The temperature is finally starting to cool off after an unseasonably warm fall. For the Brody Brothers, this means that we get a lot of questions from homeowners who assume they have moths after finding holes in their favorite sweaters that have been stored away for the summer. As it turns out for some of our clients, when we inspect we find something completely different: carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles might not be the most well-known pests around and we consider them “occasional invaders,” but if they do infest your home, they can cause major damage to furnishings, clothing and, of course, carpets. For some unlucky individuals who are sensitive to them, these tiny pests can even cause itchy, red welts and dermatitis.
Because most people aren’t familiar with carpet beetles, their warning signs are often confused with other pests like moths, bedbugs or spiders. Using the wrong treatment can be ineffective at best and can make the problem worse, which is why our team is thoroughly trained to spot the subtle differences between the clues these invaders leave behind.
Damage, Destruction and Dermatitis
Adult carpet beetles only eat pollen; it’s actually the larvae that cause all the damage. They are less than 3 millimeters long and eat any kind of natural fiber mixed with animal products, including wool, silk, leather, fur, natural-bristle hairbrushes, pet hair and feathers. The females lay eggs in these materials or in dark, concealed places like cracks in a wall. Unlike the adults, the larvae don’t fly, but they crawl along the edges of baseboards and beneath furniture in an attempt to stay undetected.
When people see holes in their clothes, moths are the first culprit that springs to mind, but moths tend to leave irregular, scattered holes, while carpet beetles tend to damage larger, more concentrated areas. Another tell-tale sign are the tiny molted skins that they leave behind, which are brown and bristly.
We also occasionally find carpet beetles when we’re called in to inspect for bedbugs or spiders because a client has noticed a series of “bites” on their skin. Carpet beetles don’t bite, but they can burrow into clothing made from natural fibers and the tiny hairs on their bodies can cause allergic reactions in some people. These tiny spines cause rashes and welts known as carpet beetle dermatitis. Luckily, once the carpet beetles are eradicated, symptoms disappear, but without the help of a trained professional, many people get treated for eczema and other skin conditions before diagnosing the true problem.
Don’t sweep the problem under the carpet
Typically, there’s no need to treat your home with chemicals if it turns out that you have carpet beetles instead of some other pest, but you do have to take action to prevent future damage. Once you determine that you have a carpet beetle infestation, make sure to thoroughly clean your natural fiber materials, steam clean carpets, and discard any damaged items that are beyond repair. If the infestation is particularly bad, the Brody Brothers team can recommend an effective treatment and action plan.
Carpet beetles can enter your home on natural fiber clothing and furnishings, or even in bouquets of flowers, so be sure to frequently vacuum along baseboards and inspect your home furnishings for damage. You can further prevent a carpet beetle infestation by cleaning your wool clothing before storing it.
Not sure if you’re dealing with moths, carpet beetles, bedbugs, spiders or something else entirely? The Brody Brothers deal with almost every kind of pest and we can pinpoint exactly what unwelcome visitors have entered your home and eradicate the problem.
Give us a call at 410-650-4266 and our knowledgeable team will get your home pest-free.