Take yourself back to your grandparents’ living room, where the carpet was made of a nice shaggy wool. When this was the primary material used to make carpeting, the carpet beetle was aptly named.
Carpet beetles feed on natural fibres as well as plant and animal materials including dead skin, hair, feathers, and more. Fabrics they may consume include cotton, linen, and of course, wool. Carpet beetles may begin their life cycle outside, but can make their way into your living space with ease if transported on flowers or food they may have been consuming. Due to their small size ranging from 1 to 12 millimetres in length, spotting them before bringing them into your home isn’t the easiest feat to accomplish.
Once they find themselves in your space, carpet beetles will seek shelter and comfort in dark areas like cracks in the floor and the nooks and crannies of your home. It’s in these tough-to-reach spots that carpet beetles will reproduce. The beetles lay their eggs which can take up to 20 days to hatch into larvae. This is where things get interesting.
There is some debate about whether or not carpet beetles actually bite humans. The truth is, the larvae of carpet beetles have spiky tufts of hair on their bodies which actually poke human skin. Because some areas of the skin (especially for youth) are more sensitive, these tufts are actually strong enough to pierce through skin which leads to irritation and has the potential to cause allergic reactions. Carpet beetle infections don’t affect everyone in the same way, as irritation is more evident and apparent on some. Due to skin punctures however, people who are poked by carpet beetles may be diagnosed with more serious skin issues including lymphadenopathy, allergic rhinitis, vasculitis, or dermatitis. Symptoms of these will appear as redness and lesions on the surface of your skin, and while it’s not the same as a bite, the effects are definitely ones you want to avoid.
Past maturation and in ideal conditions, carpet beetles can survive in your space for over a year. Since the materials they seek are spread across your home and are usually plentiful (think dust, skin cells, clothing, people and pet hair), if left alone, carpet beetles can live comfortably in the areas you frequent in your house for sitting, sleeping, and relaxing in general. This is why you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as you notice their presence.
To get rid of carpet beetles, specific products such as sticky traps can be used. But the most obvious preventative measure, as with many domestic pests, is to keep your home as clean and tidy as possible. Regular vacuuming to rid your floors of dust and hair buildup is key. Thankfully, many modern carpets are manufactured using synthetic materials which aren’t desired by these pests. However, it’s not realistic to completely rid your space of other common fabrics, so if you find yourself in a tight spot, give our experts at Action Pest a call! Action Pest is always ready to help make your space the pest-free haven you deserve!