In This Article

    Loading...

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Zach hand-picks and recommends every product we feature. When you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

how to get rid of carpet beetles

Have you noticed jagged holes in your textiles or woolen items?

If so, you may have a carpet beetle infestation.

Fortunately, you don’t have to get rid of these destructive beetles on your own.

Here at Pest Dude, we have more than 20 years of experience in the pest control industry, and we’ve compiled our extensive knowledge into this guide.

Before You Get Started

  • Make Sure You’re Dealing With Carpet Beetles: Typically, carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects with a mottled pattern of white, brown, and dark yellowish hairs on their backs. Adults are most often spotted near windows, as they are attracted to light. The real sign of an infestation, however, is the damage they leave behind — look out for irregular holes in fabrics and a scattering of tiny, shed skins in areas where the larvae have been feeding.
  • Evaluate the Infestation Level: Carefully assess the extent of your carpet beetle problem. If you find only a few beetles or larvae, you may be able to tackle the infestation on your own. However, if they are widespread or causing significant damage, it’s advisable to call in professional exterminators who have the expertise, experience, and powerful tools to handle severe infestations effectively.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Arm yourself with gloves, long sleeves, and a mask to prevent skin irritation and inhalation of any fine hairs or dust from the beetles and their larvae. Safety should always be your top priority.
  • Gather Your Equipment: This includes a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, a steam cleaner for deep cleaning, insecticide sprays labeled for carpet beetles, protective gloves, and disposable bags to contain vacuumed debris.
  • Use Pesticides Safely: Safety is paramount when handling insecticides. Always select pesticides specifically labeled for carpet beetles and follow the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously. Before application, remove pets and children from the area, and wear protective gloves and masks to prevent inhalation and skin contact. After application, ensure the space is well-ventilated and do not return to the treated area until the recommended time has elapsed to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals. 

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles: A Step-by-Step Guide

inspect for carpet beetle

1. Inspect for Damage

The initial step in tackling a carpet beetle infestation is a thorough inspection. 

Inspection is the cornerstone of pest management for several reasons. Firstly, it helps determine the infestation’s severity, which dictates the appropriate response. 

A light infestation might be resolved with simple home treatments, while a severe one could necessitate professional intervention. 

Additionally, inspection and early detection can prevent the infestation from spreading and minimize damage to your belongings.

Here’s what to do:

  • Start by examining your carpets along the edges and beneath furniture where damage often goes unnoticed. Look for irregular-shaped holes and threadbare spots, which can indicate beetle activity.
  • Carpet beetles are attracted to light, so make sure to inspect window sills and light fixtures. Don’t overlook areas that are out of sight, like the space under furniture, as these pests tend to thrive in undisturbed environments.
  • Inspect your clothing and upholstered furniture for signs of damage, which may look like frayed fabric or even holes. Pay close attention to seams and folds, as these are favorite hiding spots for carpet beetles. 
  • Look for live carpet beetles, which are small, round, and may be black, brown, or multicolored. Carpet beetle larvae are tiny, caterpillar-like insects with bristly hairs. Shed skins (which resemble the beetles themselves but are translucent and lighter in color) and fecal pellets (which are tiny and sand-like) are also definitive signs of an infestation. Pay extra close attention to drawers or storage boxes where woolens and silks are kept, as these can become hotspots for beetle infestations.

Note: Adult carpet beetles don’t feed on textiles – the larvae do. WIth this in mind, the presence of adults in an area of the home does not mean that there are also larvae present.

