So named because they infest carpeting, these invasive pests are similar to clothes moths, and they also feed on other items composed of wool, fur, felt, silk, feathers, skins, and leather. Commonly attacked items include: sweaters, scarves, coats, blankets, down pillows and comforters, upholstery, toys, decorative items, and taxidermy mounts.
These materials contain a fibrous animal protein known as keratin, which their larvae are able to digest. Unless blended with wool or heavily soiled with food stains, carpet beetles will usually avoid cotton and synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and rayon.
Carpet beetles are commonly found in carpeted locations such as residences, restaurants, hotels, offices retail stores, department stores and other interior areas. They develop from eggs to become larvae, form a pupa then become adults. They often appear on window sills in the springtime, which indicates there may be an infestation inside the home. Female beetles lay from 50 to 100 eggs on or near favored materials. Some sites are not so obvious such as: accumulations of pet hair associated with baseboards, air vents and ducts.
Read on to learn more about this little nuisance with a big appetite, or your business or home is in East Liberty, South Side, North Side, Lawrenceville, Fox Chapel, Tarentum, Oakmont, Monroeville, Penn Hills, Sewickley, Cheswick, Robinson, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Shadyside, Forest Hills, North Hills, South Hills, The Golden Triangle, Downtown, The Strip District, Carrick, West End, Wexford, McCandless, Warrendale, Sarver, Saxonburg, Cranberry Township or any other community throughout Greater Pittsburgh, contact our team today for any residential or pest control needs! (412) 252-5200
Carpet Beetles In Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
During the spring, it is not unusual for some Pittsburgh homeowners to become vulnerable to carpet beetle infestations. These pests destroy a multitude of fabrics beside carpeting including; upholstered furniture; clothing and furs; and food products such as cereals, milled products, nuts, and pastas. Once they have gained ingress to a home, there is no end to what they can and will feed on.
Signs of An Carpet Beetle Infestations
It only takes a few weeks for the tiny eggs laid by adult female beetles to hatch into the stage where they become destructive, fabric-consuming larvae. They range in size from 1/8 to 1/4-inch long, are tan to brownish in color, are very lethargic and covered with hairs or bristles. They shed their skins and leave them behind as they feed upon vulnerable materials, leaving evidence in the form of threadbare spots and irregular holes.
In most cases, it is probably best that home owners dispose of any fabrics and garments that are heavily damaged, while those with minimal damage should be taken to a local dry cleaners for processing and treatment. Carpeting should be thoroughly cleaned (vacuum then shampoo) and the vacuum bag discarded once finished. For all intents and purposes, the key to controlling these pests is to eliminate the source.
A Few Little Known Facts About Carpet Beetles
1. Carpet Beetles Can Make You Sick
While these insects do not bite, there are health concerns associated with carpet beetles, as cross-contamination is possible when they come into contact with human foods. The larvae can also cause irritation and inflammation of the eyes and respiratory tract. People who are more prone to allergic reactions than others will experience these conditions in greater magnitude.
2. Carpet Beetle Larvae Are Most Destructive
Unlike most indoor pests, the adult carpet beetles do not cause damage in homes. The larvae are the most destructive and they will eat anything from carpets to clothing to upholstered furniture.
3. There Are Three Main Types Of Carpet Beetles
These include: the black, the varied and the furniture carpet beetle. The varied carpet beetle is round and is the most common. The black carpet beetle is more elongated in shape. Furniture carpet beetles are similar in shape and markings to the varied carpet beetle, but they are slightly larger.
4. Both Adults and Larvae Prefer the Dark
The initial stages of an infestation are difficult to find because both the adults and larvae prefer dark, undisturbed places such as a rarely-used closet. Before a home-owner even notices them, a female beetle may be laying hundreds of eggs. A major infestation may have already taken hold, and in such a case, only professional pest control and pest management specialists can eradicate them.
5. They Can Live For Weeks Without Food
Carpet beetles will move around a residence in a constant quest for food sources.
6. Adult Carpet Beetles Destroy Gardens
Adult carpet beetles feed mostly on nectar and pollen and are found in plants and gardens outside residences. They are known to cause extensive damage to ornamental flora with light-colored petals.
