Got carpet beetles? Want to get rid of carpet beetles? You’re not alone.
Carpet beetles are one of the most devastation and relevant pets in all of North America and other first-world countries (and even third-worlds).
You’ll find them all throughout the nation and chances are you’ve already seen some before in your house but didn’t even know that it was a carpet beetle.
You’ll have to get rid of them quickly as they’ll easily eat up anything found in your home, so don’t consider them just a nuisance- they’re much more than that! And then some!
This guide will teach you some DIY methods that you can use to naturally get rid of carpet beetles for good, and some other techniques for those that are dealing with a carpet beetle population that’s gone crazy.
Ready to take your home back from these pets? Read on.
Last updated: 12/30/19.
What are carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles are some of the most abundant beetles out of the 350K known beetles beetle species on the planet, which actually account for more than 25% of the total lifeforms on Earth.
And this doesn’t even count the ones that have yet to be discovered by scientists.
Beetles are prevalent on nearly every continent and in every biosphere. Although humans will never come into contact with every single beetle species, one that the majority of humans have faced is actually right in their own home- the carpet beetle.
The carpet beetle beats out all other beetles as one of the most common household pests in all of North America and will be discovered in even the most hygienic and cleanest homes throughout the country.
When you first find beetles around your home, chances are that it’s a carpet beetle.
You’ll need to act fast because these beetles are actually pretty dangerous compared to other types of beetles you’ll encounter in the household. This is because they’ll eat anything and everything.
So read on for ways you can get rid of carpet beetles quickly and permanently (assuming you keep your maintenance up!).
Nearly every household will have carpet beetles- the problem is when they become too prevalent.
Where do they live?
Carpet beetles will be found all over North America and all over the rest of the planet.
Typically, they actually prefer to live indoors where it’s cozy and warm with plenty of food, but they’re also found outdoors.
Of course, if you’re reading this, you probably have carpet beetles in the home because food and shelter are much easier for them to get a hold of within your household.
Within the house, they tend to be found where it’s dark and damp, such as furniture, cabinets, beds, baseboards, closets, and even your car!
They inhabit areas near food and water sources, so you’ll find them slowly crawling around carpet edges, door frames, upholstered furniture, walls, sinks, kitchen areas, and of course, across the carpet.
Breeding and reproduction
Just like eating, carpet beetles will breed continuously as long as there’s food and suitable shelter present.
There are many carpet beetle species, but the majority will easily produce up to 4 generations per annum. They’ll find food, then shelter, then start eating and reproducing. Eggs are laid as soon as they enter your home for the first time.
This is why it’s difficult to get rid of them when they get in because they’ll lay eggs nonstop and it’s very easy to miss a cluster of eggs which will hatch later after you thought you got rid of all of them.
They’ll lay them anywhere that’s warm and sheltered that simulates their natural outdoor environment where they’ll lay eggs with bird nests, mouse nests, newspaper, leaf litter, thatch, and even woodpiles.
They’re not picky as cigarette beetles as long as they have easy access to a plentiful food source.
Carpet beetles have many variations, but they typically range from 1.7 to 3.5mm, which is about 0.07 to 0.14”.
From above, the body looks spherical with fine scales of various colors that range from white, orange, and various other combinations.
The colors are symmetrical across the body. The white scales are on the lateral edges and they have a pair of antennae with 3 segments.
You can see carpet beetles with the naked eye. They’ll look like small, rounded beetles that move very slowly.
When they’re in larvae form, they’re worm-like in appearance.
The adult female lays eggs typically indoors, but may lay eggs in bird nests, mice, and even other pets. They mate near sources of light and more than 100 eggs are laid at a single time. Larvae hatch in about 35 days and larvae will roam without food for weeks if needed.
After that, the pupae will morph, then the adult emerges during the spring or summer. Carpet beetles will develop from young adults to adults within the course of 1-2 years, depending on temperatures and food.
Egg and pupa don’t move, as they’re not mobile during this part of the carpet beetle life cycle. And the eggs are very small and nearly invisible to the naked eye.
