How to get rid of carpet beetles - Safeguard Europe (2023)

How to get rid of carpet beetles - Safeguard Europe (1)

Carpet beetles nest between upholstered furniture and lay eggs that hatch into larvae that thirst for upholstered furniture. Carpet beetles are not just one species of beetle, but the entire family of dermestid beetles, all of which feed on natural fibers. Read on to find out how to identify common species of carpet beetle found in the UK and, most importantly, how to get rid of them.

These bugs can damage your clothing, furniture, and yes, your carpet. Carpet beetles plagued museum collections. If left unchecked, carpet beetles can cause serious damage to your home and property.

  • What do carpet beetles look like?
  • How do you recognize a carpet beetle infestation?
  • What causes carpet beetles?
  • Do carpet beetles travel with you?
  • Where do carpet beetles hide?
  • How to get rid of carpet beetles
  • Preventing future invasions
  • Fighting an active invasion of carpet beetles
  • How to vacuum thoroughly

What do carpet beetles look like?

Versatile carpet beetle

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The multifaceted carpet beetle (also known as Anthrenus verbasci) is the most common species of carpet beetle in the UK. It is a pill-shaped insect about 2 to 3 mm long, recognizable by the mottled pattern of yellow, black, and white scales on its carapace. Various carpet beetles have a squat head with two tentacles protruding.

Adult carpet beetles do not eat organic fibers. Instead, they eat pollen and feed on garden flowers. Adult females lay about 40 eggs and seek out dark, undisturbed places for this purpose.

Differentiated larvae and eggs of the carpet beetle (hairy bear).

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The variety of carpet beetle larvae is unique. They can reach a length of up to 5 mm and are therefore longer than adult carpet beetles. They are also called woolly bears because of the long hair that covers their whole body.

These hair growths are segmented and give the appearance of striped carpet beetle larvae. Hairy bears use this hair for self-defense against predatory insects such as wasps. They can detach and cause mild allergic reactions in humans.

Woolly bears are liable for damage to carpets and upholstered furniture. They feed on chitin and keratin from organic fibers. This means that in addition to carpets and upholstered furniture, they can also feed on insect scales and bird feathers.

How long do different carpet beetles live?

A variety of carpet beetles have a fairly long lifespan compared to other pests common in the UK. Once grown, they last about a month, depending on environmental conditions. However, it can take up to 10 months for the larvae to grow before they become adults.

Although hatching faster in warmer conditions, there is still plenty of time for the larvae to wreak havoc on your home. Eliminating carpet beetles is very important to protecting carpets and upholstery.

Two-spot carpet beetle

The two-spotted carpet beetle (also known as Attagenus pellio and sometimes called the fur beetle) is also common in the UK. Adult double-spotted carpet beetles are about 5 mm long. They are mostly black and covered with microscopic white hairs. Their name comes from the two distinctive white spots, one on each wing.

Larvae and eggs of two-seater carpet beetles

As with the spotted beetle, the larvae of the two-spotted beetle can grow even longer than their adult forms, reaching a length of around 7 mm. They are yellow, with dark orange segments and orange hairs. Colonic eggs are small and white. Adult females lay about 50 such individuals at a time.

How long do carpet beetles live?

Adult two-spot beetles usually live about 3 months.

How do you recognize a carpet beetle infestation?

Carpet beetles leave numerous traces of their presence throughout the home. Watch out for:

  • Connected Enclosures
  • Dead or alive carpet beetles
  • carpet beetle larvae
  • feces. They are odorless, tiny, dark grains that are usually found in clusters
  • Frayed edges from holes in carpets, clothing and leather materials.

What causes a carpet beetle infestation?

Unfortunately, carpet beetles can fly! They often get into houses through open windows and can hide in inaccessible places. They are drawn to warm places full of organic fibers, making them natural enemies of museums and libraries around the world.

In the wild, carpet beetles lay their eggs in and around bird nests, while dropped feathers and other nesting material provide food for woolly bears.

