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How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
April 11, 2024

Carpet beetles are small oval-shaped insects, usually no larger than a ladybug. Despite their name, they attack almost all organic materials and natural fabrics, including clothes, blankets, animal furs, wool rugs and carpets.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to get rid of carpet beetles because once they are in your home, they lay eggs on any available surface that is suitable for them. The eggs themselves are invisible to the naked eye and they hatch carpet beetle larvae that are the culprit of damage to natural fibres in your carpets, upholstery, curtains and more.

To prevent carpet beetles from forming infested areas, you need to get rid of adult carpet beetles. Unlike their larvae, adult beetles are harmless, but you have to remove them to prevent future infestations.

How we can help with your carpet beetle infestation

One of the best ways to get rid of carpet beetles involves steam carpet cleaning, otherwise known as hot water extraction. If you are worried about residual insecticide and side effects from the treatment against a carpet beetle infestation, we bring a safe and effective method to solve the issue. Steam cleaning is a great way to remove unwanted bed bugs and carpet beetles from carpeting, rugs and upholstery. The temperature alone eliminates furniture carpet beetles, their eggs and larvae.

This cleaning method kills off any varied carpet beetle on the surface, removing deeply ingrained residue and refreshing the whole area at the same time. Carpet beetles lay eggs deep within the natural fibres of carpeting and rugs, which even a nozzle vacuum cleaner may not have access to. Hot water extraction fixes this by removing carpet beetle eggs with ease, along with food stains and embedded dirt. It is one of the best forms of pest control available.

How to get rid of varied carpet beetles?

Now that you know more about the varied carpet beetle, it is time to find out some effective ways to get rid of carpet beetles. Follow these steps if you want to find out how to get rid of carpet beetles in the most efficient manner:

1. Find the source of beetles

Before you eliminate carpet beetles, you have to find where they are or at least where they are most active. Most of the time adult carpet beetles tend to stick close to their food source. This means underneath heavy furniture pieces, especially in carpeted areas; inside food cabinets and drawers and at the edge of a carpet or rug. If you locate damage on upholstered furniture and carpets, it is likely the beetles are close by.

2. Vacuum the area

When you locate the pest infestation of tiny beetles, the easiest immediate form of control you can exercise is through vacuuming the area. A good enough vacuum cleaner can remove beetles from affected surfaces, as well as their eggs, larvae and any dead insects. Move on to vacuuming the sofa and any other upholstered furniture around the area. Use vacuum attachments for hard-to-reach areas. It is best to vacuum daily until the infestation is gone. After that, regular vacuuming will ensure you have less trouble with all sorts of bed bugs and carpet beetles.

3. Apply boric acid powder

Many insects die when they come into contact with boric acid and carpet beetles are no exception. Sprinkle the product all over the affected area and within a good radius of it. This will quickly kill carpet beetles, along with their eggs and larvae. If you have any pets around, you should remove them from the area. The product may cause some unwanted effects in them so it is best to keep them away until it is fully cleaned. You can find boric acid in the laundry aisle of the grocery store, as well as some pharmacies.

4. Wash it all

Washable covers and fabrics should be washed in hot water. This means clothing, bedding, cushion covers, towels and curtains. Check the label on each of these items and set the highest recommended temperature. As for carpets and rugs, it is best practice to shampoo them or steam clean them after you have removed the beetles. That way you will be sure the infestation is gone.

5. Toss out infested food

If you find carpet beetles in your food supplies, toss out the food that shows any signs of infestation. Do the same for foods you suspect might be attracting the insects.

6. Opt for natural remedies

If you are not sold on the idea of calling pest control and you wish to deal with the problem with some natural solutions, you can start with diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle the infested area and wait for an hour. It will kill off the larvae in no time. Just make sure you go with food-grade diatomaceous earth to ensure your safety and that of your pets. You can find it in agricultural feed stores.

Another solution is apple cider vinegar. Mix one part water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Apply the product over the infested area and wait 30 minutes. You should then vacuum the area to remove the residue.

Got a moth problem with your carpets? You may be interested in reading our guide on how to get rid of carpet moths.

How to identify carpet beetles and carpet beetle larvae?

