Do you know what’s hiding in your carpet? There are little critters hiding in plain sight all around. Every day you walk across and over them without knowing they are there, but they are. Small bugs love the warmth, food source, and protection the carpet offers. Lurking underfoot, not all of the bugs cause harm, but some might. The only way to get rid of them is to have your carpet steam cleaned regularly, as it deprives the critters of a safe space to hide and breed. But if you own pets or have kids, the bugs won’t be gone for long. They are known to hitch a ride on pets, shoes, and anything else you bring into the house. Keep a sharp eye out for these invaders and get rid of them quickly.
Bed bugs get overlooked when people think about a home invasion, and their name is a bit deceptive. They don’t only live in beds; they love the safety and security of a thick carpet. They become a problem really quickly when they get into your house. Bed bugs can live in carpet fibers and wooden floorboards. They are extremely fast for their size and can crawl more than 100 feet to obtain a blood meal, usually at night from the unsuspecting homeowners who are sleeping. Engorgement takes about three to 10 minutes, yet people rarely realize they are being bitten. They don’t transmit disease, but many people are allergic to their bites which manifest in small reddish spots, a rash, or hives in extreme cases. Bed bugs will bite exposed areas around the neck and head. They don’t discriminate against pets either, and they will make a home in pet beds and bite them too.
Various types of allergies can lead to serious health problems. People with allergies typically suffer from itchy and watery eyes, runny noses, and constant sneezing, making for a miserable existence. A controllable cause of allergies is the presence of dust mites. They are microscopic insects that live in carpets and are known to carry and transmit allergens. Most homes and professional offices are contaminated with dust mites. In particular, carpets can become heavily infested with mites. Dust mites prefer to be around humans for the endless food source they provide, feeding on the endless amount of skin cells humans shed every year. The chemical benzyl benzoate will kill mites, but their dead carcasses can still trigger allergies and will need to be vacuumed up afterward.
Carpet beetles are larger than the other bugs on this horrifying list, and they are just as destructive. Carpet beetles are fond of natural fibers like wool, cotton, flannels, and furs. They love to feast on the fibers and are more destructive than moths when eating clothes. If that food source isn’t available, then they go for the dry goods in the pantry, such as flour, rice, and grains. They are less destructive than some species because they only reproduce for one generation a year. Carpet beetles will leave red welts on the skin, but not from biting; the welts actually come from the long hairs on the beetle larvae and the allergic reaction they trigger in some people. Carpet beetles typically leave larvae in carpets, but also in bedding and under pillows.
There are over 2,000 species of flea in the world, and each species is equally as repulsive. Once there is an infestation in your house, it will feel like every last one of them has come to stay. Fleas are small but visible to the naked eye. They are fast-moving and very agile, making them difficult to catch. Anyone with outdoor pets knows that fleas are always looking for a ride into the house. Your dog or cat scratching itself is usually a telltale sign of a flea infestation. Careful combing and searching will reveal the pest. Fleas can live for several years and once they make it in the house they are looking to feed on blood, so they bite, so they can reproduce. Once they bite, they lay eggs on the host. Carpets are highly effective places for mature fleas to live because fleas thrive in the carpet’s dry temperature. Conversely, flea eggs love wetter carpet that may be damp due to flooding, inadequate bathroom ventilation, or kitchen-generated moisture. Fleas reproduce fast and are known to carry diseases like typhus, the bubonic plague, and spotted fever, just to name a few of the most terrifying illnesses they carry.
Mold is what’s hiding in your carpet, and you don’t even know it’s there. Common household mold will invade any space it can find. All it needs is a moist place, something to eat, and a dark space to grow. Any carpet that has sustained water damage is a prime candidate for mold. Even after the carpet is clean and dry, the mold can still grow in the fibers. Stachybotrys chartarum is one type of house mold that grows on wet or moist carpeting. It produces mycotoxins which cause dermatitis, mucosal irritation, and immunosuppression. Once it starts feeding and spreading, the mold will give off the distinctive moldy smell everyone recognizes. Mold in your carpet will lead to a host of health problems if left alone. The only way to know it’s gone for sure is to remove the carpet completely.
Firebrats look a lot like silverfish with an elongated body, long antennae, and a segmented body. Adults grow to a half-inch in length, with a grey teardrop-shaped body without wings. They get in the house like any other bug, typically by hitching a ride on a pet, in firewood, or by scurrying through an open window or door. They get the name firebrat because of their love of extremely warm temperatures. They have heat-resistant feet that help them stay on hot surfaces. Typically, you will find them in the hottest places of the house, like the carpets near a fireplace, the area near a heat vent, under the stove, or near hot water pipes. Firebrats aren’t known to carry any diseases and don’t bite or sting. However, they are a nuisance pest that should be dealt with because of their capacity to damage your home. Firebrats usually feed on drywall, carpet fibers, and dry store goods in the pantry. If you have old family photos or paperwork you are safekeeping, the firebrat will feed on those too, as they like a high carb diet.
Aloha Restoration is a full service carpet cleaner and professional remodeling contractor. We can clean your carpets and get rid of the bugs or replace your carpet altogether. Contact us today.