Carpet beetle

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Carpet beetle

With pests, people quickly think of roaches and silverfish. However, carpet beetles may also be included in this category. These insects get their name from the fact that carpet is a veritable walhalla of food for their larvae. As a result, they can cause a lot of damage in the home.
carpet beetle

Habitat carpet beetles

Beetles can be found all over the world, and the carpet beetle is also found in many countries. What makes the carpet beetle different from many other beetle species is its preference for living indoors. There is only one other beetle species (the bacon beetle) that shares this preference. The carpet beetle likes to eat animal products. As a result, it is often found in bird nests. When there are bird nests under the roof, there is a good chance that the carpet beetle will eventually nest indoors through the roof. Eggs are laid in a food-rich place, such as carpet. The larvae that hatch from the eggs then feast on that carpet, with dire consequences.

Outward characteristics of the carpet beetle

Beetle species are very similar. They may differ in size, color and food preferences, but physically these insects consist of a number of fixed parts.

Head of the carpet beetle

The eyes of beetles are special and definitely worth studying. Pay particular attention to the eyes. A carpet beetle has compound eyes on the front of the head. Such compound eyes are also called facet eyes, because they consist of a lot of small eyes together. The principle is similar to the construction of the eyes of flies. Carpet beetles can see things up close with those eyes just fine. At longer distances, however, vision fails. To find food or a mate, the carpet beetle therefore uses another sense: the antennae. The feelers of beetles are full of special cells that do not feel but smell. Minute scent particles can be picked up and smelled with them, up to kilometers away. When a female wants to lay eggs, she uses her antennae to look for a place with lots of food – for example, a carpet.

Another interesting part of the head are the jaws. All species of beetles have smaller or larger mandibles. These are the upper mandibles. So the carpet beetle also has these mandibles, but in this species they are not conspicuous. This is because they do not require larger or stronger mandibles for their preferred food.

The thorax of the carpet beetle

The thorax is the largest part of the carpet beetle’s body. It can be divided into three different segments. The hind legs and wings are on the posterior part; the metathorax. The coverts and middle pair of legs are attached to the middle part; the mesothorax. And then there is the prothorax. This is the front part of the thorax and attached to it are the two front legs. Carpet beetles can fly well and this is reflected in the shape of the thorax. The flight muscles are strong and therefore require a lot of space. That is why the thorax is slightly convex.

The fact that the thorax consists of three segments is difficult to see from the top, by the way. Because of the shields on its back, the beetle seems to be put together differently. When the beetle is turned over, it is easier to see. Then it becomes clear that the front part of the thorax is under the neck shield and the rear part is under the wings.

The abdomen of the carpet beetle

Carpet beetles can fly, but not as well as, say, flies and dragonflies. This is partly because carpet beetles have only two wings. Many other insects have four, which makes flying easier. Partly it is also because of the wing covers. These lie over the hind wings, preventing their proper use. However, carpet beetles are still able to fly. This is done in a manner similar to the flying of a ladybug. To move forward, the wingcases are flapped out diagonally upward and sideways, so that they do not interfere with the wings. Incidentally, that is not the only similarity between carpet beetle and ladybug. Both animals have multicolored wing shields, which is why the carpet beetle is sometimes mistaken for a ladybug.

The hind wings of carpet beetles are longer than the front wings. Actually, as a result, they do not fit under the cover shields. To solve this problem, the carpet beetle folds them after flying. This is done by means of wing vein joints.

What do carpet beetles eat?

Adult carpet beetles can live indoors, but they also feel right at home outdoors. There they look for flowers, from which they extract nectar and pollen. They can fly fairly long distances. Bird’s nests are a favorite habitat for the carpet beetle because they contain a lot of food (animal products). When the carpet beetle sees an opportunity to lay eggs indoors, it usually does so in a place with carpet. Although this beetle is also called museum beetle, it may be obvious that the name carpet beetle also fits nicely. In addition to carpet, larvae like to eat wool and textiles. Carpet beetles do not like wet places. Both adults and larvae prefer dry environments.

Enemies of the carpet beetle

The natural enemies of the carpet beetle are birds, as well as insects such as the parasitic wasp. Even spiders will not abandon a carpet beetle or larva. So although carpet beetles like to be in birds’ nests, they are not actually sure of their lives there.

Nuisance and diseases

Although carpet beetles can cause a lot of nuisance in the home, as far as we know they cannot cause diseases. Carpet beetles belong to the kind of insects that are interested in certain material (in this case, wool or carpet) and not in unsanitary conditions. Insects primarily interested in the latter are more likely to carry diseases. That said, carpet beetles, especially the larvae, can cause a great deal of nuisance and damage. In such cases, it is very important to take action against them.

Controlling carpet beetle

Do you want to fight the carpet beetle but have no idea how? Then contact a local unpredator.

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