How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

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Want to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles? Find Out How

Here in South Carolina, we have our share of pests to contend with. While carpet beetles are relatively common, many homeowners confuse them with other insects. Think you might have carpet beetles and want to get rid of them? Not sure if you’re dealing with a carpet beetle infestation? Learn more about how to identify and get rid of carpet beetles below.


What Are Carpet Beetles?

As their name implies, the term “carpet beetle” refers to several species of beetles which tend to live and reproduce in fibrous materials, including home carpet. While there are multiple species of carpet beetles out there, all of them are oval-shaped and roughly 1/8" in length.

When it comes to carpet beetle identification, there are three species commonly found in the United States: the black carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, and common carpet beetle.

The black carpet beetle is a small, black or brown coffee bean-shaped beetle with dark brown legs and antennae. Their larvae can grow to be significantly larger than the average beetle, measuring up to 1/2" long.

The varied carpet beetle is 2-3 mm (1/8") long with brown, white, and yellow spots. The varied carpet beetle produces larvae which can range up to 1/4" in size.

Finally, the common carpet beetle is 2.5 to 4mm (roughly 1/8") long and features black and white patterned wings with bright orange scales. Their larvae can be slightly larger as well, up to 1/4" in length.

Adult carpet beetles tend to feed on plant-based food sources, including flowers and seeds. Meanwhile, their larvae are capable of feeding on a variety of natural materials, including hair, wool, silk, felt, leather, and even human skin cells. While carpet beetles can be found both indoors and outdoors, they commonly lay their eggs in areas where food is most plentiful. If they find their way into your home, carpet beetles can lay eggs in your carpet, rugs, and even in your bed.

Female carpet beetles will routinely lay up to 100 eggs at a time, and these eggs hatch into larvae within a couple of weeks. The larvae eventually grow into adult carpet beetles, feeding on organic materials throughout your home for up to a year as they mature.

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Do I Have Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are sometimes confused with other pests. In particular, many homeowners mistake carpet beetles for bed bugs. It’s easy to confuse the two, as carpet beetles will sometimes infest beds in order to eat the dead skin cells left behind in your sheets.

Carpet beetles and bed bugs are very different pests, however. Bed bugs have a habit of biting in order to feed on our blood, much like mosquitoes or ticks. Carpet beetles, on the other hand, don’t inflict bites -- but their larvae can still irritate your skin and cause an allergic reaction.

The approach you take when it comes to pest control will vary depending on what pest you’re dealing with. If you’re not sure whether you have carpet beetles, bed bugs, or another pest, try our online pest identification tool. If you’re still in doubt, contact a Home Pest Control professional for help.


Where Do Carpet Beetles Come From?

As mentioned above, adult carpet beetles and their larvae are attracted to different sources of food. As adults, carpet beetles primarily feed on seeds and the nectar of flowers. This means that they’re often found in yards and gardens, and can easily be attracted into your home through open windows and doors, cracks in window and door frames, basement openings, and cracked siding.

Adult carpet beetles are the most active during the heat of summer -- but they prefer to lay their eggs in a dark, sheltered area with a guaranteed source of food. As a result, carpet beetles are often attracted to the sheltered, less frequented areas of your home such as your attic, chimney, and other out of the way places.

Doors and windows left ajar during the summer months can be an open invitation to adult carpet beetles. If the adults females lay eggs in your carpet, rugs, furniture, clothing, or bed sheets, you can quickly end up with a carpet beetle infestation.


Are Carpet Beetles Dangerous?

Unlike many insects, carpet beetles don’t bite. In some cases, however, homeowners exposed to carpet beetle larvae will develop red, itchy skin. This is due to the fact that carpet beetle larvae are covered with fine, bristled hairs that can cause skin irritation upon contact. Particularly sensitive individuals can suffer from an allergic reaction.

Even though carpet beetles don’t bite, they can still be a major nuisance in your home. Adult beetles will fly around your home as they lay eggs, and their larvae can eat through a variety of fibrous materials in your home including carpets, rugs, furniture, clothing, and bed linens. The resulting damage can be severe.


Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation

Some insects are easier to identify than others. Carpet beetle infestations tend to go unnoticed for weeks or even months at a time. This can result in carpet beetle larvae a chance to cause a significant amount of damage to carpets, rugs, bedding, clothing, and furniture in your home.

Adult carpet beetles are drawn to light, and will sometimes gather around windows or light sources. Their larvae can be seen crawling on light colored surfaces, but are often more readily identified as a result of the damage they’ve caused. They also shed their skin as they mature, leaving behind small brown shells on carpeting, furniture, and other fabrics around your home.


How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Getting rid of carpet beetles can be a major challenge, and the process is fairly complex.

First, any carpets or rugs where adult beetles and larvae have been encountered will need to be vacuumed and steam cleaned. Anything washable such as sheets, blankets, clothing, and washable furniture covers ought to be washed, preferably in hot water if possible. This will help to eliminate the larvae already in your home.

Next, you’ll need to apply an indoor insecticide specifically targeted at carpet beetles. Doing this on your own can be difficult, as insecticides are only effective if applied in the correct areas. When it comes to this step, we recommend contacting a Home Pest Control professional.


Your Home Pest Control Resource for Carpet Beetle Prevention

Carpet beetle infestations can be a major nuisance, and their larvae are capable of causing significant damage to your carpets, rugs, furniture, clothing, and other fabrics.

One of the best ways to prevent carpet beetles is by eliminating their access to your home. Ensure that window and door screens are in place and that there are no gaps or holes where carpet beetles can enter. Seal up any cracks around the exterior of your home, paying particular attention to basement areas. If you have bird nests in your gutters, on your porch, or in close proximity to your home, it’s a good idea to remove them. Carpet beetles often lay eggs in bird nests, and their offspring can migrate into your home once they’ve matured.

At the end of the day, the best way to get rid of carpet beetles and keep them from coming back is to work with a Home Pest Control professional. Our highly trained technicians will put together a comprehensive plan to help you eliminate carpet beetles in your home. With the help of our safe, environmentally friendly pest control methods, you’ll never have to worry about carpet beetles again.

Want to learn more about how to prevent pests all year long? Download our free pest control calendar for homeowners!

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August 12, 2019

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