Carpet Beetles Can Be Just As Damaging As Moths
While people are fairly aware that certain moth species will eat wool, leather, and other animal byproducts, these moths aren’t the only insect that does so. Another insect that regularly chows down on clothing is the carpet beetle, a tiny bug that usually doesn’t grow much bigger than 5 mm. Despite its size, these beetles can cause a lot of trouble.
What They Eat
Adult carpet beetles typically stick to a diet of flower pollen, although in many cases they don’t eat at all and instead use stored energy as they fly around looking for a mate. However, they do this because they get a lot of eating in while they’re still larvae.
During this stage, carpet beetles eat all kinds of animal byproducts like hair, skin flakes, wool, leather, silk, and carpets made from natural animal fibers. That last food source, and the fact that hair and skin flakes are constantly falling into carpets, is how the carpet beetle got its name. The beetle larvae have also been known to scavenge food made from animals, but they generally stay away from meat and are more likely to go after dog or cat food.
Carpet beetles can remain in the larval stage for a remarkably long time. If they have a good source of food, the larval stage can come and go in a few months, but they can survive for up to three years as a larva if food is scarce.
What You Can Do
Spotting a carpet beetle or two in your home is not usually a serious problem, especially if you get rid of them the moment you spot them. However, if they continue to show up in the same places, that usually means there’s an infestation somewhere nearby. At that point, your best option may be to call in a professional pest control service to come take a look at your carpets, closets, and other places where carpet beetles can find food.
If you want to prevent carpet beetle infestations, you won’t have to do anything special. Because the beetles eat hair and skin flakes, you can starve them of food by vacuuming regularly, dusting surfaces throughout your home, and washing the clothes in your closet every so often even if you don’t wear them. After all, pests like carpet beetles and moths are why common cleaning techniques exist in the first place.