2. Treat the Infestation

Non-chemical Methods

Vacuum Your Home 
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture frequently to remove any carpet beetle eggs or larvae, as well as the lint, hair, dead insects, and other debris that carpet beetles feed on. 
  • Keep in mind that upright vacuums cannot reach the edges of wall-to-wall carpeting and may not be able to remove all eggs and larvae present in these areas. 
  • Whenever possible, roll the carpet back about 12″ and vacuum the underside to remove and kill larvae and eggs. 
  • Every time you vacuum the carpet, use a nozzle to clean the areas under baseboards, behind door casings, and under heat radiators.
  • After vacuuming, dispose of the bag promptly, or dump the container contents into a plastic bag, then seal it and dispose of it in an outdoor trash can. 
Wash Your Textiles
  • Wash infested items in hot water at a temperature of at least 120°F (49°C), and then dry them on a high heat setting. The combination of hot water and high heat can kill carpet beetles at all stages of their lifecycle. 
  • For delicate items that cannot withstand high temperatures, dry cleaning is an effective alternative.
  • Consider storing seasonal clothing in airtight containers and using garment bags to protect fabrics in your closet, as these practices will deter carpet beetles from settling in and causing damage to your textiles.
Freeze Infested Items
  • Begin by placing the infested item inside a plastic bag and sealing it tightly to prevent moisture from damaging the textile. 
  • Place the bagged item in the freezer, setting the temperature to at least 0°F (-18°C). 
  • Leave the item in the freezer for a minimum of 48 hours to ensure that all stages of the beetles, from larvae to adults, are eradicated. 
  • After the freezing period, let the item thaw gradually at room temperature while still sealed to avoid condensation. 
  • Once completely thawed, shake it out outdoors to remove any dead beetles and larvae before laundering according to the fabric’s care instructions.
  • Periodically freeze mounted animal specimens (like game trophies) for 10-14 days. 
Steam Clean Your Carpets
  • Steam cleaning allows you to apply high-temperature steam deep into carpet fibers, effectively killing beetle larvae and eggs that are hidden within.
  • Thoroughly vacuum the area first to remove any debris and beetles on the surface. Then, move the steam cleaner slowly across the carpet, allowing the steam to penetrate deeply.
  •  If carpets are cleaned in place, a nozzle-type cleaner should be used and directed at the edge of the carpet since this is where carpet beetle eggs and larvae are commonly found.
Clean Your HVAC Systems
  • Have your air registers and HVAC system professionally cleaned at least once a year to remove as much lint as possible. 
  • This eliminates carpet beetle food sources and nesting areas in these spaces and can help reduce the risk of infestation.
Store Garments Properly
  • Keep clothing, especially wool, silk, and fur, in airtight containers or garment bags to prevent carpet beetle access. 
  • Cold storage is also an effective option for high-value garments like furs.
  • Periodically air out textiles that could be attractive to carpet beetles in direct sunlight which helps to kill any eggs or larvae.
  • Place cedar blocks in closets, drawers, and storage areas as repellents.
Use Sticky Traps
  • When deploying these traps, it is essential to place them in carpet beetle harborage areas, such as near window sills, in closets, and beneath furniture. 
  • Check the traps at least once a week and replace them when they are full of beetles or covered in dust, which reduces their effectiveness.
  • Dispose of the traps carefully to avoid spreading any remaining beetles or larvae.
  • Use preventative measures in conjunction with sticky traps. These include regular vacuuming, sealing off entry points, and proper storage of textiles – all of which help mitigate the risk of infestation. 
  • Keep in mind that while sticky traps are beneficial for monitoring and capturing adult beetles, they are not a cure-all. 
  • For severe infestations, professional pest control services may be necessary to fully eradicate the problem.
Seal all Gaps and Cracks
  • Use caulk to seal openings around baseboards, window frames, and door frames to prevent carpet beetles from entering from the outside.
  • Check second-hand furniture, clothing, and antique textiles for signs of infestation before bringing them into your home.
  • Remove and destroy old pieces of carpeting, scraps of woolen fabric, old feather pillows, collections of dried insects, and anything else that could be a food source or a breeding location for carpet beetles.

Chemical Methods

Mothproofing

In some cases, you can protect clothing or textiles from carpet beetle damage by applying a preventative application of insecticide. This process is known as “mothproofing.”

Today, there are various mothproofing chemicals on the market that provide protection from carpet beetle larvae. 

Most kill the larvae after light feeding or during brief contact with the insecticide. These formulas are usually pyrethroid insecticides such as permethrin or non-residual insecticides like pyrethrins.

Another effective mothproofing tactic is to intersperse stored clothing or textiles with 1-1 1/4 lbs of paradichlorobenzene (PDCB) crystals per 100 cubic feet of stored items. For best results, make sure to use large, sealed plastic bags and tight boxes or chests to store items.

To ensure maximum protection and avoid damaging your items, always take your textiles to a professional for mothproofing services.

Insecticides

Insecticides are an essential tool in the battle against carpet beetles, with several types proving effective when integrated into a comprehensive pest control strategy. 

The use of residual pyrethroid insecticides can provide a long-lasting barrier that kills beetles over a period of time.

