June 27, 2022

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How To Keep Them From Invading Your Home

3 min read

If you suddenly spot an army of slow-moving, round, black bugs inside your home, there’s a good chance you’ve met your first carpet beetles. These tiny pests look harmless, but they can do some hefty damage. (Want to know something truly gross? The name “carpet beetle” comes from their love of eating carpet and laying eggs there. Yuck.)

“On warm spring days, adult carpet beetles can easily make their way inside through open windows or doors,” says Michael Bentley, board-certified entomologist and director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association. Once inside, they can lay eggs that hatch into larvae that will damage fabrics, carpets, and other items made from natural fibers.

With spring in full bloom, make sure these uninvited guests bugger off and do not take up permanent residence in your home. Here’s what you need to know about carpet beetles.

How to identify carpet beetles


Carpet beetles can easily be mistaken for bedbugs, but these buggers don’t bite humans or feed on human blood like bedbugs do. Instead, they prefer plants and fibrous materials.

“The adults are small oval-shaped beetles, ranging in color from black to various mottled patterns of white, brown, yellow, and orange,” says David Price, associate certified entomologist and director of technical services for Mosquito Joe, a Neighborly Company.

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Price says the larvae, which are the ones that actually do the damage, are about an eighth of an inch to a quarter-inch long, tan to brownish in color, slow-moving, and densely covered with hairs or bristles. They also leave behind shed skins.

Carpet beetle food sources

Photo by Mary Anne Smiley Interiors

Adult carpet beetles eat pollen, plants, and flowers. But young carpet beetles and larvae feast on fabrics in your home.

“Carpet beetles enjoy dining on a wide variety of dried animal and plant products, including natural carpets, woolen fabrics, furs, hides, and silk,” says Bentley.

They also like to feed on dead insects, feathers, and animal hair.

“This diet allows them to thrive once they have made their way into a home as they will typically hide in attics, carpets, and tapestries,” he says.

Signs you have a carpet beetle infestation


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Photo by Powell Tuck Associates

Carpet beetles can thrive in the home if you don’t take the time to thoroughly clean and sanitize your floors and furniture.

“Other than the presence of the pest itself, the most noticeable sign of a varied carpet beetle infestation is damage to fabrics throughout your home. You may also find the light-colored shed skins in infested materials left behind by larvae developing into adults,” says Bentley.

Here’s an unsettling thought: The presence of adult carpet beetles in the home almost certainly means that larvae have been laid somewhere.

“You will see the adults at windowsills either outside or inside, crawling up a wall or at the baseboards in a bedroom or around furniture,” says Price.

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How to get carpet beetles out of your home

Photo by LEICHT New York

Vacuuming and steam cleaning can help, especially beneath edges of carpets, along baseboards, underneath furniture and stored items, and inside closets.

Other preventive measures include wiping or spraying surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner or vinegar, sealing cracks and gaps on doors and windows, and keeping dried food like pasta or flour in sealed containers. Place infected items in the washing machine and dryer where the high temperature will kill the larvae.

“Clean up food spills and debris in pantries and other food-storage sites that may attract hungry beetles. Store dried goods in sealed containers,” says Bentley.

Price says the adults are highly attracted to lights, and he recommends turning off lights at night when you’re not in the room and using motion-sensor outdoor lights.

“While some homeowners may try to eradicate this pest using DIY methods, the best way to fully remove an infestation is by working with a pest control professional,” says Bentley.

The post The Springtime Brings Carpet Beetles: How To Keep Them From Invading Your Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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