Carpet Beetle Larvae in Furniture

Carpet beetles got their common name many years ago. These beetles are able to digest feathers, fur, wool, silk, and other natural fibers. Since most carpets were made from wool, the larvae commonly attacked them. The carpet padding was often made of felt. The larvae would eat the carpet the padding from underneath so they would not be seen.

Besides carpets, the larvae would feed on anything they could find that was made from natural fibers. The furniture carpet beetle, Anthrenus flavipes LeConte, got its name from infesting upholstered furniture. The larvae could cause extensive damage to the upholstery fabric and to the horsehair stuffing.

In the 21st century, many people are buying furniture that is upholstered with natural fibers. Carpet beetle larvae will probably be able to feed on the fabric.

In addition, scientists have found that carpet beetle larvae will attack synthetic fabrics if they have been stained with food or perspiration. Family room furniture often receives rough treatment and there are often spills.

Carpet beetle larvae will also attack fabrics that are made from blends of natural and synthetic fibers. They will eat the natural fibers and leave the synthetic fibers.

Carpet beetle larvae are scavengers. They can get nourishment from a variety of things. They can eat almost anything that they find.

If the furniture has been upholstered in synthetic material like vinyl, the scavenging larvae can burrow into the cracks and crevices. If there are any crumbs or scraps of food that have been spilled, the larvae can eat them and thrive.

In bedrooms, the adult carpet beetles can deposit their eggs near dressers, behind the curtains, or under the bed. The larvae can move into the furniture and find something that they can eat. They can feed on clothing in the dresser or the closet.

Many times carpet beetle larvae can feed on the surface of fabric with out making holes. The fecal pellets that they produce are very tiny and might not be noticeable to most people. As the larvae grow larger, they shed their skins. People often find these cast-off skins when carpet beetles are active.

When these cast-off skins appear, a thorough inspection is often needed to discover where the larvae have been feeding. Larvae can be removed with a vacuum cleaner. Many insecticides will stain fabric, so it would be a good idea to read the insecticide label carefully before spraying upholstery.

After vacuuming, if a homeowner suspects that larvae are still feeding in a piece of furniture, he or she could set the piece outside. In the winter, the piece could go in the garage or on a covered porch overnight. In the summer, the piece might be draped with a sheet of black plastic and remain out in the sun for a few hours. Extended heat or cold can kill the carpet beetles, the larvae, and their eggs.