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Are Carpet Beetles Eating Your Clothes?

If you’ve found these pesky insects in your home, you need to know how to get rid of carpet beetles as soon as possible. They can cause extensive damage to many items in your household. Not only do they feed off of carpet fibers, but they can also destroy furniture and even eat your clothes. These insects can consume keratin, an animal protein found in many belongings in your home, such as silk, fur, leather, and more.

Take action today against carpet beetles in South Florida before it’s too late and an infestation spreads. Contact Hulett Environmental Services for a free inspection of your living space and a personalized treatment plan if you are battling an outbreak. It’s best to address the problem at the first sign of bugs to avoid inconvenient, costly damage to your belongings, keepsakes, and family heirlooms.

What Are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are a common type of beetle that feeds off of a variety of everyday household items. They particularly enjoy products that are animal-based, such as the feathers in down coats or comforters, wool, fur, leather, and more.

Their food of choice can be especially alarming as most of these items come into direct contact with our bodies: a wool coat, a silk scarf, and our blankets. The larvae like to hide in the seams of fabric, such as collars and hemlines, or carpet seams.

They prefer to breed and feed in spots that are warm and dark, so check those jackets that you’ve had packed away or those blankets that you have stored in a chest. The larvae hatch much more quickly in warm environments, making South Florida particularly susceptible to the creatures. Since the insects prefer dark places that you may not carefully examine often, it may be hard to notice an infestation until it is already out of control.

If you notice the bugs in your home, you’ll definitely want to know how to get rid of carpet beetles immediately. A professional pest control inspection should handle the job, due to the many places that the creatures hide and feed. A professional can help you correctly identify the beetle and determine the food source, and discuss with you the best way to get rid of these insects. The spots can be hard to see with the naked eye and even more challenging to reach.

What Causes Carpet Beetles?

Unfortunately, carpet beetles are typically drawn to an area because of the feeding opportunities available. They are attracted to the material of your clothing and carpets, and hide in the fabrics, feeding and causing damage. Sometimes, they can even be found infesting or crawling around hides, skins, furs, rodent or bird nests, dog and cat food, or other food products. All things that can be found in abundance throughout our homes.

The insects are extremely common, and it is not a sign of dirtiness if you notice their presence. Simply put, any home is the perfect environment for these pests to appear, and once they do, and many people find themselves wondering how to get rid of carpet beetles.

Where Do Carpet Beetles Come From?

Sometimes carpet beetles can be brought into a home by the homeowner hidden in an infested good. But carpet beetles can enter your home from outside when they are in search of food or a good place to lay eggs. When they are outdoors, adults feed off of pollen, fruit nectar, or seeds. However, female carpet beetles like to lay their eggs where there is a large amount of food readily available. Your home makes for the perfect breeding ground due to the wide variety and vast availability of food sources for the young larvae, such as animal based fibers, clothing, pet hair, human skin cells, grain products, and pet food.

Carpet beetles can make their way into your home in the same way that many other insects and pests do. Doorways, windows, or cracks and gaps in the foundation and baseboards are easy entry points. Still, they can be carried into your house in different ways.

Plants that the carpet beetles were feeding off of outside can bring them into your home if you cut flowers from your garden, for example. They may also hop on your family pet and make their way inside.

What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?

While the most recognizable evidence, and usually the first noticed, is damage to your belongings, it’s crucial to know what the bugs look like. If you see them around the house, even if you haven’t noticed signs of damage, it’s essential to devise a plan for how to get rid of carpet beetles.

Carpet beetle larvae may be easily confused for tiny caterpillars. They’re small, under 5mm in length and round. Their bodies have white, brown, and yellow patterns, and they are covered in “hair.” If you find one of these little pests in a closet or on your carpet, take caution. It may not be a harmless caterpillar, and the larvae can cause significant damage once they hatch.

Adult carpet beetles look much the way you would expect, like your every day beetle. The difference is the white, brown, and yellow pattern that covers their backs. They may appear “spotted,” and may be confused with a deformed ladybug to the untrained eye.

If you notice these bugs in your home, seek professional advice on carpet beetles immediately.

Signs of Carpet Beetle Damage

Before you know how to get rid of carpet beetles, you’ll need to know the signs of damage to look out for in addition to the physical appearance of the little bugs. You may mistake the damage for clothes moth damage, as they can feed off many of the same materials.

Telltale signs of carpet beetle damage are finding holes in clothing. Especially clothing that has been in a dark place. You may also find them in your pet’s food or bed sheets. If the bugs have been feeding off your carpet, you will start to notice “bald patches,” or it may look like edges are beginning to fray.

Additionally, carpet beetles may feed off your furniture. Holes in your upholstered couches, chairs, or throw pillows is an indicator that the bugs have made a home in your house. Carpet beetles may feed off curtains or fabric blinds, as well as on the pages of books or wooden furniture.

While the damage may seem minor at first, just a hole here or there, if you let the problem go unaddressed, the damage will increase exponentially in no time at all.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

When ridding your home of a carpet beetle infestation, it’s best to call a team of professionals. Due to the nooks and crannies carpet beetles like to hide in, there are likely many more than you spot. The hiding places can be challenging to identify, and you want to be sure that the entire infestation is eradicated, or else the damage will continue to occur.

If you believe you have a carpet beetle infestation and want to know how to get rid of carpet beetles, call Hulett Environmental Services. Even if you aren’t positive that that’s what the pests are, it’s better to be safe than sorry to avoid extensive damage to your home. We offer entirely free inspections and consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Inspection is very important because clothes moths, silverfish, crickets, and other insects can sometimes cause similar damage, so its important to hire a professional.

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles

Just because carpet beetles are common doesn’t mean that you can’t take preventative measures to protect your home. Prevention is often the best form of treatment, as well as the least expensive. Follow these tips to make your home as uninviting to the bugs as possible, and keep it as comfortable for your family and pets.

  • Seal cracks in your entranceways, windows, and bathrooms
  • Vacuum and steam your carpets and upholstered furniture regularly
  • Clean your pet’s bedding frequently
  • Have animal-based clothing (wool, silk, items with down feathers) dry cleaned
  • Keep any fabrics you aren’t using stored away in air-tight bags or containers
  • Place mothballs around the house (use caution around children and pets)
  • Wash clothing and towels in hot water
  • Keep your home free of other dead bugs, such as ants or spiders by vacuuming crevices

The Different Types of Carpet Beetles

We covered the appearance of carpet beetles above, but there are several other varieties that you should be aware of. It’s important to note that no matter what type of carpet beetle is in your house, they are all capable of causing considerable damage.

Black Carpet Beetles

Black carpet beetles are known for causing the most damage to home and clothing. Instead of the white, yellow, and brown spots, they appear black or very dark brown. They enjoy feeding off products that contain keratin and products that contain grain. Their eggs are white, and the larvae have very short hairs.

Common Carpet Beetles

The typical carpet beetle is covered in white and black scales, and they may have red or orange scales down the middle of their backs. Their larvae have longer hairs that tend to stick out from the sides.

The Bottom Line When It Comes to Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles can wreak havoc in your home. They can ruin carpets, furniture, clothing, and even family heirlooms such as fur coats or silk scarves. Don’t let carpet beetles get the best of you. If you’re looking to get rid of carpet beetles, contact us today to schedule a free inspection.