Carpet Beetles and Dermatitis

You may have heard about carpet beetles and shuddered in revulsion. After all, carpet beetles spend their lives on that same carpet you walk on every day. Not only do they eat your carpet and cause massive amounts of damage, but they lay eggs in your carpet. That means more carpet beetles for you to loathe. The thought of those little beetles in your carpet is disgusting. But there’s more. Can you get a rash from carpet beetles? The answer is yes.

What Are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are a species of insect that live on your carpet or any kind of fibrous material. They are usually small — less than 1/8 of an inch and are usually brown or black. Some have colored shells. The little beetles spend their lives feeding on your carpet and laying eggs on it. That’s about all these little insects do.

What Causes You to Get Carpet Beetles?

There are several signs of carpet beetles. The obvious place to find one is on a carpet. But you might also find one in your bed. Unlike bedbugs, however, these beetles don’t bite. They eat dead skin cells — just like bedbugs. Look for these little pests in the dark corners of your home. They like dark areas the best, which also makes them harder to spot.

Carpet beetles get into your home from the outside. They may come in through doors or windows. Sometimes, you bring them in yourself on cut flowers or plants.

You will know that you have a carpet beetle infestation. While carpet beetle eggs are hard to spot, carpet beetle infestation signs are unmistakable. Your first sign of an infestation will be ragged holes in your carpets or sheets. Unlike moths, which leave several small holes in the fabric, carpet beetle holes can be huge. Also, you may notice lots of silvery or white flakes on your carpet. Those are skin sheddings of carpet beetle larvae.

The Disease They Cause

Besides causing damage, they can also cause disease. Dermatitis is a skin disease that causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. The first discussion of dermatitis involving these beetles appeared in medical literature in 1948. At that time, there were reports that people got dermatitis from the larvae of several species of these beetles. Their symptoms included itching, feeling that bugs were crawling on their skin, and blisters or a rash on the skin.

Scientists research found it was the larvae of carpet beetles that were the problem. The larvae have hairs on them. It turns out the larvae shed their hairs in the carpet, which causes problems for some people who are allergic. The hairs can even get under your skin! Their larvae can also cause eye irritation and breathing problems. Usually, a one-time exposure isn’t going to hurt you. Instead, problems seem to happen in people who have had long-term exposure to these pesky little critters.

What to Do About Them

Removing carpet beetles from your house is hard. First, you will need to thoroughly vacuum every carpet where you have seen them. You will also need to vacuum curtains and throw rugs if they have been in contact with the affected carpets. After you vacuum, you will need to steam clean carpets, rugs, and curtains. Steam cleaning removes the bugs and eggs. There are other things you can do to help keep them out of your home. You can sprinkle boric acid on the carpeting. You need to know, however, that it is poisonous. Therefore, it’s not advised to use boric acid around children or animals.

If you want help getting rid of those pesky little beetles for good, get in touch with us. Contact NJ Pest Control, in Randolph, N.J., in Morris County.