Learning how to get rid of carpet beetles is a process many homeowners go through. These pesky little buggers can do a surprising amount of damage, and it's important that you stop them quickly!
In this guide you will learn everything about carpet beetles, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them from appearing in the future.
table of contents
- What are carpet beetles?
- Signs that you have an infestation
- This will prevent future carpet beetle infestations.
What are carpet beetles?
When most people see holes in clothing and blankets, they automatically assume a moth is to blame. Although moths can do a lot of damage, this is usually the work of carpet beetles.
And this is one of the most ignored pests in your home! Carpet beetles are small insects that feed on organic fibers in the larval stage.
Contrary to popular belief,It's not the adult insects that should worry you the most.Adults can be pests as they roam the kitchen in search of food, but they only feed on pollen and nectar.
Eventually, however, they do come in to lay eggs. When they do, they deposit hundreds of tiny fiber-eating insects.
These larvae are the real demons.They have an insatiable appetite for keratin, a protein found in animal fur and skin. It is also found in natural plant fibers.
Short tip:Keratin is present in almost every organic fiber in your home. They're not just on rugs. These critters will eat everything from your favorite cotton sweater to the burlap rug in your entryway!
There are different types of carpet beetles, but most larvae look the same. They are worm-like creatures with colorful bodies. Larvae can have shades of white, light brown and dark brown. However, they all have spiky hairs that feel sharp and annoying when you touch them.
Adult carpet beetles have a little more variety. There are four main types.
common and black carpet beetle
The black carpet beetle and the common carpet beetle are quite similar. They are oval in shape and about half an inch long. They are solid black in color and have six small brown legs.
variegated carpet beetle
Another common species is the variegated carpet beetle. These beetles are only about 3.5mm long. However, they have scaly bodies covered in brown, yellow, and white spots.
furniture carpet beetle
Finally, there is the furniture rug beetle. It resembles the variegated species. However, the body is black with a mottled pattern of yellow and white.
Signs that you have an infestation
Do you think you have a carpet beetle infestation that you need to get rid of? There are many ways to find out for sure. Although carpet beetles are quite inconspicuous, they do leave some telltale signs of their presence!
Here are some of the most obvious ones.
Live beetles or larvae
The most obvious sign that you need to get rid of carpet beetles is catching them in the act! As mentioned above, the larvae have a hole-like appearance. They look like tiny furry worms that burrow their way through any natural tissue they can reach.
You can usually find them on the edges of your rug or carpet. It's the easiest access point, but you may also see them on baseboards, upholstered furniture, or even hanging clothes.
Short tip:These pests can appear almost anywhere. They are sensitive to light, so you're more likely to find them in dark parts of the house. If you are looking for physical evidence, focus your search on cabinets, under furniture and drawers.
Don't forget to watch out for adults too. The suckers might be the ones to ruin your fabrics, but the adults can be here too.
Adult beetles spend most of their time foraging outdoors. However, they come in to lay their eggs. Look around the openings to spot them.
You may see them on window sills, around baseboards near exterior doors, or on window bars. Sometimes they also appear in your kitchen. If you have fresh flowers at home, don't be surprised if you see them eating this treat nearby!
Carpet beetle eggs are tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye. That means you can still spot them with a magnifying glass if you know what they look like.
The eggs are oval and less than a millimeter long. They are off-white or off-white in color, so they stand out against darker surfaces.
Where do carpet beetles like to lay their eggs? They prefer any place that is dark and out of sight.
Look in all the dark places we discussed above. Under furniture, in closets and along baseboards are the most common nesting sites. These pests can also lay their eggs in curtains, small structural cracks, or in dusty windows and shelves!
Short tip:Interestingly, they also like to hijack other nests. These insects are known to lay their eggs in the nests of birds and insects.
It's easier to look for large groups of eggs. Some species of carpet beetles can lay over 100 eggs at a time. Adult bugs don't live that long, so try to lay as many eggs as possible!
discard body parts
Carpet beetle larvae molt several times before pupating and progressing to adulthood. If you see little bits of shed skin here and there, you could be dealing with growing carpet beetle larvae!
Skinned skin may appear hole. This characteristic bristly hair is a natural form of protection that prevents the larvae from being eaten by predators. They remain prickly even after molting, so it's not uncommon to see them intact.
Carpet beetle droppings are small and shaped like spherical granules.It usually takes on a similar color to what the larvae ate.If they ate a colored piece of cloth, you might see similar coloring in their droppings.
Although small, the feces are quite distinguishable from dirt and other common household debris. In addition, it is often located near the source!
Damaged fabrics and furniture
This is often one of the first signs of trouble that homeowners notice and often motivates them to get rid of carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles can severely damage natural fibers. Don't be fooled by its small size!These pests make quick work of any piece of fabric or upholstery they can get their hands on.
Short tip:Unlike moths, carpet beetle larvae do not feed sporadically. They methodically chew the material until they dig large holes.
These creatures don't discriminate either! In addition to clothing, carpets and furniture upholstery, they can also eat paper products. Books, photographs and paintings are all at risk. Helittle brown bugshe will also eat real food when it is more available. So grains, dog food, potpourri and more are on the table.
If you find any damaged items, look for additional signs in the area. You will likely see feces or dandruff nearby to confirm your theory.
