As their name suggests, carpet beetles infest carpets and other textiles in our homes, such as upholstered furniture. Once inside our homes, they will infest and lay eggs within the carpet.
Carpet beetles feed on keratin, an animal protein that makes up most of our skin, otherwise known as the epidermis. Many compare adult carpet beetles to clothes moths because of the moth’s ability to feed on keratin in our textiles and fabrics, such as linens, which destroy the natural fibers of these fabrics in the process.
Carpet beetle larvae also break down and consume keratin, which is found all over the floors of our homes because humans and animals, such as our dogs or cats, naturally shed. Unfortunately, humans shed between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells per hour, providing carpet beetle larvae with ample food.
Preventing carpet beetles is far easier than getting rid of these nasty critters once they’ve invaded our home.
In today’s guide, we will cover:
- How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
- How To Prevent Carpet Beetles
- How To Identify Carpet Beetles
- Signs & Causes of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
If trying to exterminate carpet beetles on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.
For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.
For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company’s website.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
- Start by identifying the pests in your home. Carpet beetles are often mistaken for fleas, bed bugs, or clothes moths. Ensure that you have furniture carpet beetles and not another type of pest because this will alter how you treat infested items and your home.
- Pinpoint the primary source of your carpet beetle infestation. Is there a specific carpet or rug in your basement that is infested, a wool scarf in your closet, or a bathroom mat that is infested? If you’re lucky, the infestation will not have spread to a large area and will only be in one place, which will make it easier to treat the problem.
- Wash infested items at high temperatures. A clothes dryer can typically generate enough heat to kill carpet beetle eggs and larvae that may be present. Hot water is another excellent way to go about heavily cleaning infested items.
- Throw out heavily infested items. If you don’t eliminate all the carpet beetle eggs present, the problem will continue to persist. If you need to, throw out heavily infested items. Make sure you bag the items in plastic bags before throwing them away to prevent these carpet beetles from spreading to other homes.
- Thoroughly clean your home. Vacuuming and steam cleaning can kill carpet beetle larvae, as well as eliminate their food source. Don’t allow animal products, such as keratin (skin cells) and animal hair, to build up in your home because this attracts carpet beetles who will lay eggs. Their larvae will then feed on the keratin and pet hair. So, keeping your home as clean as possible and free of animal products decreases the carpet beetle larvae’s chances of thriving in your home.
- Apply insecticides on infested carpets and rugs. Flea control products or pesticides advertised for fabric insects, such as carpet beetles, will likely be the most effective. However, you should never use insecticides directly on bedding, clothing, or other fabric that touches you or your family’s bodies because these can be toxic to humans and pets. Instead, use heat or freezing temperatures to treat infested clothing or bedding. Steam cleaning can be highly effective when dealing with your clothing or bedding.
If you cannot get rid of the carpet beetles in your house, we recommend immediately contacting a professional pest control service to kill the carpet beetles.
Professional exterminators are trained to deal with all types of pest problems and can treat your home with a fogger or steam cleaner to eliminate pests. They may also recommend a professional cleaning to eliminate shed skin cells, pet hair, and other things in your carpets that larvae feed on.
How to Prevent Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles can be drawn to anyone’s home, and often the first time you have carpet beetles, it is a fluke. However, if you regularly have carpet beetles returning to your home, you’re probably unsuspectingly providing carpet beetles with a suitable environment that allows them to thrive.
Here are some of our top tips for preventing carpet beetles:
Limit how many woolen or animal-based fabrics you have in your home
Vacuum regularly to eliminate dead skin, hair, and dead insects from accumulating in your carpet and textiles
Doing laundry regularly (again, to eliminate dead skin and hair that may accumulate)
Steaming your home
Cleaning dark, sheltered areas of your home, such as attics and rooms that you don’t spend much time in. Adult carpet beetles prefer to lay eggs in these types of areas, so keeping them clean will minimize your risk of carpet beetles.
Have your woolen items or textiles dry cleaned at high temperatures to kill any carpet beetles
Carefully inspect flowers or plants for carpet beetles before bringing them indoors (Adult carpet beetles regularly attach to blooming flowers for nectar)
Put up bug nets over your windows and doors to trap incoming insects. This will prevent carpet beetles from coming in and prevent other insects from coming in and becoming a food source for carpet beetles.
Clean your vents to prevent lint and hair accumulation and regularly change your air filters
How To Identify Carpet Beetles
There are many types of carpet beetles, including the black carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, and common carpet beetle.
As a whole, most species of carpet beetles are oval-shaped. Carpet beetles are incredibly tiny and can barely be seen with the naked eye because they are around 1/16th to 1/8th inches long. They come in many colors, including white, black, brown, yellow, and orange. Carpet beetles are sometimes mistaken for fleas, bed bugs, and clothes moths because all of these species have similar calling cards.
Fleas also infest carpets and are similar in size. Unlike carpet beetles, however, fleas do bite humans and animals, such as dogs and cats.
Bed bugs infest bedding and furniture like carpet beetles, but they are notorious for biting and feeding on human blood, unlike carpet beetles. Bed bugs are more likely to leave drops of blood on your sheets rather than destroy the actual material as a carpet beetle would.
Clothes moths may be the most difficult to differentiate from carpet beetles. While clothes moths and carpet beetles look very different, both are fabric insects that can cause severe damage to textiles. Both can also digest animal fibers, like leather, silk, and wool. The signs of clothes moths and carpet beetles are similar, so try to spot the insects themselves to help you identify which your home has.
How carpet beetles looks like?
Carpet beetles are incredibly tiny and can barely be seen with the naked eye because they are around 1/16th to 1/8th inches long. They come in many colors, including white, black, brown, yellow, and orange. Carpet beetles are sometimes mistaken for fleas, bed bugs, and clothes moths because all of these species have similar calling cards.
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Signs & Causes of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
While carpet beetles are not poisonous, they do cause massive damage to our homes. Their mouths are built to chew, and they will cause severe damage to your furniture, carpet, and upholstery.
On top of this, carpet beetles can leave feces and saliva on food that is left out, which can pose a threat to you and your family’s health. If contaminated food is eaten, the germs can cause you to have a dangerous infection or disease.
When inspecting your home for carpet beetles, we recommend checking anywhere with natural fibers, such as:
Carpet beetle larvae particularly like dark areas of our home and may hide in:
- The inside of air ducts and vents
However, adult carpet beetles prefer the light and are often close to light fixtures and windows. If you spot adult carpet beetles, immediately check darker areas of your home for the larvae because carpet beetle larvae are the ones who eat keratin in your carpet and fabrics, resulting in damage. On the other hand, adult carpet beetles eat dead insects, spices, grains, seeds, flowers, and plants.
Here are some common signs of a carpet beetle infestation:
- Bare spots in carpet or rugs
- Small holes in your books
- Holes in clothing
- Open spaces in your carpet’s weave
- Big holes in your carpet or rug (where many carpet beetles may have fed together)
- Spotting a carpet beetle (carpet beetles are tiny but not impossible to see with the naked eye)
- Shed larvae skin
- Finding dead beetles, especially near window sills
- Damage to wool clothing or blankets
Nobody wants to worry about their carpets being destroyed and the possibility of food contamination. If you notice new damage on your carpets, take a moment to examine your carpet closely, looking for signs of chewing. Use a magnifying glass to closely look at the chewing marks and see if you can spot any carpet beetles. Then, do a thorough check of your house, especially in dark, carpeted areas and near windows for bugs.
If you have carpet beetles, act quickly to treat the problem or reach out to a local exterminator to immediately handle your carpet beetle infestation.