Carpet Beetles

What are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles can cause serious damage to fabrics, carpets, furs, stored foods and other items derived from plants and animals. Carpet beetle larvae do not feed on synthetic fibers, but will feed on blends of wool and synthetics. Eggs, larvae, pupae and adults may be brought into the home and spread to such places as the lint collected behind baseboards, in air ducts, in the stuffing of furniture and in the bristles of old paint brushes. From these unsuspected places, carpet beetles may cause damage for a long time.

Black Carpet Beetle

The most commonly found species of carpet beetle in Oklahoma is the black carpet beetle. Larvae and adults are distinctly different from other carpet beetles. Adult black carpet beetles range from 1/8 to 3/16 inch in length. They are shiny black and dark brown with brownish legs. Full-sized larvae may be as long as 5/16 inch. They range in color from light brown to almost black. Larvae are shiny, smooth, hard and are covered with short, stiff hairs. They are carrot-shaped with a tuft of long hairs at the narrow end.

Varied Carpet Beetle

The second type of carpet beetle often seen in Oklahoma is the varied carpet beetle, which is about 1/10 inch long; the coloring is black with an irregular pattern of white, brown and dark yellow scales on its wing covers. Mature larvae are about the same length as adults, have alternating light and dark brown transverse stripes and are distinguishable from other carpet beetle larvae because they are broader at one end.

It is not always possible to tell whether damage to an item was caused by clothing moths or carpet beetles, but, in general, beetles are more likely to damage a large area of one portion of a garment or carpet while moth damage usually appears as scattered holes.

Carpet beetle larvae feed in dark, undisturbed locations on a variety of household items including:

  • Wool, including wool carpets and rugs; silks; leather, including leather book bindings
  • Fur; animal skins; stuffed animals; animal horns; whalebone
  • Hair brushes with natural bristles
  • Pet hair; feathers
  • Spices, grains and flour; peas and beans; powdered milk
  • Dead insects

Sometimes felts and hammers in pianos become infested and so badly damaged that the tone and action of the instrument are seriously affected. The services of a piano technician are then recommended. Synthetic felts are also available.

If you suspect that you might have carpet beetles or are at risk for carpet beetles, we can arrange for one of our certified specialists to inspect your premises. Our inspectors are available for on-site inspections between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Proper identification is critical for control.

Carpet beetles are among the most difficult indoor pests to control because of their ability to find food in obscure places and to spread widely in your home. Cleaning is the best strategy, although in a heavy infestation insecticides may be necessary. Regular and thorough cleaning of rugs, draperies, upholstered furniture, closets and other locations where carpet beetles may lay eggs is an important preventive and control technique. After vacuuming infested areas, dispose of the bag immediately because it may contain eggs, larvae, or adult insects.

Protect fabrics by keeping them clean: food and sweat stains on fabrics attract carpet beetles. Dry cleaning or thoroughly laundering items in hot water kills all stages of these insects and is the most common method used to control all kinds of fabric pests in clothing, blankets and other washable articles.

Call us at (918) 605-6402 to schedule an inspection or to discuss treatment options with Randy’s Pest Control.

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