As the name goes, the black carpet beetle is commonly found feeding on carpets and other types of fabrics. When infested in a house, they can be serious pests to deal with for homeowners.
This type of flying insect is known by the scientific name Attagenus unicolor. A majority of the carpet beetle species are black in color, hence the common name 'black carpet beetle' was coined. Infestation by this pest occurs in the spring, when there are fresh flower blooms in the garden. The adult beetles visiting the blooms may find their way inside the house and feed on old woolen clothes, carpets, pet food, etc.
At maturity, the size of this type of beetle is about 3-5 mm in length, and the shape is oval and elongated. The body is covered by black-colored, minute hair. Having 3 pairs of legs, the head portion is covered partially from above. The last antenna segment of female beetle is shorter than that of the male antenna. While most carpet beetle types have a black body, there are also species where the body color is reddish-brown.
The larva of the black carpet beetle is longer than the larvae of other carpet beetles. It can be identified from the tuft of golden hair present at the tapered end of the body. Measuring about 12.5-13 mm in length, this carrot-shaped, golden-brown larva feeds on pet hair, meat, wool, fabric, leather, and plant debris. It is a pest in kitchen cabinets and cloth storage cupboards.
Mating of the adult beetles takes place in spring. The female then flies inside the house in search of areas to lay the eggs. It lays small, white eggs in areas with a food source for the hatching larvae. The larvae emerge from the eggs within 6-11 days in warm conditions. This stage lasts for about 258 to 639 days, after which the larvae mature into adults. The adult carpet beetles live for a few weeks to several months.
This tiny black insect doesn't bite humans. Hence, it is not dangerous, as far as human health and pet health is concerned. However, people who are hypersensitive to allergens may experience allergic reactions after coming in contact with this beetle. Besides causing damage to natural fibers, the adult carpet beetles are also considered as garden pests.
Focus on finding the infestation site and limiting food sources in and around the house. At the first sight of this household pest, make sure to use an effective method of removal. Wear hand gloves and pick them out manually. Or else, you can vacuum the carpet and dispose them off. An effective remedy is spraying diatomaceous earth and silica gel in the infested areas.
The larval stage is considered to be more destructive than the adult beetles. If home remedies do not work to get rid of these pests, then try chemical-based pesticides. Taking appropriate precautionary measures is a must while handling and spraying chemical products. You will need to empty the room first (except for infested fabrics), and spray them according to the manufacturer's directions.