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How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

A close look at a carpet beetle on a brown surface.

Carpet beetles can be very damaging to your home. They are not limited to your carpets as they can invade your closet, kitchen and pantry, so it's important to keep your home extremely clean and combat any signs of carpet beetles as soon as they appear to prevent them from spreading throughout your home.

Many of us don’t know what carpet beetles are until we are exposed to them and find we need to combat these vile little pests to keep them out of our home. Because they are so tiny, it is often difficult to know that we have an infestation until it is in almost too late and they have spread throughout the home. Many people talk about how difficult it is to get rid of bed bugs, well these little pests are almost as difficult.

We are going to provide you with some great insights into these pesky bugs, how you can tell if you have them, and give you some expert opinions on how to get rid of them.

These days, with quarantines and such, we are spending more time at home with our families, we should not need to be worried about adding new place settings at our tables for this creepy crawlies!

Related: How to get more stains out of carpet

Methodology

With more people staying at home, new home projects have become a popular pass time. Everything from deep cleaning our homes, to gathering items for donation bins to planting gardens. This extra time at home has turned many of us into do-it-your-selfers, and before we start a home project, it is critical that everything is cleaned well. Often other problems can arise which need action before you tackle the intended project. This is often how we find that our homes have unwelcomed pests that we must get rid of before we can begin our project.

To gather our information on pesky carpet beetles, we have included information from some of the most respected pest control companies around. The following tips and tricks will help you determine in you have a problem with carpet beetles, what to look for, and the best ways to end their days enjoying your furnishings and your homes.

How Many Different Types of Carpet Beetles are There?

There are a couple of different types of carpet beetles, the two most common being the varied carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle.

The varied carpet beetle is 2-3 mm with white and yellow on their back. They can thrive on pet hair, crumbs, insects, and other organic debris, they are considered scavengers and aren’t very fussy about what they eat.

The black carpet beetle is dark brown or dull black and more oval than the varied carpet beetle. They will feet on felt, feathers, dead animals and insects, and hair.

How Do You Know If You Have Carpet Beetles?

A look at a brown carpet beetle on a light hardwood flooring.

First, you need to determine if you have carpet beetles. First of all, they are minuscule insects with huge appetites. They not only find your carpet tasty, but they also love your clothes, so it is critically important to find and treat these little pests before they wreak havoc on your home AND closet!

Identifying Carpet Beetles

You need to correctly identify these insects in order to properly treat them, so the first thing you need to do is to make sure your pests are actually carpet beetles.

Look for tiny oval-shaped bugs, no larger than 1-4 mm in size. They vary in color and can be black and white, yellow and even orange patters on their back. The larvae are usually 4-5 mm in length and have coarse hair on their back, which is a key identifying factor.

Carpet beetles typically come in from the outside through open windows and doors or ill-fitting screens. They can also be found in flowers so you may be inviting them into your home in that beautiful of flowers you purchased for your sweetheart. Do not that that chance, inspect your bouquets or shake them out gently before you bring them into your home.

Carpet beetles live both inside and outside, but they love to lay eggs where food sources are abundant, and your home is the perfect place for them to live and thrive.

Look for these additional signs:

  • They are slow-moving and appear to roll over when touched
  • The beetles, their larvae and eggs are tricky critters, they like to hide under carpets under the upholstery in furniture and in windowsills and corners
  • Their fecal matter can often be found on clothes and carpets and that’s just plain gross!

How to Combat Carpet Beetles

We are going to provide you with a list of products that can help you combat carpet beetles on your own, as always, please take care in using these products around pets and children and make sure they are safe for your intended purpose.

One of the easiest ways to start your war on carpet beetles is to vacuum all areas where you have seen signs of them or their known “hangouts.” This includes laundry rooms, linen closets, and other areas where you store clothing and linens and your pet beds, blankets, carpets, and rugs. After you vacuum, empty the dust bag, and discard it away from your home so the little pests cannot easily come back in.

Launder all clothes that are not stored in air-tight boxes. If you see signs of carpet beetles on your clothing, you may want to discard those items with serious infestations. All other items should be washed in extremely hot water and dried on a high setting for about 30 minutes.

