Carpet Beetles

A Quick Guide to Identification, Treatment and Prevention of Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are a small beetle capable of inflicting extensive damage if not promptly controlled. Unlike other fabric pests such as clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae are very adventurous and may crawl from one apartment to another or fly from building to building. As such, it is recommended that an infestation be controlled as soon as it is identified by contacting Hearts Pest Management for a thorough inspection and treatment of carpet beetles.

Enjoy this video of carpet beetles in the home and garden.

Feeding damage from carpet beetles often occurs under heavy furniture or pianos and at carpet edges. Not limited to carpeting, adult beetles may be found living behind baseboards and molding, and in heating system air ducts. They can even be located in higher traffic areas, such as in dresser drawers, clothing and furniture.

Carpet Beetle Identification

The carpet beetle undergoes complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. The complete life cycle requires four to 12 months depending upon the temperature.

Enjoy this video that demonstrates the metamorphasis of a carpet beetle.

Adult beetles are able to fly, and are especially active during the spring and summer months. At night, they are attracted to light, and may enter a home or other structure through an open window or door.

Three common varieties of carpet beetles are present in North America:

  • Black Carpet Beetle (Attagenus unicolor):
    • Adult black carpet beetles are oval and appear shiny-black with brownish legs.
    • Black carpet beetles vary in body length from 1/8 to 3/16 inch.
    • Black carpet beetle larvae frequently stay hidden when feeding, are golden to dark brown and are about 1/2-inch long. The body resembles an elongated carrot or cigar with a long brush of bristles at the tail end.
  • Furniture Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus flavipes):
    • Adult furniture beetles are 1/16- to 1/8-inch long, oval in shape, and covered with spots of yellow, white, and black scales.
    • The underside of a furniture carpet beetles body is white.
    • Furniture carpet beetle larvae are about 3/16-inch long, rather stubby-looking, and clothed with bands of stiff, erect brown hairs. The body is wide in the middle but tapers at both ends. Three thick tufts of hairs arise from either side of the body near the rear end.
  • Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci):
    • Adult varied carpet beetles are about 1/10 to 1/8-inch long and nearly round.
    • Adult varied carpet beetles top body surface is usually gray with a mixture of white, brown, and yellow scales and irregular black crossbands.
    • Adult varied carpet beetles bottom surface has long, gray-yellow scales. (These scales are 2-1/2 to 4 times as long as they are broad.)
    • Larvae of Adult varied carpet beetles are about 1/4-inch and are light to dark brown. The body is wide and is broader at the rear than at the front.

Location of Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetle larvae prefer feeding in dark, undisturbed, protected places. You may see evidence of carpet beetles in structural elements of the home such as under baseboards and in air ducts, as well as within the home in locations such as under upholstered furniture, within woolen products, in clothes closets, and among piano felts.

Carpet beetles may be found in rodent, wasp and birds nests in and around the home, in the preserved skins of animals such as mounted taxidermy animals and furs, as well as dead birds or rodents in wall voids. We have found many carpet beetle infestations while inspecting for bed bugs!

Carpet beetles may also be found in stores of food such as grains and cereals. Often the molted skins are more abundant and visually apparent than the larvae. Flying adult carpet beetles near windows may be a useful indicator for locating an infestation.

Carpet Beetle Treatment

Your pest control technician will complete a detailed inspection of your home or business and construct a carpet beetle treatment plan in accordance to your individual needs. Two elements to a treatment plan for carpet beetles remain consistent; 1) applying a commercial non-residual insecticide to all appropriate areas, and 2) following up with an application of a residual insecticide. Step two assures complete control of adult or larval stages not directly in the areas treated with the non-residual insecticide. Be sure to keep small children and pets away from treated furniture and carpeting until any insecticide is thoroughly dry. If possible, the carpet should be cleaned before insecticide treatment.  Be cautious to avoid staining or soiling the treated carpet, and avoid walking on treated areas until they are thoroughly dry.

Carpet Beetle Prevention

Three steps to ensure that carpet beetles do not return after a professional treatment:

Frequent household cleaning, including thoroughly vacuuming carpeting and upholstery, washing or dry-cleaning clothing and articles made of susceptible fibers is recommended Vacuum cleaning areas under baseboards, behind door casings, under radiators, and inside furnace and air conditioning registers to remove as much lint as possible To present re-infestation, as many potential breeding sites should be eliminated as possible. Discarded remnant carpeting, old feather pillows, and dried flower arrangements or “shadow boxes” containing caches of dried seeds should be destroyed.

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