Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/350

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336
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

reason for this name, and however inapt it may be, it is known more commonly by it than by its more proper name of "carpet-beetle."

The larva which does the damage measures when full grown about three sixteenths of an inch in length. It is covered with hairs, the longest ones being on the last segment of the body, forming a sort of tail. It makes no cocoon, but when full grown remains quiet for a short time, then the skin splits along the back

PSM V37 D350 Four stages of the carpet beetle from right to left.jpg
Fig. 2.—Carpet-Beetle. a, larva, upper side; b, larva, under side; c, pupa; d, perfect insect (after Riley). The straight lines at the sides show the actual length of each form.

and the pupa is seen. It continues in this state for a few weeks, when the skin of the pupa bursts and the perfect insect is disclosed—a beautiful little beetle, less than an eighth of an inch in length, marked with red, black, and white. From October until spring the beetles may be found in all stages of growth—that is to say, in the larval, pupal, and perfect states.

It is found that few of the usual preventives are of any use against the attacks of this beetle, and for this reason it is a difficult pest to eradicate. In some places it has proved so destructive that carpets have to be dispensed with, and in their place rugs are used, as being more conveniently examined.

Tallow or tallowed paper placed around the edges of the carpet, which are often the parts first attacked, is said to be effectual. In many cases the carpets are cut, as if with scissors, following the line of the seams in the floor, and as a remedy for this it has been recommended that the seams be filled during the winter with cotton saturated with benzine. Kerosene, naphtha, or gasoline are offensive to the beetle as well as benzine, but benzine is perhaps the simplest and safest preventive to use. It can be poured from a tin can having a very small spout, it being necessary to use but little.

Before tacking down a carpet it should be thoroughly examined, and if possible steamed. If in spite of precautions a car-