Carpet beetles are a common household pest, and if we are not vigilant enough, they will cause severe infestations. They are hibernating insects that burrow into homes in order to find a cosy space to lay their eggs.
If it is already annoying to have these beetles destroying your carpets, clothes and other belongings, they are also responsible for various diseases. Pest infestations are not exclusive to bed bugs, as they are also caused by these beetles.
But how dangerous are carpet beetles? In this article we explain how risky these beetles can be for you, and how to prevent these insects from entering your home.
Do carpet beetles bite?
When people notice any skin condition caused by carpet beetles, it means that the infestation has spread deeply. Signs of infestation, in addition to damage to your carpets, clothing or furnishings, are red rashes on the skin.
Carpet beetles do not need blood to survive, but feed on numerous fibre sources, such as carpets, hair, nails, dead skin, dead insects, dander, cotton, leather and other materials.
What causes hives are the beetle larvae, which have very fine hairs that embed themselves in the skin and cause itching. If the person is sensitive, dermatitis, rhinitis and lymphadenopathy can occur. The curious thing about this is that not everyone is allergic to these insects.
Many may be fooled into thinking it’s fleas or bedbugs, but thinking that the pests are limited to these two insects, it takes a long time to come up with a solution to get rid of whatever is causing these rashes.
Are they carpet beetles or bed bugs?
Carpet beetles can live in your bed, so you may think you have a bedbug infestation. Both insects like to live in mattresses and are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale when we sleep.
Both beetles and bedbugs produce rashes on the skin in the form of welts. The rosettes generated by bedbugs are caused by their bites, while beetle rashes are caused by allergy to the insect’s caterpillars.
An irrefutable truth is that carpet beetles do not bite, for although there are numerous species of beetles that eat different things, these insects are generally not haematophagous (blood-sucking).
If only one person has a rash, it is very likely that they have beetles and not bedbugs. This is because many people are allergic to bed bugs, but few are allergic to carpet beetles.
One aspect that helps you differentiate between bedbugs and beetle infestations is that bedbugs leave blood stains (red or brown) on your mattresses and sheets. Also, beetle larvae are much more visible than bed bugs.
Are these beetles poisonous?
Quite a few people worry about whether carpet beetles are poisonous or not. These insects are not poisonous, but they can contaminate any space they live in, be it your pantry spaces or carpets.
Because they are difficult to detect, they can mix with other pantry specimens, such as weevils or mites. Carpet beetles will fly into the kitchen to lay their eggs and have food nearby, all to make themselves and their larvae comfortable.
The drawbacks arise when the beetles come into contact with the food that is left uncovered, leaving droppings and saliva. This causes food to become contaminated, creating serious risks and illnesses for the people who eat it.
In addition, the larvae fibres that spread through the air cause irritation of the eyes or respiratory tract. Some people become sensitive to these hairs, while others can live with them without problems.
Carpet beetles are clearly different from all other insects that become pests. These beetles can have three different colours, such as black, brown or yellow.
They are small insects, and if you examine them closely you will notice that they are oval and elongated in shape. They have rough hairs on the cover, and measure between 5 and 20 millimetres.
Tips to prevent these beetles from entering your property
Thoroughly inspect all corners of your property, inside and outside. Look for holes, cracks and other channels through which the beetle can squeeze in. When you notice one or more holes, seal them with a sealing paste.
Also check the spaces around doors and windows, especially where pipes and wires run. Keep your home clean by regularly vacuuming dust from your carpets, furniture, countertop crumbs or pantry.
All food stored in the pantry should be sealed tightly. Pack your food carefully, and if you want to reduce uncertainty, store it inside the refrigerator.
Cover vents, as these are entry points for beetles that few people know about. Close your doors and windows, install screens and check that all structures are in good condition for timely repair.
Keep any insects that want to enter your home or business at bay, as carpet beetles often eat dead insects.
Make sure rooms are well-lit, as beetles like quiet places to hide. If you are bringing new plants into your home, check that they are free of insects.
Getting rid of carpet beetles can be quite a tortuous task, as the larvae are not as visible. You are more likely to see the adults, which gives you an indication that the larvae are somewhere feeding on your most valuable items.
If these beetles continue to breed annually on your property, they will cause damage to the items you have purchased, as well as health problems for you and your loved ones. Hire pest control professionals to keep these insects at bay.