While people usually talk about bed bugs and dust mites, there’s another pest you want to remove from your home: the carpet beetle!
These beetles make holes in natural fibers, such as leather, wool, and silk.
How do you know that you have carpet beetles?
When you find holes in your upholstery, carpet, or clothing, that’s a sure sign you’re dealing with carpet beetles.
Bear in mind that if you’re finding carpet beetles inside your home, that’s a sign that their larvae and eggs are present, too.
With that in mind, let’s look at how to remove and prevent carpet beetles from your house for good.
What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?
If you want to eliminate them, you first need to know what they look like.
Carpet beetles have oval-shaped bodies that are patterned with black, yellow, and white. Some have a bit of orange on them, too.
Carpet beetles will be between one and four millimetres in length when they’re fully grown, and their larvae will be 2.5 centimetres in length. Carpet beetle larvae are light brown or black in colour, and have hair over their bodies.
Where Should You Look For Carpet Beetles In The Home?
Although their name might make you assume they’re only found in carpets, the truth is that carpet beetles like to hide in secluded, dark areas of the home, so they can be found in beds, linen, drapes, and clothing.
Fabrics containing keratin, an animal protein, are what carpet beetle larvae are attracted to because they can easily digest them. These fabrics include fur, silk, feathers, leather, and wool.
Synthetic fabrics like rayon are not usually attacked by carpet beetles, unless they contain wool or are stained with food or body oils.
Beetle larvae will feed on fabrics where they won’t be disturbed by predators, so be sure to look for them in the folds of fabric, such as that of curtains.
While these pests are often confused with clothes moths, carpet beetles are different in that they can also infest foods, such as dried cereals and pasta, pet food, and seeds. These are therefore also places to keep an eye out for them in the home.
Are Carpet Beetles Dangerous?
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about them biting you because carpet beetles don’t bite humans.
However, they can still harm you if you’re allergic to them because their hairs can irritate your skin, resulting in rashes.
The biggest danger about carpet beetles is that they will eat through various fabrics, damaging them. When carpet beetles reach maturity, they like to feed on flower pollen and don’t attack your fabrics.
However, you might find them on your window sills. It’s still good to remove the beetles from your home during this stage of their life because the females can lay between 50 and 100 eggs on or near various materials in the home!
They sometimes tend to lay eggs in unexpected places, such as on pet hair in air vents. If you allow them to lay eggs, you’ll continue having a pest invasion problem!
How To Eliminate And Prevent Carpet Beetles In The Home
- Since carpet beetles like easy-to-eat food, they will look for fabrics that are already a bit damaged. Store your clothing away in airtight containers.
- Carpet beetles will also eat things like dust, hairballs, lint, and even dead insects. This is why it’s important to remove these food sources from your home. Make sure you vacuum, dust, and sweep your home regularly.
- If you have fabric items in storage, such as old clothing or old carpets, make sure you have them cleaned regularly.
- Always store food in airtight containers so nothing can get in them.
- Try to clean up food debris as soon as it happens, such as on kitchen tables and countertops.
- Check any flowers or plants closely before you bring them into the home as they can be carrying carpet beetles.
- Look for any cracks around windows and doors, and seal them to prevent carpet beetles from being able to enter your home. If you’re noticing an infestation of beetles around certain windows in the home, then these should especially be inspected for any gaps.
- Wash clothing and bedding on high heat in the washing machine as this will kill carpet beetles.
- If you suspect an item in your home to have carpet beetles on it, you can wash it on high heat or put it in a freezer bag and freeze it.
- Pack away old fur and similar items if you don’t wear/use them regularly as this will prevent carpet beetles from getting to them and causing them damage.
- Sprinkle boric acid on your carpet. This is insect poison, but it’s only dangerous to humans if inhaled or consumed in large quantities. Sprinkle it evenly over your carpet, then brush it so that the powder can infiltrate deeply into the carpet’s fibres. After letting it do its work for a few hours, vacuum the carpet.
- You can also add a tablespoon of boric acid to two cups of hot water and put it in a spray bottle. This can be used to spray your curtains, baseboards, upholstery, and any small or dark areas where you suspect you could have carpet beetles, so it’s a versatile treatment to help you get rid of them.
- Treat adult female carpet beetles with a fogger. This is important to do because even though these adults won’t chew fabrics in your home they can lay eggs, increasing the risk of a carpet beetle infestation in your home. A flying insect fogger is basically a spray product that can be used outdoors, such as on patios or decks where you think you have carpet beetles. Don’t forget to spray around your windows!
- It might amaze you to learn that carpet beetles can fly. This is why they can enter your home quite easily via doors and windows, so you want to ensure you keep those closed!
How Do Carpet Beetles Get Into Your Home?
These beetles can enter your home in a variety of ways, such as via bunches of flowers or plants that you’ve brought into the home, via animal fur and skin, and by attaching themselves to furnishings or fabrics that you brought home without realising you were bringing home beetles too!
Since they can fly, they can easily enter small gaps in the home, which is why it’s important to seal any cracks.
Carpet Beetles Vs Bed Bugs: How Are They Different?
While they might be thought of as similar, carpet beetles and bed bugs are quite different. For starters, as mentioned earlier, carpet beetles don’t bite humans while you might know from experience that bed bugs do.
Here are some other differences between them.
- While they might be attracted to linen, carpet beetles don’t focus their attention on your bed in the same way that bed bugs do.
- Carpet beetles don’t feed on human blood. Bed bugs draw blood, which leaves marks on the skin. People can also be allergic to them. Similarly, people can experience allergic reactions to carpet beetles, but not from their bites. Rather, the allergies occur from exposure to the prickly hairs on their bodies.
- They’re different in size. Bed bugs are about a quarter-inch long while carpet beetles are between one-16th of an inch and one-eighth of an inch in length.
- While carpet beetles have larvae, and the larvae is bigger than the adult beetles, bed bugs don’t have larvae.
- Carpet beetles are beetles and have wings. Bed bugs don’t have wings and are therefore part of the non-flying, parasitic insect category.
- It’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between the rashes that can appear on your skin from bed bug bites versus allergic reactions to carpet beetles. But, bed bug bites tend to itch more while carpet beetles leave a rash that’s more painful.
How long do carpet beetles live?
Adult carpet beetles can live for between three and four weeks.
Are there different types of carpet beetles?
There are different types of carpet beetles, such as the varied, black, and furniture carpet beetles. They have different colours on them.
Although carpet beetles aren’t particularly harmful to human health, they can be very annoying and can damage upholstery or fabrics in your home.
If you see these small beetles in your home, you should try to remove them, such as by following the tips we’ve outlined in this article.
It’s also good to prevent them, and we’ve given you advice on how to do that so that you can keep your upholstery, furniture, and other items free from damage.