But homeowners will notice the shed larval and pupal skins, young adults or adults, or even flying adult. This is when people start to take notice- other than damaged furniture and clothing.
After becoming adults, as previously stated, they can fly and therefore migrate easily from one location to another in search of food and shelter.
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The cycle then repeats when the female is matured. This means they can go from one room to another in your house easily!
What causes carpet beetles?
Nothing more than food and shelter. As long as those are present, that’s all that’s needed for them to be a real pest.
How do you know if have carpet beetles?
Pretty easy to notice once their numbers turn up.
You’ll see them flying, their larvae wriggling, and shed pupae. You’ll also notice damage to your clothes, fabrics, and other natural fibers.
What are they attracted to? What do they eat?
Carpet beetles will literally eat anything.
This is why it’s imperative you get rid of them as quickly as possible. They breed very quickly if you provide them with food and water and leave them alone
And soon, you’ll find them all over your house. Everywhere.
Sadly, this is when people first start noticing them since they’re so small and will require a lot of them around to spark any notice.
Carpet beetles will eat carpet. Literally. They’ll also eat leather, clothing, blankets, pet hair, human skin, crumbs, bugs, furniture, and any food that you leave behind (including pet food).
They’re like eating machines that have voracious appetites and can do permanent damage to your belongings and upholstery before you even notice.
They’ll eat animal dander, features, lint, pet hair, furniture fabrics, carpet fabrics, furs, rodent nesting materials, and anything non-synthetic.
Do carpet beetles have diseases?
Thankfully, they don’t have any diseases you need to be concerned about.
They don’t transmit or carry anything known diseases that are harmful to humans, so you won’t get sick from finding them in your home or food (or water).
But that doesn’t mean your property is safe- they’ll start chowing down on all the stuff you own. So get rid of them fast!
How do get them in the house?
The most reasonable and basic explanation for this is because they’re attracted to the food source within your house.
Sure, you may be the cleanest person ever, but can you really keep your house carpet-free? Or curtain-free? Or even furniture free?
Carpet beetles eat a lot more than their name says. They’ll eat up your furnishings, carpets, and even your bedsheets. Oh, and your food too. So this is why they’re so omnipresent all over the nation- because there’s a food source in every single home.
The best thing you can do when you first notice them is to start cleaning up your house, protecting everything you want to protect, and try to prevent further infestation of carpet beetles.
Note that they can also migrate to your car, closet, and even wall voids, attacks, and basements.
Are carpet beetles harmful to humans?
Other than crawling on your skin at night and around your house, they won’t necessarily transmit disease or harm you.
Carpet beetles won’t bite either, contrary to popular belief. They eat your skin that’s been shed, your oily hair, and your clothes, but they won’t directly bite your skin.
People with allergies may trigger some allergic reaction which may be mistaken for a carpet beetle bite easily. But they don’t bite, so let’s get that straight.
Other than eating your belongings, they won’t harm you directly.
Do they live in walls?
Yes. Carpet beetles will inhabit your wall voids, not to mention attics and basements.
Any crawl space is fair game for carpet beetles, as long as there’s a source of food. And remember, they eat anything and everything, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t live in your wall voids.
Although they can, you likely won’t find them there unless they haven’t made their way into your living quarters within your house yet. If you find them in your walls, this could be the start of a carpet beetle invasion, and you need to do something about it quickly before they start invading your home even further.
Carpet beetles definitely prefer living where humans live because of the plentiful source of food.
So even if they’re in your walls now, when they find a source of more food (e.g. in your kitchen), they’ll start moving into your territory. So eliminate them quickly.
To get rid carpet beetles in your wall voids, use DIY traps, mothballs, essential oil traps, borax, and other techniques outlines on this guide.
Read them all and use the ones that apply to your situation. Since wall infestations are a broad subject, I’d urge and suggest for you to try each one and see which one works best.
They also feed in the dark, so being in a wall void is an ideal environment for carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles and essential oils
You can use a few different essential oils to kill and repel carpet beetles from your home. The most common oils are peppermint oil and clove oil, as these two oils will kill carpet beetles upon contact.
