Carpet beetles destroy carpets, upholstery, and other materials in the home. They infest house wool, feathers, or fur. Once the infestation worsens, carpet beetles are difficult to eradicate.
There are remedies that make carpet beetles easy to eliminate and prevent. While not foolproof, they help control carpet beetles and protect fabrics from damage.
What Are Carpet Beetles?
Carpet beetles are small oval-shaped insects that dwell and lay eggs on carpet fibers. They thrive in natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool, and fur. Carpet beetle larvae feed on keratin, a fibrous animal protein in carpets. The larvae leave thin hairs on the carpet, which causes skin irritation and hives.
Common Types of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles vary in color, ranging from black to white, yellow, orange, and brown.
- Black Carpet Beetle: Black carpet beetles consume wool and fur fabrics and leave bare spots on the carpet. While the larvae have white or brown bodies, they darken with age. Black beetles grow up to 5mm long.
- Furniture Carpet Beetle: These are round carpet beetles with black, yellow, and white spots on their backs. They thrive in warm climates and grow up to 3.5 mm long.
- Varied Carpet Beetle: They’re black beetles with irregular yellow, brown, or white patterns on their backs. Older adults have a solid brown or black color. Larvae feed on silk, fur, and woolen carpets and rugs. Unlike other beetle larvae, they are wider in the back and narrower in front.
- Museum Carpet Beetle: Female museum beetles lay eggs on wool fiber carpets. Their larvae are hairy, with three pairs of antennae on their hind end. Adults have black bodies with yellow spots and measure 2-4 mm.
- Fur Carpet Beetle: The fur beetle is round-shaped and dark brown. Its back has a wave-like pattern, distinguishing the fur beetle from other beetles. Fur beetles grow up to 5mm long.
How to Identify Carpet Beetles
Here’s what to look for if you think you have carpet beetles:
- Look for tiny, black, brown, or mixed beetles that are round or oval. Carpet beetles are 1/16–1/8 inches long.
- Carpet beetles infest carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Look for shed skins or larval cases.
- Find tiny, round holes in the carpet and beetle-damaged fabrics.
- The presence of small, black fecal pellets
- Adult carpet beetles prefer light, so look for their presence near windows.
- Carpet beetle larvae are small, white, six-legged grubs with brown heads. These larvae often eat wool, feathers, and fur.
Consult a pest control professional if you’re unsure whether it’s a carpet beetle infestation. Hiring a professional is worth it if the infestation is challenging to manage.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
1. Identify the Infested Areas
Check for damaged areas under carpets, rugs, and secluded areas in the house. Signs of beetle larvae include holes and damage to the carpet fibers. Inspect items made from natural fibers like wool, cotton, fur, and silk. While some varieties of larvae are smooth and shiny, some have hairy backs.
2. Vacuum Quite Often
Carpet beetle larvae feed on dead insects, skin, hair, and dirt on the carpet. Vacuum the infested areas and the entire house to end larvae and dirt. Vacuum damaged furniture around cracks and near the skirting boards.
3. Use a Steam Cleaner on Carpets and Upholstery
Steam cleaning carpets, sofas, chairs, and other furniture removes carpet beetle larvae. The heat and steam kill the larvae and eggs, then sucks them up. Steam cleaning also keeps the surfaces clean, which prevents future infestation.
4. Wash or Dry Clean Clothing and Linens
Carpet beetles also feed on cotton and wool clothing, leaving holes behind. Throw away all damaged clothes to prevent further damage to other garments. Wash all other clothing and linens using a detergent and hot water to kill the larvae.
5. Use Insecticides or Pest Control Measures
Carpet beetle extermination is done using insecticides. Check that the insecticide is labeled to control carpet beetles and bugs. Always wear protective clothing and gloves when using insecticides. Spray the insecticide on the affected furniture, walls, carpets, and floors. Leave the room for at least 2-4 hours after spraying.
6. Seal Any Cracks or Openings to Prevent Re-Infestation
Seal cracks around windows and door frames to prevent carpet beetle adults from flying into the house. Also, repair any holes in the house’s window screens, cracks, and crevices. It reduces the likelihood of carpet beetles laying eggs on carpets and other fabrics.
7. Store Natural Fibers and Furs in Airtight Containers
Natural fiber carpets and furs are breeding grounds for carpet beetles. It’s ideal to use synthetic carpets instead of natural fiber carpets. Use moth balls or crystals in storage containers to protect clothing from beetles. Clean and air out the airtight containers often.
8. Use Protective Covers on Furniture and Carpets
Synthetic furniture covers protect leather, silk, and woolen furniture from pest damage. They create entry barriers and also shield the furniture from soiling. Plastic carpet covers are easy to install and clean. They help protect against carpet beetle infestation, liquid spills, and dirt.
9. Keep a Clean and Organized Home Environment
Maintaining a clean indoor environment eliminates carpet beetles. Carpet beetles feed on soiled fabric and dry foodstuffs like grains and flour. Store food in airtight containers and keep the pantry clean. Carpet pest control techniques include frequent cleaning. Inspect plants and other items before bringing them inside.
10. Consult a Professional Pest Control Service
Professional pest control services are ideal for severe infestation. They use beetle traps and strong insecticides to end beetles and their larvae. Professional carpet beetle treatment is a viable option for indoor and outdoor infestation. It also prevents re-infestation.
11. Use Natural Remedies
Natural remedies like boric acid and vinegar also help kill carpet beetles. Spray a mixture of boric acid and water on secluded corners and hard-to-reach areas. Wiping down all home surfaces using vinegar or baking soda cleans any dirt the carpet beetle larva may feed on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How do carpet beetles get into my home?
Carpet beetles fly into the house through cracks and crevices in windows and doors. Light and pollen in indoor flowers attract insects. Female carpet beetles lay eggs on carpets and natural fibers, which the larva feed on.
Do carpet beetles indicate that a house is dirty?
Carpet beetle infestation is a sign of dirty and unvacuumed floors. Dirty carpets and clothes are ideal breeding grounds for carpet beetles. They also thrive in dark areas, basements, cracks, and messy kitchens.
What season are carpet beetles most active?
Adult carpet beetles emerge during the summer and spring to feed on pollen and nectar. The females also lay their eggs during the warm months. They appear as black dots on window sills, and some fly around the house.
Are carpet beetles harmful to humans?
Carpet beetles don’t bite or cause any harm to human beings and pets. But, their hairs cause allergic reactions and large welts on sensitive skin. Carpet beetles also damage carpets, clothes, furniture, and dry foodstuffs in the house.
How do carpet beetles spread?
Adult carpet beetles fly into the house through window sills and cracks in the door or walls. Females lay 60-100 eggs on carpets and furniture, which hatch in 9-16 days. They thrive in dark and dirty areas.