At home, carpet beetles attract:

  • Areas with dense carpeting
  • Unsealed food containers containing cereal, pasta or pet food
  • Unsecured clothing collections
  • Elements, shelves and floors covered with dust
  • light sources

Carpet beetles are attracted to homes rich in such things. They also enjoy feasting on stuffed animals, which is why they can become a big problem for museums.

Do carpet beetles travel with you?

Carpet beetles enter your home through:

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  • Furniture
  • Bedding and other home textiles
  • Leather, cotton or other clothing made from organic fibers.
  • Insect carcasses and dead skin

To ensure they don't make their way into your home, follow these steps when bringing home new high-fiber, organic foods:

  • Conduct a visual inspection for the presence of live carpet beetles
  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove eggs, larvae, or dead carpet beetles
  • Wash at high temperature (above 60°C).°C if possible)

Are carpet beetles harmful?

Carpet beetles do not pose a major direct threat to humans, but they can cause skin irritation.

  • Wool teddy bear hair can get stuck to clothing. In close contact, they can cause skin rashes and mild skin infections.
  • Carpet beetle larvae and feces can transmit harmful bacteria.
  • When carpet beetles infest the kitchen, they can spoil uncovered food. Back up all pasta, flour, and dry pet food.
  • Carpet beetles can bring bacteria into your home from the outside. Anywhere carpet beetles may have been present should be disinfected after the infestation has been eliminated.

Where do carpet beetles hide?

As with anywhere natural fibers are found (including carpets, of course!), carpet beetles are often found along window sills and high up. You enter through skylights and windows. Objects near trees with an active bird population are particularly susceptible to infestation. Because of their small size, they can hide:

  • Behind the baseboards
  • Under the carpets
  • Around the floorboards
  • Diffusers in kitchens and bathrooms. They can settle there from the outside and feed on the dust inside

Carpet beetles have also been found in cars with leather interiors. They penetrate through open windows and body defects. Cars with polyester and nylon upholstery are safe from carpet beetle invasion because they are man-made, man-made fabrics.

How to get rid of carpet beetles

Eliminating your carpet beetle home is a multi-step process:

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  1. recognition
  2. elimination
  3. cleaning

Without ensuring that all three steps are successfully completed in sequence, carpet beetles survive, reproduce, and continue to eat carpets and upholstery. We know all about detection, but prevention is the best form of pest control.

Preventing future invasions

There are many things you can do to protect your home from future carpet beetle infestations.

  • Establish a regular vacuuming routine

A vacuum cleaner is a powerful weapon for preventative pest control. Try vacuuming three times a week to keep the carpet free of dust and bugs.

  • Carrying out repairs of damaged seals
    • Windows
    • roof waterproofing
    • baseboards
    • The edges of the carpet
    • Bathroom and kitchen fans

This will prevent carpet beetles from easily entering your home.

  • Check rooftops, attics, and adjacent trees for bird activity. Carpet beetle infestations are common in pigeon and sparrow nests. They can inhabit any type of bird nest.
    • Check the outside of the roof for signs of bird activity, such as droppings and nests
    • Check the lofts for the same
    • Remove bird nests from your home
    • Regularly check the trees near your home for bird activity and remove nests if necessary

Fighting an active invasion of carpet beetles

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An immediately visible infestation should be treated

Live carpet beetles, larvae and eggs can be eliminated with a life cycle spot treatment.

NO! CP agent to kill carpet beetles:

  • can be applied directly to carpets to stop infestation and provide a barrier for up to 3 months. Odorless and leaves no stains
  • can be placed anywhere in the home with the easy-to-use hand shower
  • Provides up to three months of protection - interrupting the carpet beetle's life cycle with long-term active control to eradicate
  • contains a low toxicity Cypermethrin formula to provide effective and safe control of carpet beetles in and around the home
  • is approved by the Health & Safety Executive for use in the home. Professional pesticide

How to thoroughly vacuum your home

Make sure you vacuum the carpet properly.

