One of the insects most often confused with bed bugs is the equally small carpet beetle. They are very common in homes and properties and people continually ask if they have found the first signs of a bed bug infestation when they see a carpet beetle. Both of these pests can leave you with similar looking itchy, red blotches. Bed bugs actually create red, itchy welts on the skin from biting you while the carpet beetle doesn’t bite at all but causes a similar red itchy welt due to an allergic reaction from the prickly little hairs on the carpet beetle larvae (pictured center). When they molt, their dead skin can cause allergic reactions and dermatitis. This is called Carpet Beetle Dermatitis, and is not commonly dangerous to one’s health. The allergic reaction builds over time, and often, a carpet beetle infestation will go under the radar until someone begins having the reaction, which can take time to build up. At this point, the infestation will have grown quite large. By the time you realize there’s a problem, a sizeable infestation is likely already present in your home.
Carpet Beetles end up in our homes somewhat accidentally, they prefer to be in the open air, but are attracted to light and because of their small size can easily fly in around cracks in windows and doors. Openings around plumbing entrances, electrical conduits, soffit vents, eaves and chimneys also serve as easy access points. They often hitch a ride into your home on flowers or plants and can be brought in on feathers, older bedding, wool (especially), on pets, and even in some bulk grains.
Carpet beetle gets their name from their feast on natural fibers when they are in larval form. Wool carpet, oriental rugs and wool clothing items are common targets. They thrive on lint, hair, and debris accumulating under baseboards, inside floor vents and ducts.
The best way to combat carpet beetles in homes is to reduce their food sources. Rooms should be cleaned often enough to prevent the accumulation of hair, dander and other carpet beetle food materials. These insects are commonly found along the edges of wall-to-wall carpet where hair and dander accumulate; and in wool carpets under heavy furniture; and in heating system ducts. Another source of carpet beetles is wall voids (the area inside walls between studs) where dead insects accumulate. Abandoned nests of birds, rodents, wasps and bees that are in or near the house may also serve as the source of carpet beetles.
If beetles and/or larvae are found throughout the structure, localized applications of residual insecticides may be needed. Treatment should be applied to those surfaces upon which the insects are likely to crawl, such as along the edges of carpeting, in closets, behind radiators, baseboards and mouldings, and in corners, cracks, and so forth.
This requires the services of a professional pest control operator.
If carpet beetle have become a problem where you are, schedule an appointment with QFI Pest Control.
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