person can become very ill. Washing all exposed fruits and vegetables is very important, also keep counter tops and tables thoroughly clean. The hard thing for people is that you can not see that the food or counters have actually been contaminated, so you may never know if things have been contaminated or not. This happens because oriental cockroaches are nocturnal so they come out at night, and the homeowners will not know if there were oriental cockroaches on their table or in their kitchen. It is best to assume they could be there every night and to clean everything in the morning before breakfast. Or better yet if traces of feces are found or even an oriental cockroach call your local pest control company to eliminate the problem. Although there are many things people can do to keep oriental cockroaches from even getting inside their home so they don’t have to worry about the harm oriental cockroaches can cause. Read more for tips on preventing oriental cockroaches, on our blog.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Beetle: Carpet Beetles

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Carpet beetles are not really harmful to people, they are more harmful to the possessions that people love. Carpet beetles do not just live in carpets per se, they can actually be found in many different areas of a home. The problem that occurs with carpet beetles is with what they feed on. Yes, depending on the material carpet beetles can and will feed on carpets; but, there are many other things within a home that are food for carpet beetles. Many times the things carpet beetles feed on can be either very valuable or invaluable to a person. In any case no one wants any of their possessions to be damaged because these beetles are hungry. To give you a better idea of what kind of possessions can be damaged here is a list of the more popular food items for carpet beetles: wool, fur, feathers, hair, horns, silk, velvet, felts, dog / cat food, flour, cake mixes, cereals, grain, seeds, bone, rayon, linen, cotton, leather, and dead insects. Many of these materials are used to make items that can be found within a home. For instance, a woman’s favorite fur coat, silk pajamas, furniture, an oriental rug, a babies stuffed animal, a mounted elk head, Christmas decorations, and sheets. Of course these items are not found in every home, but it gives you an idea of some items that can very valuable to people that they might not want to be destroyed by carpet beetles.

beetle carpet beetles

Here is an adult carpet beetle on a flower, most likely on it's way to eat some pollen.

There are actually a few different popular varieties of carpet beetles. The four most common varieties of carpet beetles are the varied carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle, the black carpet beetle, and the common carpet beetle. Over all the different varieties are similar for the most part, and vary more so when it comes to physical characteristics.

An interesting fact about the carpet beetle is that the most damage done with in a home is actually done by the larvae, not the adult carpet beetle. The larvae can be in the larval stage of development longer than the adult will end up living. Most often an adult carpet beetle will lay her eggs inside of a home, near a food source. The female can lay up to 100 eggs; the eggs will take about 15-30 days to hatch, and this depends on the climate of where the eggs are. Once the eggs hatch they have become larvae; and, they will immediately begin feeding on a food source. The larvae stage can last anywhere form 60 days to two years. Like the egg stage, it all depends on the climate the larvae are in. They will move around from room to room within a house in search of food, although they can survive for weeks without food. While traveling in a home the larvae try their hardest to stay away from light. They look for dark, secluded, and undisturbed places for food.

beetle carpet beetles

These are skin shells of carpet beetles. When people find skin shells they often think it's an actual carpet beetle.

During the larvae development the skin will shed many times. As this molting takes place the shell of the skin is left behind, depending on where the molting occurs this is often how homeowners discover they have a carpet beetle problem. By seeing the skin shells is the most frequent way to realizing your home has been infested by carpet beetles. After the larvae has molted enough skin it will become an adult, and possibly make its way outside of the home. Once an official adult, the carpet beetle will only live for about another four to eight weeks.

