How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
Edited by Catdog, M.piccini, Jaconias_Nacua, June and 5 others
Carpet beetles are persistent pests that can cause severe damage to your carpets, clothing, and other fabrics. Getting rid of carpet beetles takes patience and persistence, but the job can usually be done without calling professional exterminators. Here’s what you need to know about ridding your home of these pests.
Part One: Identifying the Problem
1. Verify that you have carpet beetles. Familiarize yourself with common clues that indicate a potential carpet beetle problem and make yourself aware of how carpet beetles look.
Fecal pellets and shed skins are the most common signs of infestation. You can also expect to see carpet beetles in both adult and larvae forms.
Most adult carpet beetles are oval-shaped and only a little larger than the head of a pin. They can come in a range of colors, but most have some form of black and gray or black and brown patterns. Some varieties also have yellow or white on their backs.
Carpet beetles move slowly and roll over when touched.
The larvae of the carpet beetle usually has brown bands running across the body, along with long hair-like extension toward one or both ends.
2. Search for the source. A heavier concentration of carpet beetles, cast skins, or fecal pellets is a good indication that a certain location is the primary source of the infestation.
Carpet beetles are drawn to fabric. They can be found in the carpet, especially if that carpeting is in a closet or other dark location, but they are also drawn to clothing, upholstered furniture, and items made of fur or feathers.
Non-fabric items that attract carpet beetles include food cabinets, dog food, fresh flowers, and paint brushes.
Also check dark, undisturbed locations like air ducts, baseboards, and attics.
Part Two: Indoor Treatment
1. Vacuum the carpet. Thoroughly vacuum all carpeted areas in your home. Focus on the primary source of the infestation, but vacuum the entire home to ensure that all beetles have been removed.
Also vacuum any upholstered furniture or other fabric-covered areas that cannot be washed in a washing machine.
While you have a carpet beetle infestation, you should vacuum you home at least once a day for a week or more. You may even need to vacuum multiple times each day for the first few days, depending on how bad the infestation is.
2. Throw away infested garments. If a particular clothing item has already been eaten away, it is best to simply discard it.
Keeping infested garments increases your risk of being unable to stop the infestation. Even if you do not see any carpet beetles on the material, there is still some risk of the beetles remaining there.
3Wash your fabrics. All clothing that is not stored in airtight containers should be washed in hot, soapy water. Linens, towels, and other fabrics should also be washed in the washing machine using hot, soapy water.
For particularly bad infestations, you may even need to steam-clean your carpet and upholstered furniture.
Carpet beetles can be extremely resilient. Hot water is more effective against them than cold water, and the use of detergent is advised because soap can help kill these pests.
4. Apply insecticide. Use a spray or dust that is specifically labeled for use against carpet beetles and follow the instructions on the label to apply the insecticide to your carpet.
In general, carpet treatment insecticides that contain chlorpyrifos, bendiocarbs, and allethrin are the most effective against carpet beetles.
Aside from broad carpet treatments, spot treatments can be applied in cracks and crevices where carpet beetles might be hiding.
Add an IGR, or insect growth regulator, to your standard insecticide during application. IGR insecticides act as birth control to the beetles, preventing them from reproducing.
Try dusting infested areas with boric acid for a solution that is non-toxic for humans. It kills nearly any insect it comes into contact with, but it does have a bleaching effect and should not be used on dark materials.
Take necessary precautions when applying insecticide. Wear gloves and protective clothing, and leave the area for a while as the insecticide disperses through the air. Wash your hands after application.
5Set traps. Place hormone-based glue traps around cracks, crevices, and other locations from which you suspect the infestation to originate from.
Glue traps kill the insects and also give you a good idea of how bad the problem still is.
Part Three: Outdoor Treatment
1Apply a barrier treatment around the perimeter. A liquid insecticide should be sprayed along soil areas next to the home and around the lower portion of the foundation.
Outdoor treatments are especially important if you suspect that the infestation is originating from a vent or a location that connects to the outside.
For best results, the barrier should extend 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) up the home and 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) out from the base of the home.
Treat potential entry points, as well. Windows, door frames, vents, and utility pipes all serve as possible entry points for carpet beetles.
2. Remove nests. Remove any birds’ nests or bees’ nests around your house or in your yard.
Carpet beetles often lay eggs in nests, so having these around your home increases your risk of infestation.
Destroy the nests or move them to an area far away from your house. If you keep them in your yard, make sure that the nests are on the side of the yard furthest away from your home.
Exercise caution when removing nests to avoid the wrath of angry birds and bees.
Part Four: Follow-Up
1. Protect susceptible items. Store off-season clothing and starches in plastic containers or bags. Open your closet door and dresser drawers for a few hours each day to expose the clothes to sunlight.
Carpet beetles are unlikely to find their way through the plastic, and they tend to scatter when exposed to sunlight.
You can also keep cedar chips or mothballs in your storage areas to deter carpet beetles from hanging around.
Regular carpet cleaning will also help prevent infestations from happening again. Fewer dust bunnies and less pet hair will go a long way in reducing the future carpet beetle population.
2. Leave doors and windows closed. Any windows or doors that do not have screens should be left closed as much as possible. Leaving these entrances open will only make it easier for carpet beetles and other insect to find their way inside your home.
Repair any holes in your window screens. Since carpet beetles are so small, even the smallest holes may give them the opening they need.
3. Inspect flowers before bringing them inside. Carpet beetles often linger on flowers and plants. Check the leaves and petals of any fresh-cut flowers for unwanted hitchhikers before bringing the flowers into your home.
Hire a professional, if necessary or desired. Professional exterminators are trained to use more powerful, more effective chemicals and might be able to do a more thorough extermination for heavy infestations.
EditThings You’ll Need
Plastic containers or bags
Cedar chips or mothballs