  • Most people move the vacuum cleaner back and forth vigorously - don't do this! The fibers of your carpet run in a specific direction - this is called the pile.
  • When vacuuming, you should first run the vacuum cleaner before taking a nap. This should make the carpet “stick”. Start the vacuum cleaner in idle mode in a row. Any dirt hidden in the fluff, carpet beetles and eggs are now visible.
  • Cover the floor you just walked in the opposite direction. Continue row by row until the carpet is completely cleaned.

Here are some other top tips for an effective vacuum cleaning program for pest control:

  • Thoroughly clean the carpets with the upholstery cleaning attachment. Pull the fastener along the edge of the carpet. If possible, vacuum under the carpet.
  • Pay special attention to baseboards and under furniture.
  • Make sure you vacuum bare pillows and pillowcases thoroughly. Carpet beetles lay their eggs in dark and undisturbed places.

How to clean clothes and furniture to remove carpet beetles, larvae and eggs

All items that could come into contact with bugs, larvae and eggs must be washed. To ensure complete elimination, wash clothing and upholstery at a temperature of at least 60°C°C.This will kill all living specimens.

Shake well after washing and dry outdoors if possible. This will remove all traces of carpet beetles from your home.

Fight carpet beetles with NOPE!

NO! CP agent to kill carpet beetlesTreats the entire beetle life cycle in one treatment - eliminates adult carpet beetles, larvae and eggs.

TheNO!The preparation is odorless and does not leave stains, so the product can be applied directly to carpets. Suitable and safe for spot treatments at home - HSE registered for everyday use. The long-term barrier protection offers up to 3 months of protection on an intact surface.

Learn more about NOPE! CP range of pest control sprays.


How do I permanently get rid of beetles in my carpet? ›

Regular and thorough cleaning of rugs, draperies, upholstered furniture, closets, and other locations where carpet beetles congregate is important to both prevent and control these pests. Frequent, thorough vacuuming is an effective way of removing food sources as well as carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and adults.

What is the best thing to get rid of carpet beetles? ›

Vinegar—Water and apple cider vinegar can be poured inside of a spray bottle and applied to infested clothing, carpets, and upholstered furniture. If you notice carpet beetles crawling along clothes in your wardrobe, wash these pieces with vinegar and water to kill any remaining eggs and larvae.

How does vinegar get rid of carpet beetles? ›

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.

Why is it so hard to get rid of carpet beetles? ›

Carpet beetles are notoriously difficult to get rid of because once they enter your home, they will lay eggs on nearly every surface available to them. These eggs are practically invisible to the naked eye, and they hatch larvae that are the culprit of all that damage to your upholstery.

Will carpet beetles eventually go away? ›

It is possible to get rid of carpet beetles naturally, especially if you only have a mild infestation. Start any method by thoroughly vacuuming the rugs and furniture to capture what you can the easy way. You should also launder any items near an infestation.

Why do carpet beetles hate vinegar? ›

Because of its high acidity, vinegar can eliminate carpet beetles that infest your home. While other pest control solutions are more effective, vinegar can work! Spraying it directly onto the carpet beetles can quickly neutralize and kill the pests.

What does baking soda do to carpet beetles? ›

Baking soda is an effective and cheap way to get rid of these nasty bugs, and it can be done as soon as you spot them in your home. This simple powder not only dehydrates carpet beetles on contact but also prevents them from coming back by killing them almost instantly.

What makes carpet beetles come out? ›

How did I get carpet beetles? Due to their diet of fabric and animal products, carpet beetle larvae can thrive in homes if left alone. Adults fly inside through open doors and windows to lay eggs on furniture, clothing, or rugs and often are introduced when infested items are brought inside a home.

