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Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles

You’ve probably seen these tiny beetles around your home. Let’s learn more about them!

I’ve seen a few of these around the house recently, so I thought it would be a great time to describe these insects and discuss treatment options. 

What are carpet beetles?

Carpet beetles are tiny representatives from the family Dermestidae. Adults are tiny (1/8” to 1/16” long) and have a mottled appearance. They are often found on windowsills, baseboards, walls, undersides of rugs, and in closets. Adults lay eggs on natural materials from animals, such as leather, wool, fur, felt, silk, and even feathers. Frequently used items are typically safe from dermestid beetles, but any stored linens or clothing are attractive egg-laying sites. Legless larvae emerge from the eggs and feed on the substrate, causing holes and other unattractive damage to your natural materials. The dermestid beetle’s affinity for animal products extends also to dead animals. When the dead animal’s skin becomes dry and almost leathery, adult dermestid beetles are attracted for egg laying. This behavior is why dermestid beetles are commonly called hide beetles or skin beetles. 

Fun fact: Have you seen an animal skeleton on display in a museum? You can thank a dermestid for the clean job! Museums use dermestid beetles to clean dried tissue off bones to be used in elaborate displays. The beetles will eat only the tissue, leaving the bones pristine. This is great for museum specimens, but it also means any deer mounts or other taxidermy in your home may be at risk. 

How do I know if I have a problem?

Occasionally finding one or two carpet beetles in your Raleigh home is no cause for concern or intervention, but it should serve as an indicator to keep an eye out. Regular monitoring will help ensure a dermestid infestation never gets out of control.

If you are regularly finding carpet bugs in your home, it’s time to start investigating. Do you have any wool or leather clothing? If so, is it sealed in an airtight bag or container? Likely, your natural fabrics are stored in nothing more than a garment bag. Garment bags are great for keeping dust and moisture off your infrequently worn clothes, but they don’t do much to exclude carpet beetles or even clothes moths. If you suspect an infestation, search the seams, cuffs, and pockets of your natural clothes. Carefully unfold any natural blankets and search along the seams and fold creases. Larvae, which look like fuzzy little footballs, may be found feeding in these sheltered locations. If you don’t have any natural fabrics on your home, you may have a dead animal in the walls or attic that is attracting the beetles. You may want to leave this particular search up to us! 

What can I do to get rid of them? 

Once you have identified the article(s) responsible for the infestation, remove all visible larvae. If the item can be dry cleaned, have this service performed. Otherwise, place the items in a sealed bag within a 0°F freezer for at least a week. Vacuum the house thoroughly after the affected article(s) have been removed for laundering or freezing. If dermestid beetle problems persist, give us a call. Flea treatments are typically effective against large infestations of dermestid beetles and should be performed by professionals like us. Call Innovative Pest Solutions today!