24 Mar

Beauty can be Deceiving

Fresh cut flowers—they’re used for birthdays, mother’s day, numerous holidays, and whenever a man has done something stupid and needs a culturally accepted penitence gift. Flowers offer a pleasant fragrance and radiant burst of color that liven the darkest room. But their beauty can hide a menace that you will come to hate. It’s not the thorns of roses that will bring your wrath, but a small beetle.

A Beetle?

5-21furniture carpet beetle larva and adultThis beetle resembles a ladybug, but the coloring is a varied mix of tan, white and brown. The beetle itself is harmless and feeds exclusively on pollen and nectar. That is not the problem, it’s what happens next. The beetle finds a nice dark place such as under your couch, or along the baseboard and lays anywhere from 40 to 100 eggs. Five to thirty days later, small hairy looking larvae begin to emerge and you have an outbreak of carpet beetles.

Commonly referred to as the ‘wooly bear’, the carpet beetle feeds on–you guessed it–carpet. They can destroy furniture, blankets, clothes, fabric, silk, feathers, leather, fur, and even displayed animal horns.

Flowers aren’t the only entrance point into a home. Bird nests provide all the necessary food and shelter for carpet beetle larva. If nests can be found inside drier vents, it gives an easy starting point for an infestation.

Other ways that carpet beetles invade include:

  1. Used furniture purchased from a home that has an infestation.
  2. Open windows without screens (adult carpet beetles can fly).
  3. Open windows with torn or worn screens.

Carpet beetles like dark, undisturbed areas. Under furniture and along baseboards are common places, but they can also be found inside air vents.

Signs of an Infestation

In the summer, larvae will pupate into adult beetles and fly to windows seeking an exit point. If you find the adults in your home, it’s time to start looking for additional signs.

Often carpet beetle destruction can be confused with the clothes moth. The difference is in the damage. Rather than sporadic holes, carpet beetles generally target one specific area. Also carpet beetles leave a bristly, tan shell when they molt. It sounds gross but you can also look for their poop. It will look like flecks of pepper along base boards and around feeding sites.

Prevention and Control

  1. Control access points. Inspect flowers for adult beetles, repair or replace damaged window screens, remove bird nests and place vent guards on all dryer and bathroom exhaust vents. If you’re purchasing used furniture, clean it extensively before it ever enters your home.
  2. Clean often. Dust and vacuum. Dusting will reduce a food source. Vacuum along base boards and under furniture and don’t forget the area beneath the couch cushions. Clean rugs and drapes and if you’re going to be storing clothing make sure it is freshly cleaned before you put it away. Infestations can often be eliminated through intensive and regular cleaning.
  3. Chemical treatment. For infestations that cannot be eliminated, Admiral Pest Control can help get rid of a carpet beetle infestation.  As trained professionals, we will have the knowledge and materials to make your home pest free.

Don’t allow carpet beetles to eat your carpet or your argyle sweaters, simple steps can be used to reduce the risk of infestations.

Image courtesy of ForestryImages.org

Leave a Comment