What are carpet beetles attracted to? ›

When they are indoors, they will mainly feed on items that contain animal protein like feathers, furs, silk, wool, and carpets. The food, oil, and perspiration on these items are what they are most attracted to. They also may eat grain based food or dried dairy products.

How do you find a carpet beetle nest? ›

Wool clothing or wool blankets stored in attics, basements and closets are also frequently infested. Check all areas where lint, especially dog or cat hair, tends to accumulate, including areas under carpets and along carpet edges; under seldom-moved furniture; and in floor cracks, registers and ducts.

Do mothballs keep carpet beetles away? ›

While moth balls, crystals, and cedar oil, when properly used, will kill clothes moths and carpet beetles, they do not repel these pests. So they are actually of little value before items become infested.

Does Borax get rid of carpet beetles? ›

As a non-toxic agent to humans, boric acid (borax) is a very safe and effective ingredient for repelling carpet beetles. You will need a fair amount of the powder to sprinkle all over your carpet for best results.

What raid kills carpet beetles? ›


For indoor use only. Read label before use. Use only as directed. KILLS: Roaches, Waterbugs, Palmetto bugs, Ants, Silverfish, Carpet Beetles, Crickets, Earwigs, Spiders, Lady Beetles, Stinkbugs, Scorpions, Black Widow Spiders.

Can carpet beetles get in your hair? ›

Carpet beetles tend to eat in one big section. ⭐ Carpet beetles like the essential oils in your hair, this will cause them to get in bed with you and nibble on your hair while you sleep. In doing this, they will walk across your body, which can leave an irritating rash for some people.

Why do carpet beetles go on beds? ›

Carpet beetles can get in your bed as they might get attracted by animal-based products of your bed and eat the fabrics. But unlike bed bugs, they don't live in your mattress. It's not the adult carpet beetles, but the larvae that devour the bed linen and furnishings in our bedrooms.

Do carpet beetles go away in winter? ›

Some Carpet Beetles will pupate that same summer, but the majority (about 75%) will pass a second winter as a dormant adult. In heated structures, adults may be active throughout the winter and the following spring. Carpet Beetle larvae feed on a wide variety of animal and plant materials.

How long does a carpet beetle infestation last? ›

Since carpet beetle eggs can lay dormant for 3-6 months, it may be necessary to treat every month for 4-6 months to get complete control. Every case is different. So in general, 3-4 treatments will resolve about 50-75% of the homes treated for carpet beetles.

Can carpet beetles survive vacuum? ›

1. Thoroughly vacuum all carpets, draperies and upholstery. This will get rid of both adult carpet beetles and their larvae. Place the vacuum bag into a plastic trash bag, seal it and dispose of it immediately.

Does rubbing alcohol get rid of carpet beetles? ›

Another natural way to get rid of these pests is to use rubbing alcohol on the beetles' body. This method will kill both the beetles and the larva. It works well in many household situations, including carpet and upholstery. If rubbing alcohol isn't effective, you can also use a spray that contains ammonia.

Do carpet beetles eat baking soda? ›

If you have spare or unused fabric objects, you can cover them in the baking soda solution. As the adult carpet beetles attempt to lay eggs, they will become coated in the mixture and potentially perish. The remaining larvae will die after consuming the baking soda.

What temperature kills carpet beetles? ›

In order to kill carpet beetles and clothes moths, infested items need to be held at minimum temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one week. Freezers capable of reaching minus 20 degrees F are able to kill all life stages within 72 hours.

What happens if you don't get rid of carpet beetles? ›

Once inside, carpet beetles (Dermestids) can settle in and lay eggs, and their larvae can really wreak havoc on rugs, curtains, upholstery—even your clothing. Don't give them a chance to do any real damage.

What does boric acid do to carpet beetles? ›

Sprinkle boric acid liberally on your carpet and vacuum it up after two or three hours, this will kill the beetles, larvae, and eggs. Warning: boric acid might cause unwanted effects on your pets, so you better keep them away from the cleaned area for a few hours or so.

