Nobody likes seeing an unwanted visitor in their house, whether it's an ex showing up unexpectedly or a mouse making a home in your pantry. However, there's a pest that may not even be on your radar that could cause serious damage to your home in a short period of time: the carpet beetle. In just a single week, these itty-bitty bugs can lay waste to some of your most precious possessions.
According to the University of Florida Department of Entomology, female carpet beetles can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, with those eggs hatching in just a single week in some cases.
Unfortunately, preventing them from taking hold in your home isn't as easy as you might hope. According to Brett Craig, training manager for Arrow Exterminators, carpet beetles can be brought in on any type of natural fiber-based cloth, carpet, taxidermy, or even through an open window during high pollen seasons. They "can infest an area heavily to feed," Craig says.
Associate certified entomologist Michael Thome, a technical service manager for Ehrlich Pest Control, calls these pests "widespread and destructive," explaining that black, varied, and furniture carpet beetles can damage virtually any type of fabric in your home, as well as attacking your pantry with a vengeance.
Unfortunately, by the time you actually see carpet beetles in your home, you may already have a major problem on your hands.
"Signs of damage may only become visible after the infestation has been established for a long time," explains Thome. He says that seeing carpet beetle eggs, shred skin, larvae, or live or dead adults in your air ducts, cabinets, closets, furniture, or clothing are a good indication you've got an infestation underway.
While the best course of action to prevent carpet beetles' spread within your home is to call an exterminator at the first sign of these pests, careful cleaning can help, as well.
"Routine, thorough vacuuming, including the undersides of beds and furniture, can help prevent the establishment of the beetles," says Thome, who also recommends regularly cleaning wool and leather goods if they're not being used to keep these bugs from taking hold. And if you want to keep your home safe, be aware that This Deadly Pest Could Be Hiding in Your Bedroom, Experts Say.