An itch, a scratch, but caused by what?
The first reaction is often fleas, or the fear of bedbugs. Sometimes the culprit is a lesser known foe, the larvae from the carpet beetle. There are a few different types of Carpet Beetles to look out for.
Black Carpet Beetle:
black, oval and less than 1/4 inch long. The larva is less than 1/2 inch long, reddish or golden brown with short hair on its body and a tuft of long hair at the end of its abdomen. Often people will believe they have what are insect bites scattered all over their body. They itch intensely but intermittently.
Varied, common, and furniture carpet beetles are very similar:
These beetles are about 1/8 inch long and have a broadly oval appearance.
The larval stage does most of the damage. Even though they are called carpet beetles, the larvae feed on many other items. Preferred foods include animal products, such as skins, furs, feathers, wool, hair and dead insects, but they also eat cotton to some extent. They are known to eat holes in yarns that are blends of wool and synthetic fibers. Because synthetics are not digestible, larvae need to eat more of each material to get enough wool to meet nutritional requirements. Consequently, greater damage is often the result.
Adult beetles are capable of flying to light. Finding adult beetles on window sills and light fixtures is often the first sign of infestation. Items at high risk are untreated animals skins, fur clothes, woolen rags, etc.
Be sure to clean out-of-season items before storing. Checking items that have not been used for several months helps prevent severe damage. Remember items that are stored in attic spaces. Clothes that were worn like socks, sweaters or slippers are more likely to hold sweat or food particles, making the garments more attractive to these pests. These insects are more likely to come into homes on clothes or almost anything that is brought indoors. Even felts in pianos have been destroyed.
If you have an itch you just can’t scratch, or think carpet beetles are complicating your life, Call Atlas today to receive a customized treatment plan to solve your issue today.
Larvae Image Author: André Karwath (CC BY-SA 2.5) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Aka