Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects that are often found in homes, where they can cause damage to carpets, clothing, and other fabrics. These pests can be difficult to get rid of once they have infested a home, but there are several steps that homeowners can take to eliminate carpet beetles and prevent future infestations.
What are Carpet Beetles?
Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects that are part of the Dermestidae family. There are several species of carpet beetles, but the most common ones in homes are the varied carpet beetle, the black carpet beetle, and the common carpet beetle. Adult carpet beetles are usually less than 1/4 inch long and have a mottled appearance. Their larvae are covered in small hairs and are often referred to as “woolly bears” because of their fuzzy appearance.
- What are Carpet Beetles?
- Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
- Causes of Carpet Beetle Infestations
- Prevention of Carpet Beetle Infestations
- How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Naturally
- Chemical Treatments for Carpet Beetle Infestations
- How to Clean and Protect Your Home from Carpet Beetles
- When to Call a Professional Exterminator
Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
There are several signs that homeowners should look for if they suspect a carpet beetle infestation. These include:
- Small, oval-shaped beetles on walls, floors, or windowsills
- Small holes in carpets, clothing, or other fabrics
- Shed skins or fecal pellets of carpet beetle larvae
- An unpleasant odor caused by dead carpet beetles
Causes of Carpet Beetle Infestations
Carpet beetles are attracted to natural fibers, such as wool, silk, and cotton. They can also be attracted to pet hair, feathers, and dead insects. Homeowners can unwittingly bring carpet beetles into their homes on clothing, furniture, or other items that have been stored in areas where carpet beetles are present. Poor housekeeping and infrequent cleaning can also contribute to the growth of carpet beetle populations.
Prevention of Carpet Beetle Infestations
There are several steps that homeowners can take to prevent carpet beetle infestations. These include:
- Regular cleaning and vacuuming of carpets, furniture, and other fabrics
- Proper storage of clothing and other items in sealed plastic containers
- Regular washing of bedding and linens
- Elimination of any dead insects or birds from the home
- Sealing of cracks and crevices in walls and floors to prevent entry of carpet beetles
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Naturally
There are several natural methods that can be used to get rid of carpet beetles. These include:
- Freezing infested items: placing infested items in the freezer for at least 72 hours can kill all life stages of carpet beetles.
- Heat treatment: exposing infested items to high temperatures (above 120°F) can kill carpet beetles.
- Diatomaceous earth: this powder, made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, can be sprinkled on carpets, furniture, and other fabrics to kill carpet beetles.
Chemical Treatments for Carpet Beetle Infestations
In severe cases, homeowners may need to use chemical treatments to eliminate carpet beetle infestations. These treatments should be used with caution and only as a last resort. Common chemical treatments for carpet beetles include:
- Insecticides: these can be applied directly to infested areas, such as carpets, furniture, and closets. Some insecticides may also be used to treat cracks and crevices in walls and floors.
- Insect growth regulators: these are chemicals that prevent the development of carpet beetle larvae, preventing them from maturing into adults and reproducing.
How to Clean and Protect Your Home from Carpet Beetles
Cleaning and maintaining a clean home is essential in preventing carpet beetle infestations. Here are some cleaning tips to help protect your home from these pests:
- Vacuum carpets, furniture, and other fabrics regularly to remove any carpet beetle eggs or larvae.
- Wash bedding, curtains, and other linens in hot water.
- Store clothing and other items in sealed plastic containers.
- Eliminate any dead insects or birds from the home.
- Seal cracks and crevices in walls and floors to prevent entry of carpet beetles.
When to Call a Professional Exterminator
In some cases, a carpet beetle infestation may be too large or too difficult for homeowners to handle on their own. In these cases, it may be necessary to call in a professional exterminator. A professional can assess the extent of the infestation and recommend the best course of action to eliminate the pests.
Can carpet beetles cause harm to humans?
Carpet beetles do not typically bite humans, but their shed skins and fecal pellets can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people.
How can I tell the difference between carpet beetle damage and moth damage?
Carpet beetle damage typically appears as small, irregular holes in fabrics, while moth damage appears as larger, more uniform holes.
Can carpet beetles fly?
Yes, some species of carpet beetles are capable of flying.
What should I do if I find carpet beetles in my home?
Begin by thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming all carpets, furniture, and fabrics. Consider using natural or chemical treatments to eliminate the infestation, and call a professional exterminator if necessary.
Are there any plants or essential oils that repel carpet beetles?
Yes, lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils are known to repel carpet beetles. Placing sachets of these oils or planting these plants near entrances to the home can help deter carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles are a common pest in homes, but they can be eliminated with the proper methods and preventative measures. Regular cleaning, storage of items in sealed containers, and treatment with natural or chemical methods can help prevent and eliminate carpet beetle infestations. If the infestation is severe, it may be necessary to call in a professional exterminator for assistance.