Beetles are among the most abundant lifeforms on Earth. There are an estimated 350,000 known species. These beetles account for over 25% of lifeforms on the planet – and there could be millions more yet to be discovered.
Most humans will never come into contact with the majority of beetle species. One species, however, that almost everyone will deal with at some point is the carpet beetle.
One of the most common household pests in North America, the carpet beetle can wreak havoc on even the cleanest, most well-kept home. It’s essential to start your pest control efforts at the first sign of a carpet beetle infestation.
About Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are the most dangerous type of beetle to most homeowners. Unlike other species, like wood beetles that only eat wood, carpet beetles will eat almost anything.
Before you start your carpet beetle control efforts, it’s important to understand who is at risk of infestation and why these insects invaded your home in the first place.
Carpet Beetle Habitat
Carpet beetles are found all around the world. Though they do live outside, they much prefer living indoors, near humans, where food and shelter are easier to access.
Once indoors, carpet beetles prefer to live in dark areas. They’re often found under baseboards, under furniture, and in cabinets.
To make feeding easy, carpet beetles like to live near food sources. So look for them at the edges of carpet, around door casings, and inside upholstered furniture.
Carpet Beetle Feeding
Carpet beetles will eat anything and everything.
As their name implies, they prefer carpet, but they’ll also chow down on furniture, leather, clothing, blankets, pet food, pet hair, crumbs, and dead insects without a second thought. If there’s a chance it can be eaten, a carpet beetle will likely give it a shot.
Carpet Beetle Breeding
Carpet beetles breed like wildfire. Though the specifics vary depending on species, most carpet beetles produce four generations each year.
These insects begin laying their eggs as soon as they enter your home. And even when you eliminate them from your home, eggs might still be close at hand. Carpet beetles frequently lay their eggs inside of bird nests, mouse nests, and anywhere outside that gives them easy access to food.
Carpet Beetle Diseases
Many pests carry disease that can spread to humans. Fortunately, carpet beetles are not one of these pests.
Carpet beetles don’t carry any diseases that are dangerous to humans. Though you won’t get sick from a carpet beetle infestation, that still doesn’t mean you want them in your home!
Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
According to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program, carpet beetles can cause serious damage to homes. Their favorite targets are fabric, furniture, furs, and stored food.
Carpet beetles feed on any material that contains animal products. This is why leather, wool, silk, fur, and other natural fibers are so often targeted.
Luckily, carpet beetles don’t feed on synthetic fabrics. Yet this doesn’t mean they’re safe. Because hair and skin from humans and pets often gets stuck on synthetic fabrics, these materials can still become damaged.
Museums are one of the favorite targets of carpet beetles. Yet museum staff must protect their properties from these insects at all costs. Carpet beetles love to feed on the natural objects that museums are trying to preserve, making them one of the worst museum pests.
Many people confuse carpet beetle damage with damage caused by other household pests, especially moths. While the damaged areas look similar, carpet beetles tend to feed on a specific fabric or cloth, causing large holes, while moths feed more sporadically, causing scattered holes.
When in doubt about the nature of your pest infestation, call in a professional pest control service.
Carpet Beetle Prevention
Like all household pests, the easiest way to control carpet beetles is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Accomplish this with a combination of the following pest control techniques:
- Clean – A clean house is a pest-free house. Clean your home on a regular basis to remove the food sources for carpet beetles and other household pests.
- Vacuum – Not only is vacuuming another great way to keep your home clean, it also picks up and removes any carpet beetles that did enter your home. Be sure to vacuum furniture and curtains in addition to your carpets.
- Spray – If you’ve had a problem with carpet beetles in the past, consider using a preventative spray inside your home. Find one that’s made specifically for carpet beetles and use it as directed on the packaging. Never use it on clothing.
- Boric Acid – Using boric acid is a safer and more natural than using a preventative spray. Sprinkle the substance onto furniture and around the edges of your carpet to protect them from carpet beetles. Be sure to vacuum up excess boric acid no more than 2 hours after applying.
