What are carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles are common household pests that look like small, fuzzy worms or little, dark beetles. They can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of the carpet, on the windowsill, on clothing and even in food products.
They can be found all over the United States, but are more prevalent in northern coastal states where there is a colder and more humid climate.
Because carpet beetles can cause irreparable damage to your carpet and other belongings, it's important to be able to identify these pests, understand their significance and know how to approach the situation if your home becomes infested.
Types of carpet beetle
There are four main types of carpet beetles: the black carpet beetle, the common carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle, and the furniture beetle.
• Adult beetles in these categories are typically an eighth of an inch in length, while carpet beetle larvae have bristles on their bodies.
• The black carpet beetle is more distinct than the other three, with an oval shape and a completely solid color, usually either brown or black.
• The remaining three types tend to have rounder shapes and have dark backgrounds with various patterns on their backs.
Life cycle, diet and behaviors
Adult carpet beetles typically live outdoors and subsist on a diet of pollen and nectar.
• They can gain entrance to your home by attaching onto flowers, furniture, or may fly in willingly at night when attracted by the light.
• Once a carpet beetle gets inside your home, it can lay up to 50 eggs that can hatch anywhere between six and 16 days.
• Depending on the home's temperature and the food supply, the larvae stage of the beetles can last between three months and three years. Adults can live between two weeks and a few months.
• During this time, they will feed on carpet fibers as well as food items and skin cells in the carpet.
Types of carpet affected
Carpet beetles aren't usually picky about which types of carpet to infest and will often feed on other types of material as well, such as clothing.
However, long and thick carpet fibers usually put you at a higher risk for carpet beetles, since these types of carpets provide a greater food supply and can usually provide a better hiding place for the beetles.
How to prevent carpet beetles
Practicing good housekeeping is one of the most effective ways to prevent carpet beetles from infesting your home.
• Since carpet beetles feed on food products, skin cells and other debris left behind in the carpet, it's important to thoroughly vacuum your carpet on a regular basis.
• To prevent damage to your clothing, store wool and fur items in airtight bags.
• Keep all food items in your kitchen properly sealed to prevent exposure.
• If you purchase any secondhand upholstered furniture or clothing items, make sure to have them properly cleaned before bringing them into your home.
• Have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year.
As mentioned above, getting your carpets cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning company at least once a year - along with regularly cleaning and vacuuming - is one way to prevent carpet beetles from making lunch of your floor covering.
Since carpet beetles typically affect more consumers in northeastern coastal cities such as Boston or New York, if you're concerned about your dwelling attracting these pests, you may want to employ the services of a Boston carpet cleaner or a NYC carpet cleaner to help prevent damage from carpet beetles.