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Carpet Beetle Bites

Ever heard of carpet beetles, and do you know what they are? Carpet beetles are a type of pest commonly found in your home. Their larvae have hair-like bristles on their body, and the tail and these bristles can cause a bumpy, itchy, and allergic reaction which is sometimes mistaken for carpet beetle bites.

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carpet beetle bite

Carpet beetles never bite, and they don’t even feed on fabrics. They don’t have a mandible and are not interested in biting humans or pets to get their food. If you’re curious to know more about this insect, in today’s post we will discuss the possible locations in which they might be hiding. Further on we will pay attention to the infestation, carpet beetle allergy, carpet beetle larvae bites, black carpet beetle bites, and signs of carpet beetle bites on humans. We will also explore the other harmful sides, what causes carpet beetles, treatment, and ways to get rid of them. Let’s jump right in!

Carpet Beetle Bites on Humans

As previously mentioned, adult beetles never bite, but the larvae are covered with tiny hair-like bristles, and they can cause a red itchy welt-like allergy, especially when these larvae come into contact with the human body. 

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It usually occurs when people are asleep, and the larvae move around those areas such as under the bed or behind other furniture.

Carpet Beetle Rash

The red bumps on your skin are also called carpet beetle rash. This rash will often itch, and it may also create a burning sensation. If you scratch this, it won’t go away. On the contrary, this itchy and burning sensation will spread to other parts of the human body like the shoulders, hands, and even legs. Most people will be disturbed by this painful itching.

The carpet beetle rash was first discovered in 1948 when a group of scientists reported and described dermatitis that was caused by the well-known carpet beetles. People came in contact with them and developed a skin reaction. The symptoms included papulovesicular eruptions and itching of the skin. When they conducted a trial, they found out that these reactions were caused by the close contact with the hair of the carpet beetle larvae.

When talking about the clinical symptoms caused by the carpet beetle larvae, they mentioned an allergic reaction on the skin which was caused by the insect’s blood and larvae hairs. Reactions were very strong and followed by an itching and carpet beetle rash. Patients have complained that something bit them, which indeed they were caused by the close contact with the insects. Symptoms of the rash are most visible in individuals that had prolonged contact with carpet beetles. For example, spent months in an infected room.

Later, clinical trials have confirmed that dermatitis is caused by larvae blood and hairs, and they were found in the biopsies.

Apart from this, you can also notice other symptoms of an allergic reaction such as red, watery, and itchy eyes, hives, runny nose, etc. In the worst-case scenario, you may suffer from breathing difficulties, although this is a rare occasion.

How to Tell the Difference Between Carpet Beetle Rash and Bed Bug Bites?

The first step in getting rid of the common household insects is to correctly identify the pests that enter your home. For example, many people mistakenly believe that they are infested with bed bugs when in fact they are infested with carpet beetles. Both of these pests will leave you with a similar-looking rash on the skin. Bed bugs actually produce red, blister-like itchy bumps on your skin when they bite. Carpet beetles don’t bite at all, but due to the minor allergic reactions caused by contact with them, the carpet beetles will leave similar red bumps that look like red irritated skin.

Below you can see the difference in how these rashes look.

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Carpet Beetle Bites Treatment

If a carpet beetle rash has happened, some primary treatments can reduce the symptoms and help you cure your overall troubles. This “carpet beetle bite” treatment is straightforward and feasible. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Apply the most natural way, the “compress cold” method. It will help you relieve itching and sore skin, and it will give you a couple of hours of relief from the burning and itching.
  • Use the special lotion called Calamine Lotion available at Amazon. It’s virtually an anti-itching lotion that will help you to remove your itching sensation. Costs just $9. After using this lotion, your feeling will be soothed, and it will minimize the spread of the allergy as well.
  • Benadryl Cream is yet another next best treatment after the calamine lotion. In fact, it’s an antihistamine cream that should work great to reduce the symptoms of itching.

If these methods don’t help and you still get life-threatening reactions like breathing difficulties, make sure you visit your dermatologist. He will check and prescribe medicine that will battle your allergy.