Non-residual insecticides can also be used for quick, direct action against visible beetles and larvae, and inorganic desiccating dust like silica aerogel can be applied directly to at-risk textiles or articles of clothing to provide residual protection. 

However, it is crucial to select products labeled explicitly for use against carpet beetles to ensure effectiveness and safety.

  • When applying insecticides, focus on areas where carpet beetles are known to feed and lay eggs. This includes carpets, closets, shelves, and areas where pet hair may accumulate. 
  • It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely; this typically involves thoroughly cleaning the area first, applying the insecticide evenly, and ensuring adequate ventilation during and after application. 
  • Reapplication may be necessary every few months, as eggs can hatch and perpetuate the infestation if not effectively eradicated.
Insect Growth Regulators
  • Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) work by disrupting the life cycle of the beetles, preventing them from reaching maturity and reproducing. 
  • To use IGRs, it’s important to thoroughly read the label and follow the application instructions, which typically involve treating carpets, furniture, and other fabric-covered areas where beetles are present.
  • Treating the entire house may be necessary for severe infestations. Since IGRs are species-specific, ensure the product is effective against carpet beetles before purchase. 
  • Regular vacuuming post-application will help remove any beetles and eggs, ensuring the IGRs have the best chance to work effectively.

When to Call an Exterminator

professional treatment carpet beetles

While preventive measures and home remedies can be effective for managing minor carpet beetle infestations, it is crucial to recognize when to call a pest management professional.

If you notice widespread damage to textiles, an unmanageable number of adult beetles, or persistent larvae despite your efforts, it is time to seek professional help.

A licensed exterminator can provide a thorough assessment, accurately identify the species involved, and develop a tailored treatment plan.

Professional treatment is especially important in severe cases, as carpet beetles can spread quickly, and their hidden larvae are challenging to eradicate without expert techniques and insecticides.

Are Carpet Beetles Invading Your Home? We Can Help!

Stop sharing your space with carpet beetles! Whether your DIY efforts have failed or you just want faster results, help is just around the corner.

Here at Pest Dude, we work with a large network of pest control professionals. 

Contact us at (844) 532-0076, and we’ll connect you with an exterminator in your area who can help you get rid of carpet beetles once and for all.

zachary smith no bg

Get a Free Quote

Give us a call today to receive your free, no-obligation pest control quote.

Carpet Beetles Control FAQs

Carpet beetles are small, rounded insects with distinctive markings. Adult beetles typically measure 1/16” – ⅛” in length and have a variegated pattern of black, white, brown, and sometimes orange scales on their backs. 

The larvae, which are responsible for most of the damage, are elongated, resembling tiny, fuzzy caterpillars with a banded appearance and can grow up to 5 mm in length. 

Their larvae are often mistaken for bed bugs because of their similar size and shape, but a closer look reveals the telltale bristle hairs and patterning unique to carpet beetles.

Common signs include finding adult beetles near windows, doors, or light sources, as they are attracted to light. 

However, the more reclusive larvae tend to dwell in dark, secluded areas like closets, under furniture, and in the folds of clothing or curtains. You may also notice their shed skins or tiny, pellet-like droppings in infested areas. 

As for the damage, look for the following:

  • Irregular holes in natural fiber fabrics, such as wool, silk, or leather. 
  • Fur coats or other items that shed strands. 
  • Small beetles crawling on walls or dead bugs in window sills.
  • Sparse patches on wool or wool-blend rugs.

While carpet beetles don’t bite or spread diseases, they can be harmful in other ways. 

Some people may experience carpet beetle dermatitis allergic reactions to the tiny hairs or fibers shed by the larvae, which can cause itchy skin rashes or irritation to the respiratory tract if inhaled. 

Moreover, carpet beetles can cause significant damage to your belongings, particularly items made of natural fibers such as clothing, furniture, and carpets. 

It’s this potential for destruction, rather than a health hazard, that makes carpet beetle infestations a concern to address promptly.

zachary smith crop

Author Bio: Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is the founder of PestDude.com. Zachary is a licensed pest control professional with 20+ years of hands on experience eradicating pests from homes and businesses. Zachary earned his Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2002. He specializes in rodent and insect infestation management of structures and landscapes. His passion is to share his extensive knowledge with the world.

Related Posts

Download Free E-book

To receive the free e-book, please sign up to our newsletter. Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time

"(Required)" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.