Carpet beetle larvae are also referred to as woolly bear larvae. They are banded in appearance and have very short bristles reaching up to 5mm. They are very similar to small caterpillars. Once woolly bears mature, they develop oval-shaped bodies and antennae.

The carpet beetle comes in a few different kinds. The varied carpet beetle comes in a combination of colours: black, orange or white speckled appearance. They are 2 to 4 mm long. There is also the black carpet beetle, which only has one solid colour - black. They are probably the largest of all carpet beetles, reaching up to 1cm in length.

If you notice carpet beetles easily, it is probably the black carpet beetles as they are more shiny. There is also the furniture carpet beetle, which is a cousin to the varied carpet beetle. Their shell is easily distinguishable with black and white markings.

All of these carpet beetles will eat almost anything, but some of them have preferences. Furniture and varied adult carpet beetles feed on natural fibres like leather and wool. Black carpet beetles on the other hand feast on food items like cereal, pet food and oats. It is important to remember what the common household pests like to feed on because that way you will know where to look for them.

How do carpet beetles enter your home?

Being the small insects that they are, carpet beetles don't have much trouble finding their way into your home. Sometimes you can bring in carpet beetles via freshly cut flowers and other plants you bring inside. Of course, carpet beetles fly and can freely enter your home through open windows, doors and air vents. Some carpet beetles can also cling to pet hair and your clothing only to be brought inside undetected. If your home has any sort of opening, such as a chimney, electrical conduits or vents.

Once inside your home, carpet beetles infest furniture, carpets and rugs alike. Many of these insects dwell near dried foods (including pet food) and potpourri. If you are a hunter and have mounted trophies, carpet beetles may hide within their fur.

Signs there are carpet beetles in your home

Carpet beetles live outdoors. That is where they breed and feed on nectar, flower pollen and other plant components. However, they are easily attracted by light sources and foods indoors. When they find the overabundance of food in human habitats, they move in. Coupled with the lack of adverse weather conditions and lack of natural predators, carpet beetles can make themselves comfortable inside.

What are the signs of a carpet beetle infestation to look for? Here are some of the most obvious things:

  • There are holes and bald patches in carpets and rugs with natural fibres.
  • Damage to animal hides, feathers and furs.
  • Holes and other kind of damage in leather furniture.
  • Damaged book covers, photographs and other paper-based items.
  • Shed skins left from carpet beetle larvae transforming into adults.

If you notice some of these signs, you should do further research and observations around your home. If it's the case you are dealing with rampant carpet beetles, you should act quickly. If you still can not find carpet beetles, it is best to contact a licensed pest control expert.

How can you prevent carpet beetles?

The best form of pest control is prevention, i.e. when you don't need to worry about carpet beetles in the first place. There are a few things you can do to reduce the chance of infestation at home.

Vacuum regularly

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to stay on top of your vacuum cleaning. Not only does it reduce the chance of carpet beetle eggs making it to the next stage of their life cycle, but you also keep the carpet and rugs of your home clean and free of pollutants.

Open your closet for a few hours each day

Carpet beetles prefer dark places to hide. Opening your closet and wardrobe to natural light for a few hours each day can discourage the insects from setting up their colony inside. As for clothes, make sure you pack them away in airtight containers for the season as a barrier to unwanted guests.

Replace the various organic materials with synthetic fibres

Since carpet beetles and other insects feed on fabrics made out of natural materials, you can reduce the chance of getting these unwanted guests in your home by replacing said fabrics with synthetics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What instantly kills carpet beetles?

Carpet beetles are vulnerable to sudden changes in the environment. You can put infested pieces of clothing and covers in the fridge and essentially freeze carpet beetles. The insects will die of shock. You can also apply ice cubes in a bag to areas of infestation.

Can you get an allergic reaction to carpet beetles?

It is quite likely to get various forms of skin irritation from carpet beetle larvae. The small hairs on them act as irritants, which can cause rashes and the urge to scratch the affected area of the skin.

Can you completely get rid of carpet beetles?

You can remove carpet beetles by intensive cleaning and application of specialised products around the infested areas. You can also consult with a pest control professional for further aid.

What scent keeps carpet beetles away?

Essential oils act as natural deterrents to all kinds of insects, including carpet beetles. You can dilute peppermint oil and olive oil with water and spray the areas you suspect of beetle activity.

Image Credit: André Karwath aka Aka, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

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