- Mothballs – Packed clothing and other fabrics are a prime target for carpet beetles. Add mothballs to these boxes before storing them.
Removing Carpet Beetles
It’s essential to get started on your carpet beetle removal efforts as soon as you notice an infestation. Remove carpet beetles with the following removal techniques:
- Vacuum – Vacuum any areas where adult carpet beetles or their larvae were seen. Don’t forget to vacuum furniture and curtains.
- Steam Clean – Rent or buy a steam cleaner to wash your carpets and rugs. Hot water and soap will kill any remaining beetles and their eggs.
- Wash Clothing – Wash clothing and any other infected fabrics with hot water and soap.
- Boric Acid – Sprinkle boric acid onto your carpets, rugs, furniture, and clothing to kill remaining beetles. Vacuum it off within two hours. Boric acid also works to prevent future infestations.
- Special Treatments – Buy and use a special store-bought treatment to ensure you kill all carpet beetles in your home. Look for a treatment specifically designed to remove carpet beetles. We recommend Bayer’s Advanced Indoor and Outdoor Insect Killer.
Carpet Beetle Deterrents
There are a number of things you can do to deter carpet beetles from entering your home. These include:
- Clean Regularly – Regular cleaning is one of the number one carpet beetle deterrents. Take the trash out, vacuum, and wash clothing on a regular basis.
- Store in Plastic – Store clothing in dark closets inside of plastic bags whenever possible. Because carpet beetles only feed in their dark, infrequently-used closes are their prime target.
- Choose Synthetic – Deter carpet beetles by selecting synthetic fibers over natural ones when possible. This is especially important for carpet, rugs, and furniture.
- Control Other Pests – Like most pests, carpet beetle numbers rise when other pests are present in your home. So ensure that you’re up-to-date with the best household pest control methods for all types of pests.
Professional Carpet Beetle Removal
DIY carpet beetle prevention and removal is undoubtedly cheaper. Yet sometimes it pays to call in the experts.
Carpet beetles are very resilient pests and DIY techniques don’t always work, especially on their eggs. Paying extra for professional help pays off big time if it means stopping a damaging infestation in its tracks.
What to Expect
Most pest control companies provide carpet beetle removal. However, it’s extremely important to make sure that the particular service you hire has specific experience with this kind of pest.
The first thing a pest control professional will do is inspect your home. They’ll verify that your infestation is indeed a carpet beetle infestation. They’ll then survey your home and develop a plan of attack.
Your pest control company will use a specialized treatment to kill of the carpet beetles in your home. This treatment is likely much stronger than those you can buy in stores. It will kill carpet beetle eggs in addition to the adults.
The next step a pest control expert will take is cleaning. They’ll give your home a deep clean to pick up dead carpet beetles, their eggs, and any remaining living carpet beetles.
Most pest control companies will also provide long-term prevention. They’ll go over the best carpet beetle prevention techniques so you know how to prevent an outbreak in the future.
As we mentioned above, hiring a professional carpet beetle removal service is more expensive than taking care of the problem yourself. Yet doing so can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in potential damages.
Though it depends on the particular service and the severity of your problem, you can expect to spend between two and five hundred dollars on professional carpet beetle removal.
Find the Best Pro
Hiring the right pest control company is important. It will ensure you get your money’s worth and that you don’t suffer a repeat infestation anytime soon.
The first step to finding the best pest control company is asking for referrals. If any friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors have used professional carpet beetle removal in the past, ask for their recommendations.
On top of this, it’s essential you look for a company with specific experience controlling carpet beetle infestations. Just because a company is a pest control company doesn’t mean they have the expertise to handle this dangerous and resilient pest.
Your Carpet-Beetle Free Home
Carpet beetles are among the most obnoxious of all home pests. They’re unsightly to look at, reproduce rapidly, and cause a lot of damage to your carpets, furniture, and clothing.
If you notice even just one carpet beetle in your home, it’s likely an infestation is under way. Act fast to get rid of carpet beetles as quickly as possible. The longer your home is left infested, the harder these pesky critters will be to exterminate.