Are there traps for carpet beetles? ›

Pheromone traps are designed to attract carpet beetles with their scent. Once the carpet beetle enters the trap, it will be unable to escape and will eventually die. You can find pheromone traps at most hardware stores or online.

Can you see carpet beetle eggs? ›

Eggs: Carpet beetle eggs are milky, yellow, or off-white sacs that aren't usually seen with the naked eye. They are tiny, but they are also usually well-hidden in folds or the undersides of materials that will provide ample food. Larvae: It's the hungry and growing larvae that actually cause the damage, not the adults.

Are carpet beetles seasonal? ›

This is the time of year for carpet beetles. Although carpet beetles can feed on a variety of items in the home, they commonly are feeding on dead insects in wall voids and attics.

Can carpet beetles make you sick? ›

Carpet beetles can be an annoyance in your home. They may eat through your clothes, rugs, and furniture. They can also sometimes cause an allergic reaction. However, they don't bite and don't otherwise pose any danger to humans.

Where do you spray for carpet beetles? ›

Using the insecticide labeled for carpet beetles of your choice, treat the following areas of your home:
  • Carpets and rugs. ...
  • Under furniture.
  • Around door and window frames.
  • In shelving.
  • In the corners of closets.
  • In cracks and crevices.

What plants do carpet beetles live on? ›

Adult carpet beetles live both outside and inside homes. Outdoors, they are found on the blossoms of crape myrtle, spiraea, Queen Anne's lace, buckwheat, daisies, wild asters, and other flowering plants with abundant pollen. Larvae feed on animal-produced debris and are often associated with animal nests.

Do carpet beetles live in hardwood floors? ›

Contrary to popular belief, carpet beetles do not just live in your carpet–which means that you can have a problem with these pests even if you only have hardwood or tile floors.

Where do carpet beetles go at night? ›

Adults are active during the day and at night are attracted to lights in homes and may get into homes through small cracks and crevices. Adult carpet beetles tend to get into homes most often in the fall when they are looking for a place to overwinter.

What percentage of homes have carpet beetles? ›

Carpet beetles are very common. According to a 2012 study cited by The New York Times, they were found in more than 90 percent of the homes studied. They are about 1/8 of an inch long.

Do carpet beetles nest in beds? ›

So back to the question at hand, 'do carpet beetles live in beds? ' While their larvae can and will feed on the fabrics in and around your bed, they do not typically live in your bed like bed bugs can; and people will often confuse carpet beetles and bed bugs.

How long to leave diatomaceous earth on carpet for carpet beetles? ›

Vacuum thoroughly, then sprinkle and rub D.E. into carpet with a broom. Leave on for up to 12 hours to ensure the adult insects have died.

Will cedar chips keep carpet beetles away? ›

Cedar chips, although popular as an insect repellent, do not effectively deter carpet beetles. Get rid of or properly store remnants or scraps of wool, fur, fleece, and other material. Woolen garments and less expensive furs can be stored in a closet used for that purpose only.

What clothes do carpet beetles eat? ›

Like juvenile clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae also feed on animal materials such as wool, fur, hair, feathers, glue, book bindings, silk, horns, bone, leather, and dead insects. They attack cotton, linen, and synthetic fibers only if the items are soiled.

Can I leave borax on my carpet? ›

Sprinkle borax across the carpet. Work the borax into the carpet fibers with a broom. Close off the area for a minimum of eight hours so people and animals aren't tracking borax through the rest of your home. The longer you can let the borax set, the more effective this treatment will be.

How long to leave borax on carpet for bed bugs? ›

Borax powder is another good option for how to get rid of bed bugs in your carpet. Throw it liberally all over your carpet, and let it sit for a few hours. Give it time to sink into the carpet. The powder is very sharp (almost glass-like), and is great at killing insects.

