Carpet Beetle Problems

Carpet beetles do their damage in the immature, larva stage of their life. The larvae can digest a substance called keratin, which is found in hair, fur, and feathers. In nature, these insects are scavengers in the nests pf birds, rodents, and other animals. They also feed on dead insects.

In homes and businesses, these insects attack a variety of things. They can be pests in almost every part of the home. Carpet beetles cause economic damage when they attack clothing.

The larvae readily eat items made of silk and wool, so they can be destructive in closets. They also damage fabrics that combine wool and synthetic materials. The larvae usually eat on the surface of the fabric, but they can make holes. They will attack synthetic fabrics if they have been stained with perspiration and not cleaned.

If they are feeding on garments made of fur, the larvae can eat the fur at the base. The feeding leaves bare patches of skin visible. The larvae often chew the ends of bristles when they attack things like artist's brushes. . This leaves irregular patterns in the bristles.

In the kitchen, carpet beetles can attack cereals, flour, corn, and cacao. The larvae have been found in unopened packages that they burrowed into.

Many times carpet beetles become pests after a home has been invaded by cluster flies or boxelder bugs. The carpet beetles feed on the dead insects in the attic or inside the walls. Carpet beetles also feed on dead wasps that they find in attics or garages.

Even worse than the damage they cause, carpet beetles have been blamed for causing people to have medical problems. There have been cases of dermatitis from exposure to long-term infestations of common carpet beetles.

After the larvae shed their skins, the tiny hairs often become airborne. These airborne hairs frequently cause people to have respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

People who suspect that they have a carpet beetle problem should do a thorough inspection. Eliminating the food that the larvae are eating is the critical step. Many of the larvae and their cast-off skins can be removed with a vacuum.

Insecticide applications are often necessary to get complete control. Aerosols can be injected into crevices behind baseboards. Dusts can be injected into the hollow voids inside of walls.

Many people prefer to have a pest control professional make these applications. They will have the products and the equipment to do these treatments properly.