How to Kill and Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
If you spot signs of a carpet beetle infestation, don't hesitate to get rid of them. Although they don't carry diseases like cockroaches do, these insects can wreak havoc! Furthermore, their numbers will continue to multiply until you have a sizable carpet beetle population to deal with!
Fortunately, getting rid of carpet beetles is not that difficult if you have the right tools and preparation!
1. Deep vacuum
When it comes to getting rid of carpet beetles, the first thing you should do is vacuum your home. Don't just focus on carpets and rugs! Learn about all those dark places where carpet beetles can hide.
Take your vacuum into the closet, dig deep to get under furniture, and hit every overlooked corner!
Your vacuum will do a lot of heavy lifting. Strong vacuuming is a surprisingly efficient way to kill and get rid of carpet beetle larvae.
Short tip:After each session, empty the contents of the vacuum into a garbage bag and seal tightly. The last thing you want is to give bugs an escape route!
We recommend vacuuming daily until the infestation is gone. This way you can collect new eggs and bugs that you missed.
2. Wash all fabrics over high heat
Then wash all fabrics in your home at a high temperature. You need water hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill carpet beetles and their larvae. Most washers and dryers easily meet this requirement.
Wash everything in your home, but pay special attention to items that were close to the signs of trouble. Treat your clothes, bedding, towels and everything in between. Although carpet beetles target natural fibers filled with keratin, we recommend treating synthetic items just to be safe.
Short tip:If you discover useless items full of holes, it's probably better to toss them in the trash rather than tossing them in the laundry room. However, make sure you do it safely. Place items you wish to throw away in a resealable bag before throwing them away.
3. Do a steam cleaning
Steam cleaners are a fantastic tool for getting rid of carpet beetles. They harbor the powers of moisture and intense heat to eradicate these stubborn pests.
It's best to steam clean after vacuuming.Go through the same areas with high temperature steam settings. Steam kills and removes adult beetles and larvae. Hot fumes can also loosen any pests trapped in the carpet fibers.
Be sure to follow the instructions so your machine is safe. Before cleaning, do some research on your fabrics. Some materials have heat limitations that you don't want to exceed.
4. Treat with an insecticide
At this point, it's time to apply an insecticide if you really want to get rid of carpet beetles.
There are many commercial insecticidal products that are commercially available and are a very effective treatment against carpet beetles. Choose ones that work well for these hard-shelled insects.
Insecticides can kill carpet beetles instantly or disrupt the growth cycle. For example, growth regulators prevent carpet beetle eggs from hatching. In return, the population stops increasing.
Short tip:As always, carefully follow all insecticide instructions and apply the solution in a well-ventilated area.
If you don't like chemical solutions, there are natural options that can still help you get rid of carpet beetles. Diatomaceous earth works well to dehydrate and suffocate these creatures. You can also use a vinegar mixture to remove food particles that attract bugs.
5. Apply boric acid
Boric acid is a great comprehensive pesticide. It kills carpet beetles by eroding their exoskeletons, poisoning their stomachs and slowing their metabolism. The powdery substance kills the beetle at almost all stages of life.
You can use boric acid as the final killing step, as it can kill any remaining beetles and grubs.
Sprinkle boric acid on the affected area and leave it for a few hours. Then aspire. As always, dispose of the contents of the vacuum in a sealed plastic bag.
6. Place sticky traps
For peace of mind, consider placing some sticky traps around your home to get rid of carpet beetles and prevent an infestation. Place them in the places where you found these insects. You can also place a pair in the closet or near the baseboards.
Sticky traps physically prevent carpet beetles from moving. They eventually starve and die in the trap.
Traps are a great way to monitor the situation. Watch out what's stuck! If you detect more carpet beetles, you can repeat the extermination steps until they are gone for good.
This will prevent future carpet beetle infestations.
Even after getting rid of carpet beetles in your home, there's a chance they'll come back. When it comes to pest infestations, you need to be proactive. Otherwise, it could be a chronic problem in the future.
The good news is that you can avoid future problems by making a few changes.
FStart by moving pollinating plants away from doors and windows.Remember that adult beetles eat nectar and pollen before going inside to lay eggs. By keeping pollinating plants away, carpet beetles are less likely to think about entering your home.
Don't forget to also remove nearby bird and insect nests. Carpet beetles will use these to increase their numbers before they move into your home.
After that, consider applying an external insecticide that targets carpet beetles.Focus the application on your home's foundation and work your way out. The best technique is to treat the floor two to three feet from the perimeter.
Also pay special attention to dirt around the front doors and windows.
Speaking of which, you need to make sure all entry points are solid. Repair of broken screens and plug or crack seals. Carpet beetles can sneak into small nooks and crannies, so seal everything up.
It is advisable to vacuum and steam clean the interior regularly. This will ingest anything that attracts these bugs and eradicate small populations once they appear. Absorbs any inconspicuous stains and glides under all furniture.
As a preventive measure, you can also sprinkle boric acid from time to time.
Short tip:Do you have clothes or bedding that you need to store? Pack them tightly in plastic bags or containers. Fully sealed vacuum bags are best as carpet beetles cannot cut through the plastic to get to your items!
Once you know how to get rid of carpet beetles, you need to stop scaring these little creatures. Yes, they can be a big pain. But at the end of the day you know how to handle it.
If you have any questions about how to kill or remove carpet beetles that we haven't covered in this guide, please let us know. We love working with our readers and helping them deal with their pest problems!