Most adult carpet beetles are found outdoors, although they will go into homes in search of a place to lay their eggs. Unlike the larvae the adult carpet beetle mostly feeds on nectar and pollen from sources outside. Considering that carpet beetles feed on pollen they can often be found on flowers, and this is an instance of how carpet beetles can get inside homes. If you cut fresh flowers from your garden always check for carpet beetles, as their shape and size resembles the lady bug. Another difference of the adult from the larvae is that they actually like light, even night lights inside homes. This is another example of how they may enter a home when they see the night light, or any light, indoors during the night they will fly into the home. Another spot the adult carpet beetle likes to hang out is near windows. One more way a carpet beetles gets inside a home is on furniture that is being moved in. Whether it is coming out of storage or purchased slightly used, carpet beetle larvae or adults could already be nestled in it, and then will just migrate to other areas of your home once inside. Other than on or under furniture the carpet beetle can also be found on mattresses, pillows, in heating ducts, between floorboards, behind baseboards, and really any where that is hidden.

beetle carpet beetle larvae

This carpet beetle larvae is on the move in a bathroom, most likely looking for some towels or robes to feed on.

Knowing what carpet beetles eat and where they like to live there are some other interesting things about carpet beetles one should know. The carpet beetle is a very difficult pest to control within a home. Since the carpet beetle can find food in obscure places and disperse throughout the home it is challenging to get rid of them. At any time of noticing a carpet beetle inside your home it is best to contact your local pest control company. Fortunately for the adult carpet beetle they are good fliers which helps them enter and exit homes. Unfortunately them being good fliers is not helpful for people trying to handle the infestation problem. Two things to keep in mind about what carpet beetles eat are that they enjoy soiled or stained fabrics, i.e. dirty clothes. They also are able to digest keratin, which is a protein found in animal hairs and fibers. Some older furniture used to be stuffed or padded with horse hair; also other objects inside homes may have animal hair on or in them. Keeping in mind these bizarre things about carpet beetles can also be helpful when thinking of what can be done to prevent carpet beetles from causing too much damage with in your home.

Pictures from www.creativecommons.org

Beetle: The Most Common Carpet Beetle Varieties

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Carpet beetle varieties are actually very similar; even though the black carpet beetle is known as the most destructive of all of the varieties. The general characteristics of the black carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, common carpet beetle, and the furniture carpet beetle are all very similar. From the larvae stage, to the food they eat, and to where they live all varieties of the carpet beetle are alike. The main difference between the four varieties are their physical traits, and how many generations they reproduce. Here are the physical characteristics and generation information on the varieties:

  • Black carpet beetle: The larvae are golden to dark brown, half an inch long, shaped like a carrot, and with bristles at the end of its body. Then as an adult the body is oval shaped, shiny, black, brownish legs, and ranges from one-eighth to three-sixth of an inch long. Produces one generation a year.
  • beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    Side by side are the black carpet beetle larvae, and the black carpet beetle as an adult.

  • Varied carpet beetle: The larvae are light brown to dark brown, one-fourth of an inch, and have a wide rear end. As an adult the body is nearly round, gray with mixes of white to brown to yellow scales, ranges one-tenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch, and has irregular black cross bands on it. Produces one generation a year.
  • beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    This is a varied carpet beetle larvae.

    beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    Here is an adult varied carpet beetle.

  • Common carpet beetle: The larvae are reddish brown tone, have an elongated oval shape, one-fourth of an inch long, and are covered with brownish-black hairs. Once as an adult its coloring becomes gray to black, has small white scales, a band of orange-reddish tone of scales down the middle of the back and around the eyes, and is one-tenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long. Produces up to four times a year.
  • beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    Here is a common carpet beetle larvae.

    beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    The reddish-orange stripe is a signature marking on the adult common carpet beetle.

  • Furniture carpet beetle: The larvae are covered in thick brown hair, have an elongated oval shape to them, and are one-fourth of an inch long. Finally as an adult it takes on a whitish checkered coloring with black spots out lined with yellowish-orange scales, its legs has yellow scales, and is one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long. Produces up to four times a year.
  • beetle carpet beetle most common varieties

    Larvae always seem to be larger looking than the adult carpet beetles. This is the furniture carpet beetle, the larvae with lots of bristle looking hair and the checkered look of the adult.

Pictures from www.creativecommons.org