How do you make boric acid spray for carpet beetles? ›

Add 1 tbsp of boric acid to 2 cups of hot water to a spray bottle. Stir until the powder fully dissolves. Spritz your curtains, upholstery, skirting boards, and dark nooks where carpet beetle larvae choose to hang out.

How many carpet beetles is an infestation? ›

How Many Carpet Beetles is an Infestation? Even with just a few carpet beetles, it can be considered an infestation. Female carpet beetles can lay around 50 eggs at a time, making them an insect that can multiply rapidly. They need to get taken care of the moment you notice a few laying around your home.

What are the little brown worms in my carpet? ›

Answer: What you may have found are carpet beetle larvae. They are characteristically brown, they may look banded with brown and pale stripes, and with long ”hairs” at the tail end. They are slow moving across walls and floors.

Do carpet beetles travel with you? ›

Share: Long story short, yes, carpet beetles can and will travel with you. Carpet beetles are capable of breeding and developing on different clothing fabrics without you knowing and you'll then transport them around with you.

Are carpet beetles killed in the wash? ›

Hot water and soap can kill carpet beetles and their larvae. Make sure that you wash every article of clothing in the house with warm water and detergent. Carpet beetles are notoriously resilient, so be sure to dry clean any piece of clothing that can't go through the wash.

Do carpet beetles eat dog food? ›

Carpet beetle larvae also enjoy feeding on materials containing sweat, oil, and food stains. This means that even synthetic materials can be attacked! And to top it all off, they also consume dry food or grains, making pantry items like cereals, nuts, spices, pet food, and grains vulnerable.

Can carpet beetles get under your skin? ›

It turns out the larvae shed their hairs in the carpet, which causes problems for some people who are allergic. The hairs can even get under your skin! Their larvae can also cause eye irritation and breathing problems.

What do carpet beetles hate? ›

Vinegar repels carpet beetles, which hate the scent. Use a mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and water to clean areas where carpet beetle larvae can be found. Another natural deterrent is a fine white dust called diatomaceous earth, or DE.

Can you bug bomb for carpet beetles? ›

Two smoke bombs will treat a standard-sized room for carpet beetles. Simply light the smoke bomb, place it on a heatproof surface, and leave the room for three hours, followed by 1-2 hours of ventilation by opening doors and windows. Once the fumigated room has been fully ventilated, it will be fine to use as normal.

Can carpet beetles live in pillows? ›

Carpet beetles feed on a wide range of animal-based items, including silk, leather, fur, wool and animal hair. As a result, carpet beetles may infest carpets, upholstered furniture, blankets, coats, comforters, wool, pillows and clothing.

Why is my house infested with carpet beetles? ›

How did I get carpet beetles? Due to their diet of fabric and animal products, carpet beetle larvae can thrive in homes if left alone. Adults fly inside through open doors and windows to lay eggs on furniture, clothing, or rugs and often are introduced when infested items are brought inside a home.

Can carpet beetles become an infestation? ›

How Many Carpet Beetles is an Infestation? Even with just a few carpet beetles, it can be considered an infestation. Female carpet beetles can lay around 50 eggs at a time, making them an insect that can multiply rapidly. They need to get taken care of the moment you notice a few laying around your home.

Are carpet beetles harmful? ›

They are not a threat to humans or pets, but carpet beetles are quite frequently mistaken for bed bugs because they can be discovered in beds. They like beds and bedding because of the fabric and quite often when they get near human skin they cause irritation which may resemble a bite from a bed bug.

Do carpet beetles mean your house is dirty? ›

Do Carpet Beetles Mean Your House Is Dirty? Carpet beetles can be attracted to clumps of pet fur or other decaying animals and insects, so cleanliness can help prevent an infestation. Still, these pests can find their way into immaculate houses, too.

Can carpet beetles live in your hair? ›

Carpet beetles may nest on, feed on, or even lay eggs in pet hair – and that means any variety of pet with fur. Like a flea infestation, having carpet beetles in their hair can make pets itch excessively, which can cause hair loss and skin damage.


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