Carpet beetles are common household pests that belong to the Dermestidae family, which is made up of over 200 species of beetles. However among all these species, only three pose a nuisance to humans as they invade homes and other dwellings occupied by humans. These are
Varied Carpet Beetle
These are distinctly colored beetles that are less than one-tenth of an inch in length, with a scattered coloring of yellow, black and brown on its wings and scales especially in young ones.
In adults however these several patterns may wear off leaving the beetle with a complete brown or black coloring. Female varied beetles have a peculiar habit of seeking out bird’s and wasp nests or spider webs as their preferred destinations to lay their eggs. When hatched the larvae readily finds food in dead insects and feathers, and pollen in these nests.
Furniture Carpet Beetles
These compared to varied beetles are larger and have much rounder bodies and their color and marks are different as well. Their scales and wings are usually covered with black spots coupled with orange, white and dark yellow markings when they are young. But as they transform into full adults all the other colors wane living them looking completely black, with white underbellies.
Black Carpet Beetle
These are dark brown and shiny black colored beetles with brownish legs that measure around 5/16th of an inch as larvae, later shrinking to between 1/8th of an inch to 3/16th of an inch as adults.
Their distinct shiny color is the main differentiating feature that distinguishes them from the previous two, with their larvae also bearing a shiny and smooth body that is covered with short bristles all over it.
Do Carpet Beetles Bite?
One of the most frequent inquiries about carpet beetles is if they bite or not. Carpet beetles to say the least are victims of widespread misconceptions that tie them together with bed bugs. Carpet beetles don’t actually bite; that would be the bed bugs. However, due to some similarities they share in their looks when viewed from afar, the beetles are blamed for the nefarious biting activities of the bed bugs.
Carpet Beetles Vs Bed Bugs
Carpet beetles in their diet differ greatly from bed bugs as they only eat pollen when they are outdoors, and consume any fibrous material they can find when indoors, whereas the bed bug primarily lives on sucking human blood.
Carpet beetles also fly and have distinct colors, while bed bugs are more or less sedentary and have reddish brown color with very flat bodies as opposed to the rounded bodies of the beetles.
And although carpet beetles don’t bite humans, they still have other adverse effects such as leaving an allergy-like bumps and rashes on the human skin when they come in contact with it, which is often mistaken as bites. This is caused by an extended contact with their fibrous hair on the beetle larvae. Other adverse effects they cause include respiratory problems and severe eye irritation.
Carpet Beetle Infestation
Tracking down carpet beetle infestation can be quite difficult as they usually feed and live in the dark corners away from prying eyes. And because they remain largely undisturbed, their infestation can wildly spread before it ever gets detected.
The main method that can be used in tracking it down is by following their suspected source of food indoors which is fibrous materials. Places like the inner sides of furniture, pillows and clothing are frequent targets for beetle infestation. Other areas to locate infestations could be hideouts like under the carpets or underneath casings and upholstered furniture. The main tell-tale sign of its infestation is that they leave behind chewed out holes on cloths and other materials.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Naturally
Before embarking on any control or elimination agenda on your carpet beetle infestation, it is very important to make sure that the results of your control process will be maintained and this can only be achieved by shutting down the route through which they invaded your home in the first place!
Doors, windows and other things like cut plants are the most suspect access roads for carpet beetles to your home. Identify these routes and shut them down. As for the natural ways to get rid of carpet beetles they include:
Alcohol is an excellent repellent for carpet beetles and it can also actually eliminate them on contact. Whenever you track down one of their infestation dens, apply alcohol to the hoard and they will die while those that survive will leave the location permanently
Vinegar is one of the most effective naturally occurring pesticides and it also has quite ruthless effect on carpet beetles. Applying them to infestation zones is completely harmless to your kids and pets.
Steam Vacuum Cleaning
Carpet beetles are extremely sensitive to heat which kills them almost on the spot. This is why stem vacuuming infestation zones is very effective in clearing them completely. This method is especially effective on upholstered furniture as well as fabric covered areas of your home.
Using hot water in washing clothing as well as detergent which chokes them is an effective way of clearing out infested apparel.
Another effective weapon in dealing with carpet beetle infestation is by using diatomaceous earth which acts as a desiccant that dries up the water content of the beetles and kills them in the process.
Neem oil is very lethal to carpet beetles because it is one of the oils that targets and destabilizes their hormonal systems which leads to their death.
The powerful odor of eucalyptus oil is very toxic to the senses of the carpet beetle and other insects as well. Wherever it is used, carpet beetle tend to avoid such places completely