Carpet beetles are persistent pests that can cause severe damage to your carpets, clothing, and other fabrics. This article will teach you how to get rid of carpet beetles so you can have a healthy environment.
First, you need to verify that you have carpet beetles.
Familiarize yourself with common clues that indicate a potential carpet beetle problem and make yourself aware of how carpet beetles look. Fecal pellets and shed skins are the most common signs of infestation. You can also expect to see carpet beetles in both adult and larvae forms. Most adult carpet beetles are oval-shaped and only a little larger than the head of a pin. They can come in a range of colors, but most have some form of black and gray or black and brown patterns. Some varieties also have yellow or white on their backs. Carpet beetles move slowly and roll over when touched. The larvae of the carpet beetle usually have brown bands running across the body, along with long hair-like extension toward one or both ends.
Search for the source.
A heavier concentration of carpet beetles, cast skins, or fecal pellets is a good indication that a certain location is the primary source of the infestation. Carpet beetles are drawn to the fabric. They can be found in the carpet, especially if that carpeting is in a closet or other dark location, but they are also drawn to clothing, upholstered furniture, and items made of fur or feathers. Non-fabric items that attract carpet beetles include food cabinets, dog food, fresh flowers, and paint brushes. Also check dark, undisturbed locations like air ducts, baseboards, and attics.
Vacuum the carpet.
Thoroughly vacuum all carpeted areas in your home. Focus on the primary source of the infestation, but vacuum the entire home to ensure that all beetles have been removed. Also vacuum any upholstered furniture or other fabric-covered areas that cannot be washed in a washing machine. While you have a carpet beetle infestation, you should vacuum your home at least once a day for a week or more. You may even need to vacuum multiple times each day for the first few days, depending on how bad the infestation is.
Throw away infested clothes.
If a particular clothing item has already been eaten away, it is best to simply discard it. Keeping infested garments increases your risk of being unable to stop the infestation. Even if you do not see any carpet beetles on the material, there is still some risk of the beetles remaining there.
Wash your clothes.
All clothing that is not stored in airtight containers should be washed in hot, soapy water. Linens, towels, and other fabrics should also be washed in the washing machine using hot, soapy water. For particularly bad infestations, you may even need to steam clean your carpet and upholstered furniture. Carpet beetles can be extremely resilient. Hot water is more effective against them than cold water, and the use of detergent is advised because soap can help kill these pests.
Use a spray or dust that is specifically labeled for use against carpet beetles and follow the instructions on the label to apply the insecticide to your carpet. In general, carpet treatment insecticides that contain chlorpyrifos, bendiocarb, and allethrin are the most effective against carpet beetles. Aside from broad carpet treatments, spot treatments can be applied in cracks and crevices where carpet beetles might be hiding.
Add an insect growth regulator, to your standard insecticide during application. These insecticides act as birth control to the beetles, preventing them from reproducing.
Try dusting infested areas with boric acid for a solution that is non-toxic for humans. It kills nearly any insect it comes into contact with, but it does have a bleaching effect and should not be used on dark materials. Take necessary precautions when applying insecticide. Wear gloves and protective clothing, and leave the area for a while as the insecticide disperses through the air. Wash your hands after application.
Image Credits: Brooker Pest Control