To most of us, our home is a sacred precious space, where we feel relaxed and comfortable. We can fill this space with things that are uniquely ours, from knick-knacks to posters.
But, as with everything in life, not all is as it seems, for there is a stealthy invader into our space, the little ones that crawl on the ground: bugs.
Now, it is almost impossible to stop every bug coming into our home, as they number in the trillions and are tiny. So, we as homeowners prioritize which ones to deal with.
For example, many people will actually leave spiders alone – despite their appearance and reputation – due to the fact that they eat a lot of the more annoying insects, like flies and mosquitos.
But for things like silverfish – small insects that eat books, paper, and everything that brings you joy – the knives are out and residents will be scrambling to deal with these little nuisances.
So, what about carpet beetles? What do you do about them? Are they good or bad for the home?
In this article, we will look closer at carpet beetles and see exactly what to do about them.
What Is A Carpet Beetle?
Carpet beetles (family Dermestidae) are small, reddish brown insects, usually found under carpets and upholstered furniture, but also known to infest other areas such as mattresses, boxes, shoes, clothing, walls, and even books.
They are primarily nocturnal and feed on dead organisms, decaying organic matter, plant material, and insect droppings.
The adults lay eggs on living plants or animal hosts, then hatch after approximately one week. The larvae emerge from the egg case and begin feeding on the dead skin, pollen, and other detritus around the host’s home.
Adult beetles may live for a couple of weeks, while the larva stage lasts for only five weeks.
The adult female lays its eggs by chewing a hole through the substrate; she deposits one egg per day throughout her lifetime. She does so often enough to ensure survival of her offspring.
Can They Harm Your House?
Yes, they can! In particular, if there are large numbers present in an area, they can cause considerable damage. This includes eating holes in fabrics, leaving behind feces and urine, and spreading disease causing bacteria.
These latter two issues can create unpleasant odors, especially when combined with rotting vegetation nearby. Furthermore, they can spread various mites, including those that can infect humans.
The problem is that they don’t always stay put once they have begun to chew. Rather than being stationary, they move around, making it difficult to locate and remove them entirely.
So, How Can You Tell If You Have Carpet Beetles?
You might think that you would know if you had carpet beetles because they have a characteristic look and scatter when disturbed, but unfortunately, this isn’t always true.
Some species of carpet beetles are much more stealthy and hide, making detection much harder.
Most of the time, beetles are only detected once they have reached a critical mass, meaning that they can no longer sustain the vast numbers of them in one area and have expanded into other areas of your home.
This is absolutely terrible news and makes getting rid of them harder and a bit more disturbing, as you now know there are many more of them.
How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
If you find carpet beetles inside your home, it’s important to take action immediately. First, check all furniture and floor coverings for signs of damage that could indicate beetle activity.
Next, thoroughly vacuum the affected area using a high-powered vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Do not use steam cleaning equipment as it will kill the larvae within the carpet, making removing the body a little tricky.
After vacuuming, you should wash the vacuum bag in hot water to remove any remaining dirt. Finally, treat the carpet with a strong bleach solution.
Be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear during treatment. It takes about 30 minutes for a full application, and you must repeat the process every three days until you see signs of improvement.
If you suspect that you have carpet beetles outside your home, try treating the source of the infestation first. For example, if you notice that your garden soil is discolored or has a bad odor, this could be caused by ground beetles.
There are many methods available to control these pests, including handpicking, trapping, baiting, spraying, and biological controls.
However, if you choose to apply pesticide sprays directly onto your lawn, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Never allow children or pets near treated areas, as they may ingest insecticides.
What Causes Them To Come Into My House?
Carpet beetles can enter your home through cracks and crevices in old carpets, shoes, boots, and other items that contain leather. They can also enter via windows and doors.
Once inside, the beetles begin to feed on materials such as fabric, rugs, upholstery, and paper.
They eat away at these materials until they reach the backing, which is usually cotton. When this happens, they burrow under the material and eventually emerge from the bottom.
In order to prevent this from happening, you should ensure that all loose objects are secured tightly against the floor and wall surfaces.
Can They Carry Disease?
Yes! Carpet beetles can spread diseases such as baculovirus (a virus associated with cabbage loppers) and carpet beetle dermatitis. While not really life-threatening, these diseases can make the infected party inch and experience a lot of discomfort.
These insects often live among us without our knowledge, so it’s important that we learn how to identify them properly and know what steps need to be taken in order to keep them out of our homes.
Carpet beetles are a nuisance, not a malicious nuisance as they don’t bite, but still irritating and potentially harmful nonetheless. They damage all the things you love, can cause structural damage to furniture, and give you illnesses that you have never had before.
That’s why it is important to deal with it as quickly and efficiently as possible.