Carpet Beetle Infestation in Your Home

Usually, small adult carpet beetles crawl on the floor, or you may see them flying towards light. However, any dark corners, underneath heavy furniture, especially carpet holes, are cozy places for carpet beetles. Let’s examine these insects more thoroughly before you know the infestation or where to look for them in your house.

These insects are tiny, being 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and oval or round in shape. They have brownish-black wings and blackheads. Sometimes they are speckled with yellow, white, and orange. Larvae are 1/8 inch long, and young beetles are 1/4 inch long with a brownish color.

Carpet beetle larvae feed on fabrics made from woolens, silks, furs, leather, and natural cotton, and items around the home like hair, lint, spilled food crumbs, dead insects, and similar. Anyhow, carpet beetle larvae don’t feed on fabrics made of 100% synthetic fibers. They usually like to go to the dark or undisturbed spaces in your home during the feeding. On the other hand, the adults feed on nectar and pollen from outdoor flower plants and flowers.

Depending on their species, the beetles reproduce 1 to 4 times a year. Most commonly, female beetles lay their eggs inside the house to get sufficient food and develop faster. The eggs of the beetle are usually white or cream-colored.

Signs of Carpet Beetle Infestation

These infestations are mostly seen in carpets, air vents, closets, and even baseboards.

They can also be found under furniture or in any dark places in your home. Some signs point to the infestation or beetle somewhere in your house. Also, you can find out more about the five most common symptoms of carpet infestation.

  • Check near the windows for adult beetles. Adult beetles take pollen or nectar, so they try to go outside to get their food in spring or early summer. This is why you can find them near the windows.
  • Check for the furry skins below the furniture or in the dark corners. Like any other insect, the larvae molt several times in their nine-month life cycle. If you notice small collections of furry skins in the bottom of the wardrobe, below the runner on carpeted stairs, or in any dark corner this is another significant sign that these insects are present in your house.
  • It’s easier to catch larvae during daylight. Usually, the larvae feed at night, so it’s impossible to spot them. Still, you will see them in your home in places where there is a bit of sunlight. Most likely, near the curtains and behind the furniture.
  • The beetles like to feed in concentrated places. The larvae want to hide behind heavy furniture like wardrobes, almirah, or any dark place where nobody can see them. You will find them in concentrated areas during feeding. From here, if you notice numerous small holes in your favorite sweater, this is another vital sign that you have a beetle infestation.
  • Check for droppings. These droppings can be black or brown as well as their size can be small like a grain of sand. If you find black or brown droppings on the hard floor, clothes, or at the bottom of the wardrobe, then it would be another sign of the beetle infestation in your home.

Further on, the beetles’ damaged photos, paperwork, and book covers can be used to hide.

What Are the Types of Carpet Beetles?

Even though there are various beetle species, the most common ones are black carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, and furniture carpet beetle. All the species of these beetles cause the most damage like a potential allergic reaction or chewing animal-based fabrics in their larvae stage.

Here is some general info regarding these types of carpet beetles:

  • Varied carpet beetle – they’re tiny, measuring about 0.25 cm. They have a spherically shaped body that is covered with a slightly rounded shell. These beetles’ color is a mixture of white, dark, and light brown spots, and the older specimen can be greyish too. They can survive from 1 to 3 years, depending on the environmental conditions.
  • Furniture carpet beetle – the size of these beetles is slightly larger than the first one measuring at approximately 0.3 – 0.5 cm. They have light brown shells speckled with white and black markings.
  • Black carpet beetle – they are the largest at around 0.3 – 1 cm in length. The shells of these beetles are usually either solid brown or shiny black. The black carpet beetle infestation is relatively more noticeable than the others.