Another tip is to put your clothing in freezer bags and keep them frozen for at least 48 hours or more. They cannot adapt to extreme temperatures and will die in the freezer. This is a great idea only if you do not mind the idea of having bugs in your freezer.

Commercial Products

Raid Carpet & Room Flea Killer SprayThis spray works for flea infestation but is also known to work on carpet beetles. It will kill adult fleas and beetles on contact and will kill eggs for up to 4 months on carpet and upholstery.

Ortho 0221310 Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter RTU Trigger (2)
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Ortho Home Defense Max Indoor Insect Barrier: This product is applied with a want to get into tight spaces in your kitchen, bath, baseboards, and around doors and windows. It will create a barrier against most household insects like ants, fleas, ticks, scorpions, beetles, earwigs, silverfish, and many more.

Advantage Flea and Tick Household Fogger, three 2 oz canisters
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Advantage Flea, Tick and Bedbug Carpet, and Upholstery Spot Spray: This spray is specially formulated for carpets and is known to kill fleas, brown dog ticks, bedbugs, dust mites, and carpet beetles. It should control these pets for at least two weeks. It will not stain fabrics.

Bayer Delta Dust Insecticide Dust-1 lb
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Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust: This is an effective way to get rid of carpet beetles, but it can be a bit messy as it is a powder and sold it one-pound packs. Areas known to have carpet beetles or areas where they get in your home can be dusted with the product, but it may leave some residual power, so it may be a bit messier than other options.

Natural Products without Chemicals

30% Pure Vinegar - Home&Garden (1 Gallon)
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White vinegar to scrub counters, clothes, furniture, and carpets. Vinegar deters a wide range of pests and carpet beetles are one of them. You can dilute equal parts vinegar and water and use this solution to wipe down cupboards, drawers, windowsills and even the hangers in your closet to deter carpet beetles.

JT Eaton 360 Answer Boric Acid Insecticidal Dust, 16 oz Bottle, 1_Pound
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Boric Acid is effective in treating carpet beetles and can be purchased at any home and garden center. You can use the boric acid behind molding, baseboards, and in small cracks and crevices. Be careful with some fabrics as it may cause them to bleach sensitive fabrics.

Wondercide Lemongrass Indoor Pest Control for Home and KitchenThis is a natural spray for the preventative and treatment for pests like roaches, ants and spiders, ticks, wasps, fruit flies carpet beetles, water bugs and others. It can be used inside your home and on carpet furniture, bedding, and flooring. It will eliminate adults, larvae, and eggs. It is safe to use around pets and kids.

Dust with Diatomaceous EarthThis is a natural white powder that can combat many household pests like carpet beetles, ticks, and bedbugs. You can sprinkle the product around the edges of every room and into carpets. After a couple of days, vacuum up the powder.

Eco-Friendly Products

  • SLA Cedar Scented SprayThis spray is an eco-smart spray that kills pests on contact and leaves behind a fresh cedar scent. It will kill bugs, eggs, and larvae to prevent costly damage to fabrics, rugs, and clothes. Fleas, bees, mosquitos, roaches, crickets, silverfish, lice, and carpet beetles will all run for the hills once they are hit with this spray.
  • Carpet Beetle Control Kit: This kit has everything you need to safely get rid of your carpet beetles. The first vacuum then sprays on the NyGuard Plus which prevents carpet beetle larvae from maturing. Then the CimeXa Insecticide Dust is used in areas where pests can enter your home, such as cracks and along baseboards and windows. The third part of the kit is the Catchprimary 100i Insect Monitors, which are sticky glue boards that will help you maintain beetle free, if you see any signs of beetles, you can retreat again.
  • EcoRaider Ant Killer (also Kills other bugs): EcoRaider can be used both indoors and outdoors and will control ants, bed bugs, carpet beetles, and other small crawling insects. Will kill 100% of existing pests on contact. It will disrupt pest trails for up to 4 weeks. It is child and pet friendly and leaves a pleasant citrus scent.

