Beetle: Carpet Beetles

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

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