Tag Archives: beetles

The Varied Carpet Beetle

The Varied Carpet Beetle

It can be hard to think of “beetles” living in your carpet without realizing it, but it can happen. Many people have seen them but few people know what these tiny insects actually are and capable of. Carpet Beetles are a common pest and often is mistaken for “some sort of ladybug” because of their similar characteristic shape. Carpet Beetles are small (about 1/8th to 1\4th) dome shaped insects. The Varied Carpet Beetle has an irregular pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow scales on its wing covers. In older adults the scales that form this pattern wear off, so the beetles may appear solid brown or black. Mature larvae are slightly longer than adults and are covered with tufts of hair that extend upright to form a round plume if disturbed. They have alternating light and dark brown stripes and are distinguishable from other carpet beetles because they are broader in the rear and narrower in the front.

Carpet Beetles have an unusual ability to digest keratin, the chief protein component of skin and hair giving them the ability to eat clothing, carpet and upholstery. They can be a significant nuisance in the home, in storage facilities, museums, and clothing stores.

What to look for?

Seeing adult Carpet Beetles are typically the first sign of an infestation, they primarily feed on pollen and usually don’t cause too much damage. It’s the Carpet Beetle larvae that are responsible for damage to clothes, ornamental decorations, and other natural fiber house wares. The larvae are what you should be seeking to control if you are unfortunately dealing with this insect. If you do have an infestation, examine those types of items closely. You can usually find traces of their discarded molt skins in darker areas, such as closets. The discarded molt skin from the larvae has been known to cause asthmatic episodes in some individuals.

It’s wise to remember that the most damage is caused by the larvae, which are typically found in dark, secluded areas of closets, under furniture, or at the area of where carpeting meets a wall. Adult Carpet Beetles have wings and are capable of flying; the adults are typically attracted to light and sunny windows. The females tend to lay eggs in clusters of lint where the larvae can emerge and sustain themselves on a high quality source of both essential proteins and oils shed by humans and pets. The more mature larvae tend to be more mobile and can sometimes be found crawling up walls or across ceilings.

Occasionally Carpet Beetle infestations can be the result of bird or wasp nests in wall voids where the larvae are feeding on discarded feathers and debris. More commonly the infestation can be traced to a pile of forgotten/neglected clothing or old upholstered furniture left in the attic, so it’s important to not overlook materials when inspecting for these fabric loving insects. Also, if you have pets be sure check around pet areas like beds or where your pet(s) likes to lay. Carpet Beetles may be hiding under the pet bed or kennel as there would be plenty for pet hair for them to consume.

Typically, majority of Carpet Beetle infestations can usually be controlled and eliminated by the homeowner being proactive, regularly vacuuming and staying on top of good housekeeping habits. If you feel like you have a case that is beyond what you can handle, give us a call!

Common Winter Household Pests

Common winter household pests, when the outside temperature starts to cool many types of pests will start to seek warm shelter within your home or garage.  When pests are successful at keeping this new shelter throughout winter it can create problems in the spring, such as allowing time for a large infestation to build or even damage to your property (personal belongings and/or structural damage).

Common winter house hold pests and where might you find them in your home

  • Attics– The attic is a common place for pesky rodents such as mice and squirrels. Both types of rodents can cause some serious and costly damage as well.  Mice love to chew, they like to chew on electrical wires which can cause a major fire risk to your home.  If you have items stored up in the attic, be sure to store them in sealed plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes, mice will chew on and nest inside cardboard.  Mice can also cause a lot of damage to insulation as it is another place they like to nest inside of.  Plus all the urine and feces. It would need completely replaced.
  • Bathrooms– the bathroom is a nice place to a cockroach to hang around during winter. They love water and need it for survival.  Be sure to repair leaky pipes and that drains are draining properly.   Regularly check under the sink, around the tub and toilet for water leaks.  If you store items under the sink or have a bathroom closet, use sealed plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes.
  • Kitchen– the kitchen is a common place for many different pests, but ants are definitely at the top of the list. Ants can easily invade homes by the thousand and with so many possible food and water resources it can seem to happen overnight.  To help avoid finding an army of ants in your kitchen be sure to seal cracks and crevices, repair any water leaks from sinks, dishwashers or refrigerator water dispensers.  Wash dishes after every meal, wipe down counter tops and sweep and mop the floor, do not leave pet food out overnight.
  • Pantry– the pantry can host home to different pests but specially beetles, Indian meal moths and weevils. These pests can hitch rides home from the grocery store and invade into other products in the pantry. To help keep your pantry pest free do not buy products that have any type of damage to the package, store food items in sealed plastic containers, take time at least twice a year to clean out your pantry by removing everything, wiping down the shelves, and tossing out any expired and stale foods, paying extra attention to spices, flours and nuts.
  • Bedroom– the bedroom can be a place where you first notice bedbugs as for many people the first sign of bedbugs is irritated bite marks, but be aware that bedbugs are excellent travelers and do not just stay in the bedroom. Bedbugs typically enter the home through secondhand furniture (especially mattresses, box springs and couches) or brought home on luggage from hotels during traveling. If you do buy secondhand furniture be sure to carefully inspect for signs of bedbugs, look for dark spots which could be dried blood or feces from the bedbug, wash clothes and blankets as soon as you get home in hot water and dry on high heat.  Do the same with luggage and items brought home from traveling, all clothes and fabric material should be washed immediately.  If you do find signs of bed bugs or actual bedbugs themselves call your local pest professional as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the longer they have time to spread and get established in your home.
  • Basements– Basements tend to be place for storage. Basements can provide the perfect environment for rodents and a plethora of spiders and insects, especially of the basement is on the cluttered side.  Clutter provides many hiding spots or all these pests and material to chew on.  What you need to is keep your basement as clean as possible, repair any leaks to eliminate access to water, store items neatly in plastic containers that seal tightly.  Seal up cracks and crevices with a silicone based caulk.