Carpet beetles enter your home in countless ways: hitchhiking with cut flowers, clothes, or pets, or just flying through an open window. Once inside, carpet beetles (Dermestids) can settle down and lay their eggs, and their larvae can really wreak havoc on carpets, curtains, upholstery, and even clothing. Don’t give them a chance to do any real harm. Once you spot one of these little bugs, follow this multi-pronged strategy to get rid of carpet beetles quickly.
In the adult stage, these creepy culprits are less than 1/4 inch long and come in black or a combination of tan, white and black. They tend to congregate around windows and doorways – so check these areas if you suspect an infestation. Annoyingly, adult carpet beetles are harmless; only in the larval stage do they pose a threat to natural fibers. These tiny worm-like larvae prefer dark areas behind closets and skirting boards, making them difficult to observe with the naked eye.
Identify the infection
Sometimes, the only way to know about you is the damage they cause, such as a bare spot on a rug, a hole in your clothing, or a wormhole in a book. So, if you need an excuse to do spring cleaning, this is it. Spring is the time of year when carpet beetles head straight to your home. Since dust bunnies, cobwebs, dead bugs, and shed pet fur are open invitations to larvae, keep your duster, vacuum cleaner, and broom busy. Next, look through stored clothing for damaged or infected items. Washing will kill active larvae, but any wool, leather, fur, or a delicate item that can’t be thrown in the washing machine will require professional dry cleaning.
The good news is that once you’ve identified their presence, you can usually get rid of carpet beetles without spending an exterminator.
Ways to get rid carpet beetles
Vanquish Carpet Beetles Didn’t Call Pro! Here are three ways to attack destructive larvae, and a treatment that can get rid of adult carpet beetles.
- Insecticide: Deter active larval infestation by treating carpets or upholstery with an insecticide containing at least one of the following ingredients: deltamethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin.Test an inconspicuous small area before treating the entire carpet to make sure the product won’t stain.Many insecticides warn against use around people and pets, so strictly follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions.
- Boric acid: Boric acid, as a poison for insect metabolism, is only harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled in large quantities.Find it at the drugstore and lightly and evenly dust your carpet with the powder, then use a broom or brush to distribute it into the fibers.Wait a few hours and vacuum thoroughly.You can also prepare a larvicidal spray by adding a tablespoon of boric acid to two cups of hot water and stirring until the powder dissolves.Fill a plastic spray bottle with the solution and mist curtains, upholstery, baseboards, dark nooks and crannies where carpet beetle larvae hang out.
- diatomite: Another natural product, diatomaceous earth (available at agricultural feed stores) is a desiccant that kills larvae quickly by dehydrating them.Treat the rug as described above for boric acid, and sprinkle some on the backs of cabinets and closets, as well as on pet beds.Choose “food grade” diatomaceous earth, which is safe for pets and humans, but wear a respirator or face mask when using it to avoid inhaling fine dust particles.
- fog: While they’re no longer chewing your property, adult female carpet beetles lay eggs and can start the whole nasty process again.Use a flying insect sprayer to effectively eradicate adult beetles, and keep flying insect sprays to attack any strays or newcomers.
Prevention Against future infestation
The best treatment is always a dose of prevention. Deter adult carpet beetles from entering your home by hanging sticky flypaper strips near windows. If you find yourself dealing with repeated infestations, place sticky pheromone-type traps in windowsills and closets to deter carpet beetles before they have a chance to lay eggs.