If you’ve never had experience using these oils before, be careful.
They’re extremely powerful and the scent will linger around your home for weeks. So be warned if you’re planning to go this route.
You can dilute the solution by using distilled water. The more water you add, the less potent it’ll be. Find a good balance between the two so you can get a DIY carpet beetle killer that’s cheap, effective, natural, and works.
Simply mix a bit of peppermint or clove oil with some water and spray it where you see suspect beetle activity.
Do carpet beetles live in beds?
You should know the answer to this by now.
Carpet beetles eat anything. And your bed provides a source of fiber, oils, and skin from your own body.
Carpet beetles are known to come out at night and feed, so beds make the perfect feeding ground because you sleep in it on a routine and leave behind plenty of food, dander, skin, or anything else for them to munch on.
Carpet beetles will even come out at night time to eat off the essential oils shed by your body, pets, and anything else that’s carried into your bed.
This is why getting rid of them quickly is important. Unless you don’t mind them feeding off your skin while you sleep.
How to trap carpet beetles
You can sticky traps from your local hardware store.
These traps work well to see how far you’ve gotten in exterminating the beetle population. Don’t depend on these traps to catch them and kill them, these are better off to use as a gauge to see how you’re doing.
The fewer bugs you see over time, the less of the population is in that area. Remember to place them where you see activity so you can gauge if that area is still a problem.
Carpet beetles in the car
Carpet beetles can definitely infest your car as well.
They don’t care that it moves around (or not). As long as there’s a source of food, they’ll be happy.
Since the majority of cars are either leather or cloth, that’s a plentiful food source. Add crumbs from crackers, coffee spills, and soft drink stains, and they have a whole buffet of food.
Note that pets, kids, and other passengers will also bring in food sources from their clothes, pockets, and even shoe soles.
To get rid of carpet beetles in your car, you’ll have to vacuum, steam clean, and use a soapy cloth to wipe everything down. the good part is that your car is isolated, so it’s easier to clean up carpet beetles and their eggs.
Just be patient and give it a consistent cleaning, and don’t introduce more dirt or food sources into your car.
The carpet beetles should be relatively easy to get rid of with patience, maintaining hygiene, and keeping it clean.
That’s the key. Keep your car clean and the beetles will go away. There’s no secret- just keep it clean!
Carpet beetles in the closet
Carpet beetles love to feed in the dark. And they love clothes.
So it makes sense that you’ll find them crawling around your closet eating up your clothing.
The solution is to take out the clothes, empty the closet, and laundry everything.
Use a combo of cleaning recipes found throughout this guide, create your own pesticide (also found below), and leave the closet empty until you’re sure the beetles have been exterminated.
Protecting your furniture
Carpet beetles will happily munch on your furnishings including your sofa, couch, rugs, carpet, drapes, dining tables, and anything else that’s fabric or wood.
The best way to protect your furniture from carpet beetles is to simply get some kind of resistant cover, such as a plastic cover for your furnishings.
Store everything that can fit in a plastic bag or cover as you see fit. Smaller objects like couch pillows can be stored safely in plastic inside a dark area to deter carpet beetles.
Try to store them in brighter areas, as carpet beetles only feed in the dark and may find their way through the plastic.
Remember, storage of your furniture is only temporary until you get rid of them.
So you’ll only have to stash and protect them temporarily, unless you don’t plan to use the furniture much, then you can store it for extended periods.
Vacuum existing furniture and clean them regularly. Use DIY pesticide for carpet beetles as mentioned in this guide to get rid of them and deter them.
You can also opt for synthetic fibers over natural ones, especially for your carpet and rugs. They’re not as attracted to fake materials over real ones, so they won’t eat them.
Carpet beetle insecticide
Other than essential oils covered in this guide, you can make your own DIY pesticide for carpet beetles.
Here are a few recipes you can try at home:
This needs no specific recipe.
You can spray rubbing alcohol directly onto the beetles and also use it to clean surfaces that have beetle activity.
