Carpet Beetles Cause Millions Of Dollars In Property Damage Annually In The US, And They Eat More Than Just Carpet

Several insect species in the Attagenus genus are commonly referred to as “carpet beetles,” but only four species inflict costly property damage in the US. The most common carpet beetle pest species include, black carpet beetles, varied carpet beetles, furniture carpet beetles and common carpet beetles. All of these species are frequently found in Louisiana homes where they inflict damage to clothes, bedding, furniture upholstery, curtains, stored food products, and of course, carpeting. Carpet beetles are able to live and reproduce within homes, and the source of infestations can be relatively difficult to pinpoint, even for professionals.

Multiple silverfish and clothes moth species are well known for eating holes in valued textile items within homes, but carpet beetles are by far the most economically significant group of fabric pests in the country. Surprisingly, carpet beetles have been common house pests for well over a century in American homes, and they have been causing millions of dollars in property damage annually ever since the early 1960s in the country.

Carpet beetles naturally feed on keratin, which is a fibrous structural protein found in dead skin, feathers, hair, eyelashes, and other forms of non-living organic animal matter. This makes carpet beetles particularly destructive to wool clothing, goose down pillows, bedding, leather, and rugs made of natural fibers. The beetle pests mainly consume lint, pet hair and numerous organic materials present in carpeting, resulting in severe destruction unless the pests are eliminated in a timely manner.

In many cases, carpet beetles eat holes in clothing by feeding on residual organic matter in beverage stains, and they commonly eat through and invade food packages where they consume the contents, urinate, defecate, shed skins, and reproduce. Despite their distinct food preferences, carpet beetles survive long periods indoors without food and water, and their numbers are often well distributed throughout infested homes.

When it comes to carpet beetle pest issues, it is important to know that only the relatively small and caterpillar-like larval specimens feed on indoor fabrics and other valued items. However, a noticeable indoor presence of numerous adult specimens erratically flying toward windows serves as a sign that an infestation has taken place. Adult carpet beetles resemble common ladybugs, and the common black carpet beetle adult is aptly named for its dark brown to black exterior.

Have you ever found carpet beetle larvae actively eating away at carpeting or other textiles in your home?

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