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carpet beetles insects

Do carpet beetles sting?

First of all, what is a carpet beetle? These are little beetle like insects (in fact they are a type of beetle) from 2 to 4 millimeters in size, that like to live and feed off of dead organic matter, like the natural fibers of wool blankets, feathers, animal hides, carpets, or the carcasses of preserved animals. This makes them a pest in their own right as they can eventually destroy many household items and stored clothing, this is especially true of the larval stage of the insect which is the the one that causes most of the damage these insects produce.

 

Now, the short answer to the question that titles this article, is no, carpet beetles don’t sting or bite, but there is a longer answer to that question which follows. They don’t bite or sting, still that doesn’t mean they don’t produce a reaction that looks a lot like a sting or bite in some people that have developed an allergic response to these insects. Apparently the allergic response is triggered by small hairs in the larval stages of the insect, or even the contact with some shed skins of these larva. People that suffer the allergic reaction report getting multiple itching red welts that can look like a rash on different parts of their skin during sleep, making them believe that this has been some kind of bite or sting, and the most commonly invoked culprit turns out to be another common household pest, the bed bug. Bed bugs do bite as they need to feed off of your blood, just like mosquitoes do, and they do also produce red itching welts caused by the allergic reaction to the saliva and other fluids they inject into the bite. Both bed bugs and carpet beetles are attracted to you while you sleep, by the warmth and CO2 that you expel, so due to the similarities in their habits and reaction by some people they tend to get confused many times.

 

There are important differences between bed bugs and carpet beetles, the most important one being that the method required to eliminate carpet beetles can be a lot lighter on the wallet, while bed bugs usually require some form of professional pest elimination and the professionally hefty price tag that goes with it. Bed bugs are larger in size and easy to detect on or around an infested bed, while carpet beetles are more shy and much harder to find, this is a giveaway of a carpet beetle infestation. The solution for getting rid of carpet beetles usually just requires the thorough cleaning, vacuuming, dry cleaning, etc. (although sometimes just putting the suspect items in full sunlight for a couple of hours can do the job) of the probable sources of food for them, like carpets, blankets, bed sheets, pillows, teddy bears, clothing, animal skins, or animal carcasses or parts that have undergone preservation or taxidermy. The bad news is that carpet beetles actually fly, unlike bed bugs, so they can come flying back in and infest a house again. Vigilance and good housekeeping and regular cleaning is the key. Nevertheless, in a case of heavy infestations the use of pesticides may be necessary.

 

Daniel Barsa

This document is licensed for commercial use with modification.

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carpet beetles insects

Top 5 Effective & Versatile Mosquito Control Solutions

It’s no secret that mosquitoes are a hazard, no matter how old you are or where you live. Especially with the current outbreaks of the Zika virus, it is even more important for people to protect themselves and their loved ones from these pests. Of course there are professional solutions, but you can up your chances of escaping their wrath with a few simple steps:

  1. Control Water  – Unfortunately, mosquitoes need water just as much as we humans do. They use it to breed, and before you know it, a few can turn into hundreds. While we can’t get rid of our pools and water sources, we can help protect them. This includes dumping/flipping anything unused that can hold still water: planters, dog dishes, kiddie pools, and anything else that can water can sit in. If there is an area in your yard with sitting water, you can fill it in with dirt or hire a professional. Also, with pools and garden ponds, use filters and clean often so that they can’t breed. And ALWAYS cover everything you can!

  2. Become a Fan of Fans – Like their favorite water supply, mosquitoes prefer still air, as well. The more air circulation, the less likely they will hang around. Though it may sound a little crazy, placing fans outside will help deter the mosquitoes from even landing. And the bonus is a nice breeze to cool you and your guests!

  3. Red Cedar Mulch – According to Tractor Supply, spreading this particular mulch around your garden/home not only improves the aesthetics, it also helps to deter mosquitoes from coming close. Simply spread the mulch in planted areas, but they also suggest brewing some in water to make a spray for cemented areas.

  4. Pinion Wood – We all know that citronella candles help ward off the little critters, but they also suggest burning pinion wood in a pit or fireplace too. If you combine the candles with the smoke from the pinion wood, they won’t stand a chance!

  5. Common Household Items – With a little bit of luck and some simple mixing, you can create your own mosquito repellants. Tractor Supply recommends spraying your lawn and garden with equal parts: stale beer (⅓), epsom salt (⅓), and mouthwash with alcohol (⅓). In addition, many, including my grandma, swear by Avon Skin So Soft. You can spray it all over your body, with little chance of having a reaction, and it’s safe for kids and pets! Finally, to capture any that have managed to make it past all your barriers: set containers with lemon scented dish soap away from the populated areas in your yard. The mosquitoes will be drawn to the lemon scent, thus away from your loved ones!

 

(Source: Home Remedies to Get Rid of Mosquitoes, Tractor Supply Co. 2016, http://www.tractorsupply.com/know-how_outdoors_outdoor-living_home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-mosquitoes)

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