They won’t lay eggs or crawl on surfaces that have been sprayed with isopropyl alcohol.
So you can use this stuff on your bed, furniture, walls, surfaces, and other various areas where you see carpet beetles. Use 91% straight rubbing alcohol. No need to dilute this stuff.
Use a 1:3 bleach to water mixture and use it clean your cabinets, surfaces, and anywhere else you see beetles.
Note that this is a dangerous recipe and not intended for areas with kids/pets. Use it as how you’d use bleach. This will kill carpet beetles and their eggs right away.
Getting rid of carpet beetles (DIY style)
Here are some techniques you can use to get rid of the DIY style, naturally.
You should definitely attempt these methods first before you use pesticides because those are dangerous and often toxic to pets and children (and yourself).
So always start with organic/natural methods of carpet beetle removal before bringing out the big guns.
Washing clothes and laundry
Throwing your clothes, sheets, rugs, drapes, and other washables will kill carpet beetles that are present on them.
The heat, soap, and laundry detergent will all eliminate the beetles and any eggs they laid. This is a good practice if you notice them within your fabrics, as this provides an easy way to eliminate them off the bat.
Keep on schedule when you’re dealing with them. Wash your fabrics weekly during this time and keep patient as you’re dealing with the problem.
You’ll feel like you’re just wasting water, but throw this stuff with the rest of your laundry during this time as it’s critical that they don’t escape from your other traps and migrate into your fabrics.
Washing will help get rid of them faster and prevent an escape route for the rogue beetles that run away.
Moth traps (mothballs)
You can use mothballs and place them in areas where you see activity- including rugs, curtains, and your clothing
Carpet beetles will wander into the mothball traps and get killed over time. However, these traps and mothballs won’t repel them.
Of course, you wouldn’t want a mothball to repel them or else they’ll never fall for the trap.
So you can use mothballs or moth traps to kill them, though it’s a passive approach and will take time.
Use these are a backup line of defense to get rid of them, but don’t depend on them to take care of all the carpet beetles in your home.
Vinegar and carpet beetles
Vinegar is another excellent will repel and kill carpet beetles.
Use white or apple cider vinegar to do a deep clean through your house, counters, furniture, clothes, shelves, drawers, hangers, window sills, closets, cupboards, and even your car.
Dab vinegar onto a large cloth and distill it with some water (7 parts vinegar, 3 parts water) and use it to clean up.
This is a safe, mild, and natural way to kill carpet beetles and also prevent them from entering your home in the future for a short period of time, as they’re repelled by the scent of the vinegar and the deep clean will keep them starving.
For extra power, you can add some borax to the mixture. This will make it a lot more powerful and deadly to carpet beetles and their eggs.
Be careful with this new mixture, as this DIY recipe is still natural, but it’s a lot more powerful and you don’t want to stay in contact with it or use it where pets and humans may consistently be in contact with the pesticide.
Even though borax is natural, it’s not made to be in contact with constantly. Use with caution.
Diatomaceous earth (DE)
This is a fine white dust that’s found naturally in the earth’s surface.
You can use this to dust areas where you see activity and will slowly wear out the beetle’s outer layer of protection.
This is an all-natural solution to killing them and you can get it at any hardware store. Go for the food-grade version if possible.
And always take precaution before attempting to use this stuff around pets, children, or other living creatures and people.
Sunlight or regular lighting
Carpet beetles don’t like sunlight or well-lit areas of your home.
Use this as a weapon by opening up your windows or curtains to let the light shine. This will deter them and also the UV light will kill bacteria throughout your home.
Use well-lit lighting to drive carpet beetles away into hiding, but note that these two methods won’t’ kill them. They’ll simply deter them.
Hot and cold will both easily kill carpet beetles.
This is why you can throw your fabrics into the laundry without worry of the beetles coming back out. Just throw them in there and the cold/hot wash cycle will kill all the beetles and any eggs they laid.
You can also use a steam cleaner to clean your house, furniture, car, and other areas where beetles are present.