Carpet Beetles Lifecycle

There are four stages that all carpet beetles go through: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adults can fly easily and eat pollen from flowers and bushes when it is warm and sunny outside.

carpet-beetles-lifecycle

A  female bug can lay anywhere from 40 to 90 white eggs that hatch within 15 days. Eggs that were laid inside can be found in places like lint piles near food sources, on the carpets, under old furniture, etc. After hatching, larvae start eating all they can find. As they grow, they avoid light and shed their skin several times.

Carpet beetles spend anywhere from 60 days even a year or more as larvae, depending on the region, available food, weather, and other factors. If a room is warm, its lifecycle is relatively short. When spring comes, new adults come out of the pupal stage. Most species of black and varied carpet beetles only have one generation annually, but some other species may have as many as four.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

After seeing and realizing the signs of carpet beetle infestation, allergy, and possible harmful sides, it’s now time to find out how to get rid of these persistent pests from your home effectively. Besides, you will understand how to eliminate this insect and take fast action with proper tools and practices.

  • Find the source. Looking for the primary source of an infestation should be the very first concern in such a situation. 
  • Install carpet beetle traps.
  • Check undisturbed, dark areas such as under or behind heavy furniture, basements, and under carpet or rugs for signs such as brown, bristle, furry skins from larvae, black or brown larvae poop that is small as a grain of sand. 
  • Oval-shaped adult beetles are generally living outside and can fly, but they tend to lay eggs indoors in dark, hidden places.
  • Vacuum your entire home properly. Make sure you thoroughly vacuum all your home areas like carpets, sofas, mattresses, couches, various floors, and other furnishings. Focus on the most infested areas and source of the house and vacuum other places to make sure you remove all larvae and beetles nicely.
  • For the first week, vacuum your carpet every day. You may need to do it several times, depending on the level of infestation.
  • Vacuum your upholstered furniture and other places in your home at least once a day for a week.
  • Make hot water extraction cleaning or steam cleaning, and to do this, you can use your home steam cleaner or hire a steam cleaner if needed. When the infestation is gone, clean your carpet and low-traffic and dusty places, or the possible nooks and crannies using crevice tools regularly.
  • Throw out infested clothes. 
  • Wash all your clothes at the hottest temperature setting. Scalding soapy water would be the best way to kill them. 
  • Throw away infested food.

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles

Getting rid of these insects is one thing, but it’s best to try to prevent their infestation in your home in the first place. You can take some critical initiatives with the right tools and practices. Here you can get a better picture of which method you may use and what to do step by step to prevent them from coming back and showing up.

  • Seal holes and cracks and remove any outdoor source of beetle. If you find old spider webs or nests of birds, bees, and rats around your home, throw them away as soon as possible.
  • Keep your windows closed or install window screens. Do this to protect the beetles’ destruction from entering your house.
  • Clean your entire home frequently. You can also use natural insecticides for your furniture like peppermint oil and olive oil. The smell of these oils will help keep the beetles or larvae away from it.
  • Store your unused clothes in a plastic box or container. Check those items from time to time, and if you notice an infestation of beetles, clean them and store them again.
  • Choose synthetic materials instead of organic ones. Try to choose synthetic products such as rugs, carpets, and upholstery since the larvae eat organic materials.
  • Carefully check the plants or flowers out before bringing them into your home. Adult beetles feed on flower pollen or nectar, and they may hide in flowers.

Conclusion

An allergic response may occur if a person comes into touch with the bristles on the skin of carpet beetle larvae. A reaction like this is likely to cause an unpleasant rash that is sometimes mistaken for bed bug bites.

Carpet beetle larvae bites or rash can be more than annoying, sometimes harmful, which means that they can cause allergic reactions or even worse consequences. These allergic reactions are known as “carpet beetle bites”. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat them. Like with any other medical condition, your first step should be to contact a doctor and seek medical advice.

You can get rid of the carpet beetle infestation by cleaning your home thoroughly. You can also prevent those insects from spreading by merely following the measures mentioned in this article.

Still, if you notice severe infestations spreading out all around your home and it’s impossible for you to control, you may consider getting help from any professional pest controller. Prevention is better than cure so you should do that as soon as you notice the first signs of carpet beetles in your home.