Your home may be a breeding ground for a harmless yet potentially destructive pest. Carpet beetles are less than an inch long and can be a nuisance, but it is the babies that cause the real damage. Carpet beetle larvae feast on fabric and natural fibers. You will notice signs that they are around from the damage they cause to your clothing and your rugs.
Read this guide to learn how to identify a carpet beetle presence and what to do to eliminate these annoying bugs.
How to Identify a Carpet Beetle Infestation
What are carpet beetles capable of? A great deal of damage if enough show up to create an infestation in your home.
Carpet beetles can find their way into your home through open windows and small gaps around your doors. They are attracted to light and you’ll see them flying around light sources or crawling around window sashes and doorways.
Carpet beetle larvae are light brown to black in color and covered in hairs. They favor areas in a house that have little or no light, including closets, attics, cabinets and pantries, and inside air vents and ducts.
The larvae take over a year to grow into adults. Once they mature, the carpet beetles can lay more eggs to repeat the infestation cycle.
Where Carpet Beetles Cause Damage
Carpet beetle larvae have a ravenous appetite and they can ruin your rugs and carpets, couches and chairs. They can infest the bedding you've stored in your closets and make their way to curtains and even your clothing. Bare spots in rugs, holes in clothing and small pinholes in the books of your library are sure signs that they're around in your home.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Using Chemicals
A good offense is the best defense against carpet beetles and their larvae. You can get rid of these pests through intensive and thorough cleaning and the use of insecticides for preventive insect control.
- Vacuum your carpets, floors and the areas around windowsills and doors where carpet beetles are found. Go over the vacuumed areas with a steam cleaner.
- A potent insecticide is useful in getting rid of carpet beetles and their larvae. Use one that contains deltamethrin, bifenthrin or cyfluthrin. Use the insecticide on a small area not easily visible to test whether it stains the carpet or fabric.
- Boric acid, a mild insecticide, is lethal on carpet beetles. Sprinkle a light coating on your carpets, rugs and furniture, then use a broom or brush to distribute it evenly. Leave it alone for a couple of hours, then vacuum the areas well. Make sure that children and pets do not come into contact with the areas treated with insecticide.
- Use rubbing alcohol to wipe down counters, windowsills, cupboards, shelves and drawers, as carpet beetles will not lay their eggs around alcohol. A cleaning solution of one part bleach and three parts water is also effective in killing the eggs and larvae on contact.
- The use of a flying insect fogger is good at getting rid of carpet beetles. Foggers do not affect the eggs but do target the bugs that lay them. The fogger should be a non-residual version that leaves nothing behind on furniture or carpets. Again, make sure that children and pets are not around if you do use a fogger. Keep a can of bug killer spray on hand for the ones that get away.
Carpet beetles can be persistent and removal may be hard as a DIY task. If the infestation is widespread, consider calling an exterminator that knows how to get rid of carpet beetles for the job.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Naturally
There are household friendly organic pest control methods to rid your home of carpet beetles.
- Essential oils are natural deterrents. Peppermint oil and clove oil diluted with distilled water is a cheap and natural carpet beetle killer. Spray it in areas where you suspect beetles or larvae activity. Most essential oils that deter carpet beetles do not stain and will not affect your carpets or furniture, although dark color oils like jasmine and yellowish oils like patchouli and tangerine can leave stains.
- Vinegar repels carpet beetles, which hate the scent. Use a mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and water to clean areas where carpet beetle larvae can be found.
- Another natural deterrent is a fine white dust called diatomaceous earth, or DE. This dust that is found in the earth’s surface kills the carpet beetles and the larvae that crawl on it. Be sure to request food-grade DE, which is low in crystalline silica and is considered safe for you.
How to Keep Carpet Beetles from Returning
Carpet beetles make their presence known in the spring. Now that you know how to get rid of carpet beetles in the home, you want to make prevention a part of your spring-cleaning tasks.
- The clothing that you store away is particularly vulnerable to carpet beetle larvae. Wash your pillows, towels, clothing, and linens with hot water and detergent. Add strips of cedar or a few moth balls to the storage boxes for the storage containers or bags to deter the carpet beetles and their larvae.
- Apply an insecticide such as insect killer granules around your home’s perimeter and at points of entry for carpet beetles, including doorways and windows, vents and utility pipes.
- A hole or tear in your window screens makes it easy for carpet beetles and other unwanted insects to enter your home. Fix the holes or buy new screens for your windows to deny access to the insects.
Carpet beetles are annoying pests. Their larvae can damage your area rugs made of natural fibers, your clothing, even your prized belongings. An infestation of these bugs can be dealt with by trying a few DIY tasks. Take proactive measures to deny their access to your home, and if the use of insecticides like boric acid worries you, take note that there are household-friendly ways to kill carpet beetles and their larvae without risk to your family and pets. Download The Home Depot Mobile App to find the best solutions for fighting the carpet beetles in your home.