Like mothballs, cedar can also be used to kill them. It’s an approach that’ll take time, but works without needing your constant attention. Get cedar at the hardware store and place it around areas where you see carpet beetles, they’ll be killed over time.
This approach won’t repel them, only kill.
Don’t use it as your only line of defense, because they can still escape or migrate and continue breeding elsewhere away from the cedarwood.
This is the most obvious way to get rid of carpet beetles.
Vacuuming on a schedule and frequently will suck up most carpet beetles and their eggs. Make sure you get all the right spots, typically where you see them.
Get carpets, carpets edges, walls, curtains, and even the furniture and bedsheets (and bed itself).
You’ll want to vacuum your house thoroughly to clear the infestation. Repeat a cleaning schedule weekly- go for twice a week if you can.
Borax will kill carpet beetles over time.
This stuff is made from natural compounds and you can find it in the laundry aisle at your local department store.
You can use this by doing the following to kill carpet beetles:
- Get a cup of borax and a small tablespoon.
- Scoop up a spoonful.
- Sprinkle it lightly around your carpet edges, rugs, furniture.
- Don’t sprinkle it directly on the carpet that’s found in high-traffic areas, as your steps will remove some borax each time you step on it and render it ineffective.
- Go for the edges and pretend you’re building a barrier around your carpet. Use it where there’s less foot traffic.
- Leave it there during the course of your carpet beetle removal.
- Vacuum it up when the beetles are all gone.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how to use borax to kill bugs in general, but you can apply the same method to carpet beetles:
Steaming cleaning is a perfect alternative to vacuuming. This will kill the beetles instantly and kill their eggs. Clean as you would with vacuuming.
Using hot temperatures from your dryer will instantly kill carpet beetles. Use this for rugs, curtains, and bedsheets/blanket.
How to stop carpet beetles from infesting your house
There are a few things you can do to prevent carpet beetles from infesting your home.
Here are a few tips:
Opt for synthetic fibers. Carpet beetles don’t like fake fibers for their food, so get synthetic rugs, curtains, furnishing, and any other fabrics you can replace with synthetic fiber.
Store all your necessary clothing and furniture in plastic, then seal them so they’re airtight. This will prevent them from being fed on by carpet beetles, assuming you can’t sell or donate them in the first place.
Get a cleaning schedule. Clean up your place on a routine. Vacuum regularly. Spray your counters and surfaces with rubbing alcohol and clean regularly. Use moth traps to monitor any activity from carpet beetles.
Clean your pets. Give them showers and wash them if possible.
Practice good household maintenance. Seal up cracked foundations. Keep your plants and trees trimmed.
Keep your garden and foundation around your house clean and maintained. Check your house for cracks and fill them with caulk. Block up any voids. If you notice an issue, be proactive and take care of the problem!
How long does it take to get rid of carpet beetles?
Depends on how bad the beetle infestation is.
If you’ve been ignoring the problem or you didn’t notice for quite some time, it’ll take much longer to get rid of them. It also depends on your plan to get rid of them.
If you go for an aggressive method, you’ll get rid of them faster if it’s effective. If you use a more passive approach, it’ll take longer.
So this depends on what you do and the approach you take to get rid of the beetle infestation.
For smaller infestations, you can get rid of them within 30 days if you’re consistent.
The populate will be drastically smaller or og&e.
For medium infection, it can take a few months to get rid of them. You’ll need to use a more extreme approach for the fastest results.
For large infestations, it can take a very long time to get rid of all of them. This may not even be possible because they’ll constantly breed new nymphs as you try to get rid of one portion of the entire colony.
Depending on your approach, this will vary in time to get rid of them.
Did you get rid of the carpet beetles?
That’s all I have for you, folks.
If you’ve successfully reduced the carpet beetle population, let me know in the comments section below. Or if you’re struggling and need help, leave a comment as well and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.
If you’ve dealt with carpet beetles before and have some words of advice to give, let us know as well!
You could be helping someone out who’s in need right now and could use your advice!
Now get those carpet beetles under control and outta your house permanently!
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.