If carpet beetles have invaded your home, you already know how challenging it is to manage them. Although they commonly take up space in residential homes, you can also find them in museums or any other location with edible food. If you suspect these infiltrators have invaded your home, you’ll want to know how to manage them.
Carpet beetles are insects that lay eggs in fibrous material, such as carpeting, allowing their larvae to feed on it. These pests are oval-shaped and about 1/8 inch long, but their color varies based on the species and their age. So, once they’re inside your house, what can you do to get rid of them?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about carpet beetles and walk you through two different processes of removing carpet beetles from your home to make sure they stay gone for good.
How Do Carpet Beetles Get Inside Your Home?
Carpet beetles enter your home by flying through open doors and windows. Once inside, they lay eggs on clothing, rugs, furniture, and carpeting.
Three of the most common carpet beetles found in the United States include:
- The common carpet beetle (also called the buffalo carpet beetle)
- Black carpet beetles
- Varied carpet beetles
Adult carpet beetles don’t find their food on the fabric. Instead, they look for food in dark, remote places before laying their eggs. As a result, many carpet beetle infestations begin in the attic.
What Kind of Damage Do Carpet Beetles Create?
Carpet beetle larvae eat a variety of items, including fur, silk, wool, and feathers. This means you may find damage to any furniture and clothing. However, they also like to eat synthetic fibers with sweat, oil, and food stains. Very few fabrics in your home are safe once these critters have found their way inside.
Signs You Have a Carpet Beetle Infestation
If you think you have an infestation, it’s always best to call a professional exterminator who will complete a thorough inspection. However, you can be on the lookout for these signs of carpet beetles in your home, so you know when to call:
- Holes in your clothing
- Damage to materials like silk, feathers, and leather
- Small droppings about the size of table salt
- Carpet beetle larvae skin (translucent with a yellow or brown color)
As the larvae turn into adults, they begin making their way outdoors to find mates. They start moving towards the light, so if a beetle is present, you’ll see it on the walls or window sills where the sun shines throughout your home.
Why Carpet Beetles Are Challenging to Get Rid of
Carpet beetles are challenging to manage for several reasons. To begin with, they tuck themselves into small areas, but it’s usually multiple places within your home. You must treat everything, or you’ll miss a crucial spot, allowing these pests to continue thriving.
Unlike other pests, such as roaches or ants, carpet beetles like to feed and nest in hidden areas. You may find carpet beetles hiding out in places like:
- Under the baseboards
- Under the edges of carpeting
- In upholstered furniture
- Around door frames
- In carpets, rugs, or other soft materials
Their habits make them challenging to locate, and only when you find the damage they created are you alerted to an infestation.
The life cycle of the carpet beetle gives them a built-in defense mechanism against most treatments. It’s easy to kill larvae and adults, but the eggs and pupae are a different story.
When you treat your home, you’ll likely kill any active adults and larvae, but eggs and pupae can remain dormant and growing for long periods. Because of this, initial treatments don’t work because their effectiveness wears off, allowing the infestation to re-establish.
You can prevent this re-establishment by treating your home at least once a month for three consecutive months.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
Once you know you have a carpet beetle infestation, you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as possible. You can do this with non-chemical or chemical treatments.
Option 1: Non-Chemical Treatment
For any treatment to be effective, you must keep your house clean. To get rid of carpet beetles, begin by vacuuming all carpeting, upholstered furniture, and anything else covered with fabric. Follow this process daily for a minimum of one week. If your carpet and upholstery are severely infected, it’s recommended to steam clean these items.
After thoroughly vacuuming, use a steam cleaner to go over the same areas. The combination of heat and moisture removes any remaining carpet beetle eggs and will kill carpet beetles.
Wash all pillows and clothing with hot water and detergent. However, throwing out any infested clothing will make it easier to eradicate the infestation. Place any unwanted items in plastic bags and put them in a garbage can with a lid.
Wipe and spray any surfaces with white or apple cider vinegar and water. Apply it to shelving, drawers, hangers, window sills, and cupboards. This step removes any dirt or food residue.
Another quick and effective method for removing carpet beetles from your home is by pulling up the carpet. With fewer places to hide, the carpet beetles may be seen easier, allowing you to find their other hiding places.
Option 2: Chemical Treatment
Keeping a clean home is the most efficient way to manage carpet beetles, but sometimes you must chemically treat infested areas that you can’t wash. When researching insecticides, always look for a product that identifies carpet beetles as one of its targets.
You can spot-treat specific areas but limit spraying to underneath furniture, floor edges, and rugs. Insecticide sprays are also helpful for closet walls and shelving where you’ve found infested fabrics. Avoid using insecticides on your bedding or clothing.
Another standard chemical treatment for getting rid of carpet beetles is boric acid. This treatment works well in attics and other unreachable areas.
Like any DIY solution, this may be a temporary fix for your infestation. Extensive problems require the expertise of an experienced exterminator. A top-rated pest control company will assess your home and create an effective treatment plan to target the specific beetles invading your space.
Things to Consider Before Treating Your Home for Carpet Beetles
When treating carpet beetles, there are a few things to consider. For instance, it’s not an emergency infestation if you find a few adult beetles; however, finding larvae on household fabrics is a cause for concern.
Never use insecticides close to an open flame or electrical circuit. It’s also best to avoid spraying on tile flooring or asphalt. Spray a test spot if you have linoleum floors to see if it’ll stain.
How to Prevent Carpet Beetle Infestations
After removing carpet beetles from your house, you must take the necessary steps to prevent another infestation. Start by getting rid of any carpet beetle food sources, remember to vacuum often, and occasionally sprinkle boric acid or other insecticides throughout the carpet. This will keep the pests from returning.
Since carpet beetles love clothing and fabric, consider keeping cedar or mothballs where you store boxes or bags.
But let’s not forget about the exterior of your home. Apply a carpet beetle insecticide around the outside of your house, including the foundation of your home, and extend outward two to three feet. Spray the insecticide on any potential entry points, like windows and utility pipes.
If you notice any bird or insect nests near your home, remove them. These are common places for carpet beetles to lay their eggs. Don’t forget to repair any screens. Carpet beetles are small and can climb through most holes.
Deterring Carpet Beetles from Coming into Your Home
Cleaning will always be the best defense you have against carpet beetles, whether that involves regular vacuuming, trash removal, or regularly washing your clothes. These clean areas will make your home less inviting to this intruder.
Create barriers to block carpet beetles by following these steps:
- Store linens and clothing in plastic containers
- Keep drawers and closets open to natural lighting
- Don’t buy rugs, carpets, or furniture with natural fibers
Remain on alert for any other household infiltrator.
Will Vacuuming Alone Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?
Although vacuuming is one of the most effective methods of removing carpet beetles, it works best when combined with other methods. Using a steam cleaner in the same area where you ran the vacuum will further reduce the pests from your home.
Does Anything Repel Carpet Beetles?
Adult carpet beetles often follow the smell of other animal products you’ve taken into your home. You can cover up these smells and repel carpet beetles using:
- Clove oil
- Neem oil
- Peppermint oil
- Cedar oil
- Lavender oil
- Eucalyptus oil
Many plants have natural insecticides, which makes them great for keeping insects away!
How Long Do Carpet Beetles Stay Around?
Depending on the species, adult carpet beetles can live up to 8 weeks, with females laying up to 100 or more eggs during their short life.
Don’t Let Carpet Beetles Pester Your Family
You don’t have to allow carpet beetles to live with you. Hire an experienced pest control technician to complete future investigations of your infestation. They’ll create a custom treatment plan to remove these and other critters from your home.
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