Insects like black carpet beetles are small critters that bring about big problems. Carpet beetles find refuge in buildings, slipping through windows and doors. They are also brought in on house flowers and plants. They primarily take up residence in carpets and rugs, but they also love to set up shop in clothes, upholstered furniture, and bedding.
Although, unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles can’t bite but they can cause carpet beetle rash and bring about a variety of other issues in your home.
What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?
The carpet beetle adult and its larva are minuscule. Several of each can sit on the face of a dime. They have an oval, spotted shell, six spindly legs, and two antennae. There are wings beneath the shell. The larvae are fuzzy worm-like insects with long hairs that extend off of the sides of their bodies. They also have band-like designs that run the length of their body
Carpet Beetle Eggs
These pests like to stay close to “home.” The adult carpet beetle lays eggs on or near their food sources. Usually, this is woolen fabrics, furs, and carpets. The eggs tend to blend into their environments, which is why it’s hard to foresee infestations before the larval stage. Carpet beetle eggs are cream or white.
Female adult beetles drop eggs over several weeks in the warmer seasons. The female leaves three batches of 20 to 100 eggs. A good way to curtail an infestation is with regular vacuuming and carpet shampooing, but a professional pest control cleaning is your best bet to get rid of carpet beetle eggs quickly and effectively.
Carpet Beetle Rash
Carpet beetles are scavengers that feed on fabrics and debris, such as hair or crumbs. Because of this, they don’t bite humans. This doesn’t necessarily make living with the pests any easier. Although they don’t bite, a carpet beetle infestation can lead to an allergic reaction known as carpet beetle rash.
Carpet beetle larvae leave behind their hairs, which can irritate the skin and trigger an allergic reaction. People that are especially sensitive may end up with large welts.
Carpet beetle rash can be confused with bed bug bites, making it difficult to figure out which pest is living in your home. Even though carpet beetles don’t bite, the welts caused by carpet beetle rash can resemble bed bug bites. There are some symptoms caused by carpet beetle rash, however, that won’t be caused by bedbugs.
Symptoms of Carpet Beetle Rash
Some of the signs of carpet beetle rash are:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Itchy skin
- Red, itchy, and watery eyes
- Runny nose
Other Problems Caused by Carpet Beetles
Adult carpet beetles are sneaky creatures that can fly, which allows them to get into your pantries and closets. They plant their eggs where larvae have access to abundant food sources. The larvae actually cause more damage than the adults as they have insatiable appetites.
Carpet beetles and their larvae feed on fabrics, causing damage to your clothing, upholstery, bedding, and carpets. They also like to eat animal products and food products, so they especially enjoy fabrics with traces of oil, food, or perspiration. This can lead to expensive damage to your things.
What Attracts Carpet Beetles?
Here are some of the reasons that carpet beetles end up in your home.
- Carpet beetles and their larvae are always in search of food
- Any fabrics blended with wool appeal to this pest, such as cotton and synthetics like rayon and polyester.
- Carpet beetles love light, food, and animal products
- They’re drawn to seeds, pet food, cereal, and plant-based items
Ways to Prevent Carpet Beetles
The best way to avoid a carpet beetle rash is through intervention. As long as there are larvae, you risk the possibility of carpet beetle rash. Inspect your home. Start with the beds, cabinets, and closets. Examine sheets and clothes, every crease, fold, crack, and gap.
If carpet beetles get into your home, try the following:
- Clean carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture, air vents, and baseboards.
- Get rid of dead insects, spider webs, and animal nests.
- Check flowers and plants before bringing them indoors.
- Install window and door screens or keep windows and doors closed.
- Keep clothes in airtight containers.
How to Tell If You Have Carpet Beetles
When looking for signs of carpet beetles, keep an eye out for the following.
- Carpet beetle skins that have been shed
- Holes in clothes or carpets.
- Welt-like rashes due to allergic reactions.
- Visible adult carpet beetles.
Carpet Beetles vs. Bed Bugs
The most important distinction between carpet beetles and bed bugs is that carpet beetles do not bite. Bed bugs feed on blood, while carpet beetles prefer material and stored food.
Bed bugs have flat bodies and hide during the day, feeding at night. The carpet beetle settles near food sources while bed bugs typically stay close to bedding. They’ll tuck themselves into the bedroom carpet or mattress.
Bed bug bites can lead to rashes and hives, but so can severe carpet beetle rash. It is best to contact a pest control expert to determine which is in your home, as well as to consult your doctor for the best treatment if you have a severe reaction to bed bugs or carpet beetles.
Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles
The best way to get rid of an infestation is to call in professional exterminators, but there are some steps you can take on your own. After you find where the carpet beetles are nesting, try these at-home fixes.
Boric acid is a powerful pest solution. You can use it by sprinkling it lightly and evenly on carpets. Wait a few hours and then vacuum. Use a spray bottle to mist curtains, furnishings, and other places where pests are likely to hide.
An organic solution, diatomaceous earth kills carpet beetle larvae through dehydration. It’s safe for humans and animals, but when applying, wear masks to prevent inhalation of fine dust.
Treat your home with indoor insecticides if absolutely necessary. Follow all manufacturer safety precautions.
Protection Against Carpet Beetles
Tackling a carpet beetle infestation can be a challenge. It’s important to keep your eye out for an infestation to avoid damage to your belongings and to keep your family safe from allergic reactions. When the problem gets out of hand, contact Phenom Pest Protection. We provide guaranteed pest control treatments in Baltimore and throughout Maryland! Reach out today for a free quote.