Carpet beetles are minuscule insects with an insatiable appetite for clothes and furniture, in addition to carpet fibers. These pests can wreak havoc on your home in no time, which makes it necessary to identify them correctly and eliminate them as soon as possible.
If you’re worried that you might have these little critters hiding around your house in nooks and crannies, here is some information on identifying carpet beetles and what you can do to drive them away.
Identify Carpet Beetles
Identifying carpet beetles correctly is important so that you can implement elimination techniques that work. There are various species of carpet beetles, but most adults are oval-shaped, black with white, yellow and at times, orange patterns, and grow up to 1-4 mm in length.
Larvae are usually carrot- or oval-shaped, brown or striped white and brown or brown and yellow, and 4-5 mm in length. A distinguishing feature of carpet beetle larvae is that they have coarse hair on the back. Eggs are typically cream or white in color, oval in shape with spine-like projections at one end, and measuring ¼-½ mm in length.
Carpet beetles can fly in from the outside through holes or gaps in windows and doors or through tears in screens. They can also come in with fresh flowers, so inspect bouquets before bringing them inside the house!
To make sure you have a carpet beetle infestation, look out for these signs:
- Beetles as described above that move slowly and roll over when touched.
- Beetles, larvae, and eggs in corners and hidden places like windowsills, under the carpet, edges of upholstered furniture, etc.
- Fecal pellets and shed skin on clothes, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
Vacuuming is an effective way of removing carpet beetles, so vacuum all areas where you find the pests, also going over surrounding areas. Clear cluttered areas of your house and vacuum there too, paying extra attention to the laundry room and rooms where you store clothing and linens. Don’t forget to vacuum your pet’s bedding and blankets, and all fabrics like curtains and rugs that you cannot launder!
Vacuum thoroughly every day so as to eliminate all carpet beetle adults, larvae and eggs. Spray insecticide on the floor and baseboards after vacuuming, making sure to follow safety instructions and guidelines for indoor use. Most importantly, remove the dust bag from the vacuum cleaner outdoors and discard it away from your house.
Launder all clothes that aren’t packed in air-tight boxes even if you can’t see carpet beetles on them. If you have a beetle-infested closet, start with discarding clothes that are heavily infested and beyond repair. Doing so will make it easier to stop the infestation.
- Wash clothes and other fabrics by hand or in the washing machine with hot, soapy water.
- Throw clothes in the dryer on the high heat setting for about 30 minutes.
For a full-blown carpet infestation, steam clean it by hiring a cleaner from your local hardware store. Alternatively, leave the job to professional carpet cleaners.
Extreme temperatures can kill carpet beetles and several other pests. To eliminate carpet beetles using this method, wrap fabrics in plastic bags and place in the freezer for at least 48 hours. This time-frame will ensure that the entire population – adults, larvae and eggs – is dead.
Clean Surfaces with Vinegar
Vinegar is a common kitchen ingredient that is also a natural and tough cleaning agent. Use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to scrub away grime and food stains from clothes, furniture, and carpets. Since carpet beetles are attracted to food and dust particles, cleaning surfaces with vinegar will deter these pests and others like ticks and mites from feeding off them.
Wipe surfaces like coat hangers, shelves, cupboards, drawers, window sills, etc. with a cloth dipped in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. For tough stains or in places where you find a lot of carpet beetles, use undiluted vinegar. You can also spray the vinegar-water solution onto surfaces and allow them to air-dry. Add a few drops of mint oil to the solution to create a stronger repellent.
Use Boric Acid
Boric acid is a naturally occurring compound that can effectively eliminate carpet beetles from your house. While boric acid is relatively harmless, following product labels is a must.
Use boric acid in cracks and crevices, behind baseboards and on moldings to keep carpet beetles away. Do note that boric acid might bleach fabrics, so use this compound with caution.
There are plenty of insecticides available that are specifically labelled for use in case of carpet beetle infestations. Insecticides containing bendiocarb, allethrin, and chlorpyrifos are the most effective against these critters.
Use insecticides for broad-carpet treatments or to spot treat areas like cracks, crevices, corners, or cupboards. Consider adding an insect growth regulator (IGR) to the insecticide to prevent beetles from reproducing.
As with using all other chemicals and insecticides, exercise caution and read labels before starting treatment.
Carpet beetles can cause substantial damage to your carpets, upholstered furniture, clothes and other fabrics. If you suspect that your house is infested with these pests, don’t waste any more time wondering!
With the information provided here, you now know how to identify carpet beetles, how to verify an infestation, and what steps to take to make your home pest-free. So get started on doing what’s right and say goodbye to those pesky carpet beetles!
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