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Carpet Beetles

Classificaton: Insect
Other names: hide beetle, larder beetle, leather beetle
Distinctive Features: Variegated carpet beetle: Calico appearance (gray, yellow and white), .11 inch, oval; Black carpet beetle: Dull brown or black, longer and more elongated than varied carpet beetle
Diet: As larvae eat anything that’s made from some kind of animal product and/or a blend with animal product, such as wool fabric, carpet, upholstery, drapes, etc.
Hazard to Humans: Do not bite humans, but can harm home furnishings and fabrics.
Predators: Ants, spiders
Interesting Fact: Carpet beetles are a particularly unwelcome invader in natural history museums because they like to devour dried insect specimens.

Carpet Beetles Damage More Than Your Rug

There are several different types of carpet beetles in the U.S., but it’s the varied carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle that are most likely to cause damage in Maryland homes. Although these two carpet beetles have distinctive colorations, it can be hard to tell them apart because they are so small.

The varied carpet beetle:

  • Is 2-3 mm (.11 inch) long and oval to round in shape
  • Has splotches of white and yellow, giving a calico appearance
  • Is tear-drop shaped in its larval form, and covered with light brown hairs

The black carpet beetle:

  • Is  longer and more elongated than varied carpet beetle
  • Has dull black or brown coloration
  • Larvae are (.11 – .27 inches)  and have a tail of long, golden brown  hairs

Larvae aren’t picky eaters

Carpet beetles don’t actually eat much when they’re in their adult form—their diet consists of pollen. But as larvae they can devour a lot more than carpet. Anything made of animal fiber, including carpets, upholstery, drapes, fabrics (including wool clothing) and furs can serve as their food.  They’ll also go after fabrics that are blended with natural materials. And they are especially attracted to natural materials stained with urine or sweat.

Female carpet beetles lay their eggs in woolen goods and/or in concealed places like cracks in the wall.  The larvae can’t fly, but crawl along the edges of baseboards and under furniture, avoiding light.

Adults do fly and unlike the larvae, are attracted to light.

Get these bugs out of your carpet—and out of your home!

You can reduce the risk of getting carpet beetles by:

  • Vacuuming thoroughly and frequently, paying special attention to space along baseboards
  • Clean wool clothing before you store it

If you continue to see carpet beetles and don’t want to risk damage to your furnishings or your stored clothing call Brody Brothers today at 443-379-8857. They have the knowledge and the tools to protect your belongings by getting these pests out of your home.

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