7. Black Carpet Beetles Can Infest Kitchens
Black carpet beetles are the species most likely to be found infesting your kitchen cabinets where they invade cereals, flour and rice.
8. Carpet Beetles Are The Scourge Of Museums
Collections of insect specimens specifically, are extremely vulnerable to carpet beetle attack. They can be damaged beyond repair, demanding an efficient prevention program initiated by pest management specialists.
9. Carpet Beetles Are Often Confused With Bedbugs
Although carpet beetles do not bite, they are commonly confused with bedbugs. This is attributed to the presence of itchy, red blotches on the skin which are an allergic reaction caused by the prickly hairs on the body of the larvae. These can cause rashes that can quickly spread and be extremely difficult to clear up.
10. Carpet Beetles Are Among The Most Difficult Indoor Pests To Control
Their ability to find food in obscure places and to disperse widely throughout a building makes them a challenge to eradicate even for the most experienced pest control and pest management technicians at Pestco Professional Services. Successful control depends on a combination of sanitation and exclusion.
Some Preventive Measures To Deter Carpet Beetles
Infestations can be prevented by removing the larvae and adults through regular vacuum cleaning, dry cleaning or airing clothing outside, placing naphthalene balls in closets, and removing abandoned bird and insect nests that might be attached to a residence or building. Homeowners must be sure to vacuum along and beneath edges of carpets, along baseboards, underneath furniture and stored items and inside closets where carpet beetles prefer to feed.
Woolens and other susceptible items should be dry-cleaned or laundered before being stored for long periods. The cleaning process kills any eggs or larvae that may be present, and also eradicates perspiration odors that beetles find very attractive. The heat generated by the clothes dryer is also effective. Articles for storage should then be packed in tight-fitting plastic bags or containers.
It should be noted that items stored away for long periods in chests and boxes are particularly vulnerable to carpet beetle infestations. Rugs that are routinely vacuumed and clothing and blankets that are used regularly are rarely attacked. The larvae usually feed within the folds of fabric (hems, cuffs and collars). To make prevention even more difficult, areas out in the open aren’t likely to be targets. These beetles thrive on lint, hair, and debris accumulating under baseboards and inside floor vents and ducts.
Furs and other valuable garments can also fall prey to carpet beetles and they should be stored in cold vaults, a service offered by some furriers and department stores. Even though many believe that cedar closets or chests are ideal for these items, they usually aren’t because the seal is insufficient to maintain lethal or repellent concentrations of the volatile oil of cedar. Due to their diverse and destructive diet, these pests may be found virtually anywhere in any home, often making elimination a challenge best left for the pest control and pest management professionals.
Home-owners must use extreme caution and read the directions carefully if they opt to use moth balls, flakes or crystals. Their volatile chemicals can be extremely hazardous if not used correctly. They should never be scattered in open closets or areas where children or pets can access them.
It should also be noted that their vapors are only deterrents to carpet beetles if they are maintained at sufficient concentrations, which are best achieved by sealing items in plastic bags within tight-fitting trunks, totes or boxes.
Managing Carpet Beetle Infestations
To minimize the risk of infestations, vulnerable items should be routinely monitored for signs of pest activity and accumulations of lint and hair should be regularly removed. Objects on display and in storage should be closely examined for holes, ‘grazed’ areas, detached hair, fur, or feathers, webbing, fecal pellets, larvae, or adult beetles.
Homeowners and business owners in Pittsburgh and environs can rely on our pest control and pest management specialists to eradicate carpet beetles and prevent further infestations.
Our highly trained technicians can identify the source of the problem and have a variety of available options for eliminating them. Exclusion and surveillance baiting methods are usually the most effective alternatives for the elimination of carpet beetles, but they are not recommended as do-it-yourself applications.
The traps reveal the early stages of an infestations when the pests are hard to find by inspection alone. Baited or non-baited traps may be placed on shelves or inside closets. They can be installed in a grid pattern to help pinpoint infested materials.
Call in our Pestco professionals to eliminate these nasty invaders! (412) 252-5200