No one wants to deal with an insect infestation, so let’s explore how to get rid of carpet beetles and prevent them from coming back. The carpet in your family room or other living spaces should be soft and clean. The thought of tiny beetles lurking about where you play with your children and pets is very disconcerting. These pests are known for infesting areas where you walk with bare feet or snuggle up with a blanket. Even though carpet beetles won’t bite, having their presence in your carpet, furniture, and bedding is nothing short of frightening.
What are carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles are pretty much just what they sound like. They are tiny beetles that feed on fabric, grain, and animal products. Carpet beetles lay their eggs in fibrous material such as carpet, rugs, furniture, and clothing. This surrounds the newly hatched larvae with an immediate food supply. Their bodies are oval-shaped and are typically black, white, and yellow in color. There are numerous different species of carpet beetles, each with their own distinct shape and color. With that said, most species measure 1 to 4 mm in length in adulthood.
What do carpet beetles look like?
Carpet beetle larvae have distinct golden hairs on their abdomen and are usually slightly larger than adult beetles, measuring approximately 2.5 cm in length. The larvae cause most of the damaging feeding we associate with these pests. The developing larvae leave behind their shed skin, otherwise known as molting. Adult beetles seek out flower nectar instead of fabric or other fibrous materials.
The most common species of carpet beetles you’ll come across are the black carpet beetle and the brown carpet beetle.
Black Carpet Beetle
(Attagenus unicolor)- This is the most common and also the most destructive of all the carpet beetle species in the United States. It’s known for damaging household products containing keratin which is a protein found in animal hair. Dead and dried-up insects are also at the top of their menu. Humidity plays a large part in their development. In states with higher levels of humidity, the beetle’s eggs may become moldy while the states with lower humidity offer a more favorable climate for reproduction.
Brown Carpet Beetle
(Attagenus smirnovi)- Like most other carpet beetles, they eat the remains of plants and animals. Brown carpet beetles are originally tropical insects and grow best in hot climates. If you have these in your home, you’ll find them on your window sills where they are close to the light. It can take around six months for them to fully mature and usually reach the length of 8 mm.
What causes carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles may enter your home inadvertently, searching for flower nectar or another food source. They’ll crawl through gaps in your windows or door frames, find cracks in your siding, or go through openings in utility lines. As with most bugs, beetles are more active in the warmth of the summer months which is when you’re most likely to see an infestation. Since beetles prefer dark sheltered areas to lay their hatch, many infestations occur in places you wouldn’t notice. For example, the underside of an old chair or a clothing pile in your closet.
Signs of carpet beetles
Oftentimes, a carpet beetle infestation could be right under your nose and you wouldn’t know it. It’s important to recognize the signs to look for before real damage can be done.
Damage to blankets or wool clothing-
Similar to moths, carpet beetles eat holes in blankets and clothing. While carpet beetles will chew through just about any fabric, they prefer materials that are weak, damaged, and unwashed.
Thin or bare areas in carpets or rugs-
Carpet beetles can be found on the underside of carpet or rugs where they won’t be noticed. They tend to eat slits in wool, leaving threadbare spots.
Shed larvae skins in remote areas-
Because carpet beetles shed or molt their skins several times through their growing process, they leave behind empty skin remains in areas where larvae are feeding. These skin casings are light brown in color and fairly opaque. They are often seen in the folds of clothing, under rugs, hidden under blankets, or any spot dead insects collect.
Beetles climbing up your walls toward windows-
Once an adult beetle has found their way inside, they feel the need to get back outdoors so they can mate. This instinct leads them to climb towards the light of your windows or doors. During the springtime, you may notice tiny beetles slowly making their way up your walls.
How can I prevent a carpet beetle infestation?
Cleaning up the debris that is the food source for carpet beetles is the single best way to prevent them from invading your home. Carpet beetle infestations last the longest when allowed access to constant food. Typically these food sources will be an old rug, dirty sheets, worn down carpet or furniture. Go through your storage bins or boxes and get rid of any items of that description or that could assist in carpet beetle growth. Thoroughly wash and clean all the fabrics in your home on a regular basis.
Carpet beetles consume dust, lint, hairballs, and dead insects. Be sure to regularly vacuum, sweep, and dust, especially in areas of concern. Eliminating dominant food sources is key. Your family pantry may also be a hot spot for carpet beetles. Some species may feed on dry goods such as pasta, cornmeal, flour, or pet food. Wipe down pantry shelves and keep packages sealed tight.
Some people mistakenly think their carpet beetle infestation is a bed bug problem. Both bugs are so small they are difficult to notice. But carpet beetles only damage fabric, they don’t bite humans. Both remain hidden for quite some time before being detected. And even though they can both be found in your sheets, treatments for them are very different.
How to get rid of carpet beetles
The good news is that once they’ve been identified, carpet beetles are much easier to get rid of than many other pests. Here are a few simple ways to exterminate carpet beetles:
Steam Cleaning and Vacuuming
Consistent vacuuming alone may be enough to get rid of carpet beetles. Take advantage of the unique attachments to ensure you’re getting deep into the corners where eggs may be hiding. Steam cleaning furniture and curtains will also destroy eggs.
Everyone should have a hearty supply of vinegar in their home for all its many uses. Both apple cider and white vinegar are extremely
effective against carpet beetles. Simply pour straight vinegar into a spray bottle and mist well over carpets, furniture, or blankets. If you have stored clothing or fabrics in question, run them through a load of water/vinegar solution to kill eggs or larvae.
Boric acid may sound intimidating but it only acts as a poison on insects. It would have to be consumed in very large amounts to negatively impact a human. It comes in a powder form, usually found on the laundry aisle of your local grocery store. Sprinkle it over your carpets then use a carpet rake or broom to distribute evenly. Wait several hours then vacuum thoroughly.
There are several insecticides on the market that can be used to kill carpet bugs. Just be sure the one you choose contains deltamethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin. Test out a small amount on an inconspicuous spot of your carpet to make sure it won’t stain. Follow the directions carefully and be aware of any warnings to protect children and pets.
Conclusion on How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
If natural remedies aren’t working to get rid of your carpet beetles or you have problems with any other insects, give Vinx Pest Control a call. We take home pest control very seriously. That’s why we offer a complete satisfaction guarantee. You can count on us to get the job done!