Traps

  • Zero In Carpet Beetle Killer StripsThis is a trap of sorts as it consists of 20 tear-off strips that are placed around or under carpets and rugs. They are odor-free and kill carpet beetles as adults, eggs, and larvae and provide up to six months of protection. They are approved for indoor use.
  • Varied Carpet Beetle Traps Kit: This kit comes with 10 packs that contain pheromones used to lure carpet beetles and then get rid of them. The carpet beetles and larvae will be attracted to the pheromones and trap the carpet beetles inside without using a pesticide. Safe around children and pets.
  • Pro-Pest Pantry Moth and Beetle TrapThis is a pesticide-free solution for insect control I kitchen and pantries. They are baited with glue that attracts insects and beetles and prevents them from attaching your food and other items stored in your pantry. It can also be used by windows or anywhere else pests can get in your home.

How Long Will it Take To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

A close look at a carpet beetle walking on an old sponge.

As with many situations, how long it takes to get rid of carpet beetles depends on how quickly you find the problem and how quickly you can treat it. Many treatments will kill the insects on contact, but you also need to find products that will kill the larvae and eggs. Many natural products will contain ingredients that stunt the growth of the larvae and they eventually die before they mature.

Because they can spread so quickly it is especially important to keep your house thoroughly cleaned, vacuumed, and treated for carpet beetles as soon as they appear.

One of the best treatments is to kill the insects outside before they have a chance to enter your home. If they do not get in your home, you don’t have to worry about infestation inside your home.

Carpet Beetles in my Car?

If you think your care is safe from carpet beetles, you are wrong. They are happy to hitch a ride in your floor carpet and fabric in your seat upholstering. Because your car is a smaller area, it is easier to get rid of carpet beetles in your car. You need to vacuum every part of your car’s interior, then clean the rungs and upholstery with extremely hot water and carpet cleaning product. Make sure that every hair and all organic matter is removed as they feast on these types of things.

Use a quality organic insecticide and spray carpets after they have been cleaned. Also, do not forget to treat the pads at the bottom of your truck.

To keep these pests away from your car, keep it clean and vacuum frequently. If you see any sign of carpet beetles, treat them as soon as possible.

Carpet Beetles in Your Bedding and Mattress

A close look at a carpet beetle walking on a white cloth.

If you think you only need to be worried about bedbugs invading your private space, you’re wrong, carpet beetles are very happy to share your bed with you. The adult beetles won’t live in your bed, but the larvae will be more than happy to eat the linen fabric of your sheets and bedding. When they mature, they will move on. They typically will not LIVE in your bed like bedbugs, but they may come to visit for a while until they mature.

Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles in the Closet

As we touched on previously, carpet beetles love fabric and can easily invade your closet and take a chunk out of your favorite outfit.

There are many methods of getting rid of carpet beetles in your closet. First of all, inspect your clothing for signs of these little pests. Any items that are beyond repair should be thrown out. Other items should be washed while the rest of the closet is cleaned. This includes shelves, baseboards, and even hangers should be wiped down with vinegar and other products to repel the beetles.

You may want to consider putting clothing in airtight containers or bags to keep the pests away. If you have had one infestation, you should check your closet regularly to make sure the carpet beetles do not return.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in the Kitchen

When we think of carpet beetles, we think of them in our rugs or fabric, but your kitchen is not safe from these awful pests. The truth is the kitchen and pantry are two common places to find carpet beetles.

They often come in on plants and flowers and once they are inside your home, they look for food sources, which can include crumbs from food and other organic materials that can be found in and around your kitchen and pantry. It is important to inspect your shelves and drawers regularly to make sure that there is no unwanted creepy crawlies around.

It is important to thoroughly clean your shelves and drawers in your pantry and kitchen on a regular basis. Clean them frequently with vinegar and vacuum out each shelf and drawer to get any eggs or larvae that may be in corners.

If you find any type of pest treat it immediately to avoid infestation and getting them to spread to other places in your home.

Whether you have spotted signs of carpet beetles in your kitchen, carpeting, laundry room, or closet, it is important that you eradicate your home from these pests by keeping your home clean, well-vacuumed and free from excess debris.

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