Spring is finally here, but unfortunately so are the pests!
While doing your spring cleaning or staying indoors due to our recent rain, you may have noticed some insects and spiders have moved in with you. Many pests are emerging from their winter rest, and taking cover from the cool, wet weather.
If you've found tiny brown, white, and black patterned beetles on windowsills, curtains, or walls near entryways, they may be carpet beetles. Adult beetles are about 1/10 inch and feed on pollen and nectar from flowers like crape myrtle and spirea. They can be brought indoors on cut flowers or they may fly in from nearby plants outside. A few adult beetles inside your home are typically not a problem. However, be on the lookout for their larvae or signs of their damage. Carpet beetle larvae feed on natural fibers such as wool, silk, leather, fur, and pet hair. They can damage rugs and carpets, yarn, clothing, and leather book bindings. Larvae will not feed on synthetic fibers like polyester. You can reduce sources of food for larvae by cleaning up lint, hair, dead insects, or debris. Adults can be relocated to the outdoors, but larvae are more difficult to control. See Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for management strategies.
Spiders often end up inside while looking for food and if the right conditions are present–dark, dusty, hidden areas–they may stay a while. Some people may not mind the occasional spider, as they feed on other pests like flies, moths, and beetles. It is uncommon for most California spiders to bite you, contrary to what many people think. This includes the brown recluse spider, which does not exist in California. To identify the various spiders you might come across, see the Pest Notes: Spiders.
There are many other household pests you might encounter now and throughout the year. Fortunately, UC IPM has tons of great information on what they are and how to control them! See Pests of homes, structures, people, and pets for more information, or watch UC IPM's webinar recording on Springtime Household Pests.
- Author: Elaine Lander
While you are outside gardening or inside doing your spring cleaning, you may have recently found small, round, speckled beetles you've never seen before. We've had several questions this past week about insects crawling around windowsills, found on screens, or noticed on outdoor plants, or fuzzy, oblong insects on carpets or rugs. What are they? While there are many insects starting to emerge from their winter rest, if you are finding small beetles like these, they could be carpet beetles!
Carpet beetles are pests of homes, warehouses, and museums. In California, there are 3 species that damage fabrics, carpets, and stored foods including the varied carpet beetle, Anthrenus verbasci. The beetles are round like lady beetles (“ladybugs”), but much smaller in size. Varied carpet beetles are about 1/10 inch long, with black, white, brown and dark yellow patterns.
Carpet beetles adults feed on pollen and nectar of flowers. They often fly into homes from flowers in the landscape or may be accidentally brought indoors on cut flowers. A few adult beetles inside your home are typically not a problem. However, if you find larvae, the fuzzy immature beetles on fabric, carpet, or other natural materials in your home, you may need to manage the infestation.
See the UC IPM Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for more identification, prevention, and management information.
- Posted By: Surendra Dara
- Written by: Surendra Dara
Someone recently brought specimens of what they thought were bed bugs. Actually they are larvae of carpet beetle. Here is a brief note about them.
Carpet beetles belong to the Coleopteran family of Dermestidae, which are commonly known as dermestid or skin beetles. These are scavengers and feed on a variety of plant and animal material. Larger members of this family belong to the genus Dermestes. Smaller and common household pests belong to the genera Attagenus and Anthrenus. Dermestids feed on furniture, carpet, fur, leather, stored food, museum specimens, and other materials.
Varied carpet beetle larva dorsal view (above) and ventral view (below). Photo by: Surendra Dara
The three species of carpet beetles common in California are varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci), furniture carpet beetle (A. flavipes), and black carpet beetle (Attagenus megatoma). The specimens I received appear to be varied carpet beetle larvae.
More information on carpet beetles, their identification and control can be found at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html.