How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Need to know how to get rid of carpet beetles? You’re in the right place!

Here at ScherZinger, we believe knowledge is power. When you have just a little bit of knowledge about pests, you’re better able to identify and eliminate a pest problem! That’s why our Pest Library and blog are filled with great information about a wide variety of pests that might infiltrate your home.

Today, we’re talking about carpet beetles: what they are, how they’re different from bed bugs, how to spot the signs of an infestation, and (most importantly) how to get rid of carpet beetles.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

Carpet Beetles 101

Carpet beetles are a common pest that, in their larvae state, infest animal-based materials. (Think wool, felt, fur, silk, feathers, leather, antlers, etc.) In addition, this pest can live off of lint, hair, and even other dead insects! Some varieties of carpet beetle also infest plant-based materials like seeds, cereal, and pet food. Because of their varied diet, carpet beetles can be found almost anywhere in the home.

Carpet beetles most commonly attack items including:

  • Carpets
  • Sweaters
  • Scarves
  • Coats
  • Blankets and comforters
  • Pillows
  • Upholstery
  • Other decorative items

These little pests do the most damage to items that are stored or not regularly in use. For example, many homeowners learn they have carpet beetles after pulling a wool sweater out of winter storage and finding it full of holes.

Left unchecked, carpet beetles can wreak havoc on your possessions!

Carpet Beetles vs. Bed Bugs

If you’re not a pest professional, you might have some trouble identifying pests—especially when they look very similar. However, it’s important to know which pest is pestering you! Different pests can have wildly different elimination strategies. (You don’t want to find out that you’ve been taking pest control steps that don’t work for the pest you actually have!)

Homeowners often confuse carpet beetles with bed bugs. After all, both pests are small, brownish in color, and apple seed-shaped, with six legs and two antennae. Both might be found in your bedroom. How can you tell the difference? Let’s break it down.

Carpet beetles are:

  • Very small, about 1/16-1/8 of an inch
  • Oval-shaped (as adults) or longer and worm-shaped (as larvae)
  • Black or mottled brown in color, with patterns of white, brown, yellow, and orange (as adults) or tan to brown in color (as larvae)
  • Densely covered in hairs in their larvae state

Bed bugs are:

  • Small, about 3/16 of an inch long in their adult state
  • Oval-shaped
  • Flat
  • Reddish-brown in color as adults
  • As nymphs, slightly smaller and lighter in color than adult bed bugs

Carpet beetles and bed bugs are similar, but the difference in color should help you identify which is which. (Of course, if you aren’t sure, ScherZinger is happy to help!)

Since both of these pests are tricky to spot, it’s more likely that you’ll identify other signs of an infestation before you see the bug itself.

Spot the Signs of Carpet Beetles

By knowing the signs of carpet beetles, you can spot an infestation early and avoid disaster! Here are a few of the most common signs.

#1 Holes in clothes, rugs, furniture, etc.

Finding multiple small holes in items like wool sweaters, rugs, or furniture upholstery is a good indicator of a carpet beetle infestation. This is usually the first indication a homeowner or renter gets that they have a carpet beetle problem.

One important note: carpet beetles aren’t the only pest that leaves holes in clothes (moths do, also). Because of this, you’ll need to look for other signs to confirm.

#2 Adult carpet beetles by your windows

While carpet beetle larvae feed on animal-based materials, adult carpet beetles actually feed on pollen. That’s why you’ll find adult carpet beetles near windows: they are moving toward the outside and their food source.

#3 Carpet beetle skins and fecal matter

As they grow from larvae to adult, carpet beetles shed their skins numerous times. Finding shed skins and brown or black droppings at the base of your wardrobe, in storage chests, and below your furniture are clear signs of carpet beetles.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Knowing you have carpet beetles is one thing; getting rid of them is another! Once you’re sure you have a carpet beetle infestation, it’s time to put together a plan of attack. Here are our top five tips for combatting carpet beetles.

#1 Locate and clean all infested items.

All items that are infested or vulnerable to infestation should be found and either laundered, dry cleaned, or thrown away. Dry cleaning can kill eggs and larvae, as can hot water and heat from the dryer.

It’s important to make sure you get every single item that’s infested: if you miss any, the infestation can continue! Carpet beetle larvae can live for months, quietly chewing through your possessions.

#2 Freeze items that can’t be laundered.

Some items (fur coats, taxidermy decorations, etc.) can’t be laundered or dry cleaned. To save these items, you can freeze them. Before freezing, you should place the items in plastic bags.

An important note: in order to kill carpet beetles, the items must be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one week!

#3 Vacuum floors, carpets, furniture, and heating vents.

Vacuuming can help remove larvae as well as hair, lint, dead insects, and other carpet beetle food sources. Regular vacuuming both helps control a current infestation and prevent future infestations.

We recommend vacuuming carpets (including along the edges), baseboards, underneath furniture, inside closets, and any other areas where carpet beetles may hide.

#4 Apply insecticide.

Insecticide sprays may be used on infested rugs and carpets to treat carpet beetles. However, insecticide should not be used on clothing or bedding! Always follow the insecticide instructions to the letter.

It’s extremely important to be cautious with insecticides. Improper use can be hazardous to your health, your children’s health, and your pet’s health. For example, did you know that moth balls are actually an insecticide? Moth balls should never be scattered in open closets or left in areas accessible to children or pets.

If you don’t feel comfortable applying insecticides yourself, we recommend tip #5.

#5 Contact pest control professionals.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you have carpet beetles, or you need help dealing with an infestation, ScherZinger Pest Control is here for you.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.