March's Bug of the Month is the carpet beetle! A carpet beetle infestation can not only cause damage to your carpet, furniture and drapes, but can affect you health as well. Read on to learn more about detecting these pests in your home and how to get rid of them.

There are several types of carpet beetles, the most common being the black carpet beetle. Carpet beetles are known to infest heated structures when it is cold outside. When the weather is warmer they may resort to more organic habitats outside, like the nests of birds or rats. While this may seem like it is not a problem, you have to remember they may just be taking up temporary residence in those nests until they move into your structure for cold seasons.

Carpet beetles vary in appearance, but have some main identifiers. They are a small insect, ranging between 1/16-1/4" in length. As you may have guessed, the black carpet beetle is often black (or dark brown) in color. The common carpet beetle is also black, but with a pattern of white and red scales. The furniture carpet beetle has a black body with white, yellow, and black scales.

Untitled Image via Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series 

While a licensed professional will be able to accurately identify an infestation, there are a few signs you can look for if you believe you have a problem:

• Damage to upholstered furniture, carpets, fur, rugs, and drapes could indicate carpet beetles in the home resembling damage caused by moths. They can cause minor to major damage to any of the above.

• You may also want to check your food storage. Carpet beetle larvae can bore through packaging materials to get to food products if they are in search of something to eat.

• Carpet beetles have been known to cause allergic reactions, and even dermatitis (skin inflammation) in some rare cases. If you are having unexplained allergic reactions in your own home or business, you will want to get a professional opinion at once.

To remove carpet beetles you must start by removing the source. This can be the most difficult step as the source may be hard to determine. After identifying the source or sources and removing them, you will need to thoroughly clean the infested items. This cleaning should be maintained after the infestation has been eradicated. A treatment by a licensed technician may be necessary depending on the extent of your infestation and can be the only alternative to ridding your home of these destructive pests outside some of the above recommendations.

If you are unsure whether your home or business is under attack by carpet beetles, give us a call. We will be happy to investigate the situation and recommend the best treatment for you.