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How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

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Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 04/19/2024

Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects that range in color from black to brownish-orange. These insects are attracted to light sources and can fly into your home through windows, doors, and small cracks. Once inside, carpet beetles can reproduce and then wreak havoc on carpets as well as silk, wool, and leather.

While getting rid of a few beetles may seem simple, spotting just one carpet beetle can suggest an infestation in your home. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to get rid of carpet beetles and what you can do to prevent a future infestation.

We’ll also recommend some top pest control companies that can help you eliminate carpet beetles and other pests in your home.

Types of Carpet Beetles

The term “carpet beetle” refers to several different species of beetle. Here are four common types of carpet beetles and how to identify them.

Reaching sizes of around 3.5 millimeters (0.14 inches), the varied carpet beetle is identified through its round shape and fine scales that are speckled in brown, yellow, and white.
This large carpet beetle can reach a size of up to 6 millimeters and can feature a red, brown, or black shell. This species typically has a distinctive white patch on both of its wings.
This species of carpet beetle is similar to the varied carpet beetle in size and color, though it’s typically covered in yellow scales with long hair-like protrusions.
This type of beetle reaches sizes of no more than 5 millimeters, has a hard black shell, and lives for just a few weeks.

How To Identify a Carpet Beetle Infestation

Carpet beetles are very small, making them difficult to spot on carpet and fabrics throughout your home. Although they’re difficult to see, the damage and evidence they leave behind is obvious. All species feed on animal-based materials like wool, fur, leather, and feathers. They may also infest cotton and synthetic fabrics that are blended with wool.

Here are a few signs that you have a carpet beetle infestation:

  • Bare spots in wool clothing, blankets, and rugs
  • Larvae skins scattered under rugs, near furniture, or around pet hair and lint
  • Bald areas in fur coats or taxidermied animals
  • Tiny black or brown droppings below your wardrobe or near the base of your furniture

Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

As the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology points out, adult carpet beetles don’t actually damage fabric—the larvae do. However, to completely eradicate a carpet beetle infestation, you’ll need to remove adult beetles, larvae, and eggs. This can be done through a variety of DIY methods.

  • Boric acid: Found as a powder in many supermarkets, boric acid can be sprinkled on an infested carpet, left to sit for a few hours, and then vacuumed back up. While poisonous to humans only if ingested in large quantities, boric acid may not be a viable treatment option for pet owners. Note that pure boric acid, rather than borax, will be the more effective insecticide.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This natural product is found online and in agricultural stores. It works by dehydrating carpet beetle larvae when sprinkled on carpet in a similar manner as boric acid. Be sure to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth for use around the house.
  • Insecticide: Treat areas of infestation with an insecticide that contains deltamethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the packaging to ensure the safety of family members and pets inside your home.
  • Natural repellents: Some sources claim substances like white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and certain essential oils will repel carpet beetles. There’s little evidence for this, and repelling beetle larvae won’t kill them. Most of these substances are not harmful to humans as long as you handle them carefully, but some essential oils can cause irritation or harm pets, so use them with caution.
  • Vacuuming and steam cleaning: Use a vacuum to suck up carpet beetles and surrounding larvae. If you need a bit more power, using a steam cleaner is an effective option that combines heat and suction to kill carpet beetles.

Note that the source of the infestation may be a piece of clothing rather than the carpet itself. Check stored, seldom-used clothing, blankets, and rugs for infestation and clean these items thoroughly.

Like any DIY pest treatment, these methods may only be temporary solutions. If you use a DIY carpet beetle removal method in your home and the problem persists, contact a professional. A top pest control company will diagnose your specific infestation and create an effective treatment plan accordingly, helping you rid your home of pests.

Prevent Carpet Beetles from Returning

The best way to avoid the damage caused by carpet beetles is to prevent them from infesting your home in the first place. You can do this by making your home less hospitable to carpet beetles and their larvae.

  • Vacuum and steam clean your carpets regularly, removing food sources like lint and hair.
  • Keep cabinets clean and food sealed in airtight containers.
  • Seal obvious cracks and crevices in your windows and doors.
  • Transfer bird nests away from your door or window to a different location, as birds can be a vessel for carpet beetles to travel from place to place.
  • Wash or dry-clean wool or fur garments before storing them for long periods of time. Seal them in tight-fitting plastic bags or other containers.

Another effective preventative measure is scheduling regular treatments with a pest control company. These professionals will address a variety of pest issues, including carpet beetles, and prevent future infestations. We recommend both Terminix and Orkin for their comprehensive pest control services. Get a free Terminix quote by filling out this online form or calling 866-569-4035; contact Orkin by calling 877-868-1416 or filling out this quick form.

FAQ About Carpet Beetles

Are carpet beetles dangerous?

No. Unlike some pests, carpet beetles don’t harm people or pets. However, they can cause costly damage to carpets, wool clothes, leather, and other animal-based fibers and materials.

How many carpet beetles is a cause for concern?

Although you may see just one or two carpet beetles in your home, it’s likely there are more around. Adult carpet beetles lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time in dark areas, and the larvae will begin to cause damage as soon as they hatch. This makes it important to address carpet beetle infestations as soon as they are spotted.

Do carpet beetles live in beds?

While carpet beetles might be attracted to the fabric in your bed, they don’t live in your mattresses like bed bugs.

How long does it take to get rid of carpet beetles?

It depends on the treatment. Some DIY options eliminate infestations in a few days, while others may take weeks to completely resolve the issue. If you’re treating a carpet beetle infestation on your own and don’t notice a decrease in the amount of bugs, you should contact a pest control professional.

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