The carpet beetle is a common species of insects known for its destructive behavior in many homes. Like bed bugs, carpet beetles live and feed in undisturbed, dark areas in your home. However, they do significantly differ from bed bugs in appearance, life cycle and feeding habits. Here is what you need to know if you think you have carpet beetles in your home.
What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?
Carpet beetles can vary in color depending on what type they are. Some may be a solid black or brown color, while others might have orange, brown, or white scales. It is not uncommon for them to look like ladybugs, only in yellow and black. Unlike bed bugs that are flat and look like apple seeds, a carpet beetle has a round body. Its antennae are shaped like a club and usually have 11 segments.
A carpet beetle, especially immature ones have tufts of brown hair that can stick out from its body. This hair is left from its larval stage, where it is sometimes referred to as a “woolly bear.” The larvae appear to have stripes because its hair grows in light and dark patches.
Lifespan of the Carpet Beetle
Depending on environmental conditions, a carpet beetle’s lifespan can range from one to three years. Most of that time is spent in the larval stage. In its adult form, the carpet beetle lives for about two weeks. But it’s a busy two weeks as the beetles mate and lay their eggs where the larva will be able to find food.
Warmer temperatures, like those here in Arizona, speed up the incubation period and significantly shorten the larval stage. This can be both bad and good as the beetle’s most destructive stage is the larval stage. But it also increases the possibility of prolonged infestations as the life cycle is sped up.
How Do Carpet Beetles Get Into Your Home?
When outdoors, adult carpet beetles prefer to feed on pollen and nectar from flowers. Because of this, they are often inadvertently brought indoors on cut flowers or plants. They can get into your home through windows, doors or other openings. Once inside, infestations can quickly spread as they take up residence in and begin to feed on:
- Dead skin
Carpet beetles may also live in birds’ nests, walls, or chimneys. They may have access to dead insects and animals to feed on in these spaces. Larvae may be found feeding on animal food, seeds, or milled products, including flour in your pantry. While carpet beetles and larvae prefer to feast on organic materials, they may feed on synthetic fabrics if they have been soiled with food, perspiration, or oils.
Preventing Carpet Beetle Infestations
There are steps you can take to prevent infestations from carpet beetles in your home:
- Vacuum carpets and furniture regularly
- Keep your pet’s bedding clean
- Wash bedding often
- Don’t allow dirty laundry to pile up
- Remove bird nests away from your windows and doors
- Caulk any cracks or crevices in walls or around your windows or doors
If you think you might have carpet beetles in your home, the best thing to do is to contact the professionals at Budget Brothers Termite & Pest as soon as possible to prevent the spread of your infestation.