What Is a Carpet Beetle?
The term carpet beetle is used rather broadly when speaking of pests that feed on household fabrics and materials such as silk, wool, fur, hair, bristles, and feathers. Species include the black carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, common carpet beetle, and sometimes the clothes moth.
What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?
There are several different species of carpet beetles. Most are small, only about one eighth of an inch long. The black carpet beetle adult is dull black in color and has brown legs. The adults of the common carpet beetle and varied carpet beetle are oval-shaped with a pattern of various colors-- black, yellow, brown, or white-covering their backs. Carpet beetles can fly and are readily attracted to light.
Carpet Beetle INSPECTION
Before beginning an elimination program, you should inspect the entire structure as thoroughly as possible to determine the source of the infestation. Signs of infestation may include adult or larvae forms of the beetle, and cast skins. Keep in mind that carpet beetle larvae like to feed in places that are dark, protected, and undisturbed. More active forms of an infestation may distribute themselves in places such as air ducts, behind baseboards, among furniture stuffing, and in the bristles of old paint brushes. Other places and items to inspect include clothes closets, in and under upholstered furniture, piano felts, air ducts, stored foods and cereals, attics, woolens, dog food, fresh cut flowers, and any items made from hair, fur, silk, or feathers.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
Prevention is an important part of any pest control program. Taking preventative measures may prevent infestations that have not yet started, reduce the severity of current infestations, and maintain elimination of an infestation once it has been achieved. Prevention of carpet beetle infestation includes:
- Always dry clean or launder woolens and other susceptible fabrics before storing them for long periods of time.
- Store items made of wool or silk in tightly sealed garment bags with several fabric pest repellers (moth balls).
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! - Vacuuming your home frequently helps to get rid of materials such as debris, pet hair, and lint that can support carpet beetle populations.
- Infested articles should be immediately disposed of when found. Do not try to salvage infested items, the infestation will likely just continue to spread.
Carpet Beetle Pest Control
Most carpet beetle problems and infestations can be eliminated using the following products:
- Suspend SC - This odorless insecticide can be applied as a spot treatment and in cracks and crevices where carpet beetles are harboring. Do not use insecticides on clothing or surfaces where food is prepared. This product is easily applied using a gallon sprayer.
- Gentrol IGR Concentrate- This birth control for insects can be added directly to your liquid insecticide solution (Suspend SC) in the sprayer before spraying. That way you will apply two insecticides at once. While Suspend kills the adult carpet beetles, the Gentrol will kill off the larvae so they are unable to fully develop.
- Drione Dust - Apply Drione Dust using a hand duster only after Suspend SC has application had completely dried. Dust should be applied with a hand duster into all cracks and crevices where the spray cannot penetrate.
Don't forget to Vacuum!
Vacuuming is just as important to carpet beetle elimination as it is to prevention. While liquid and dust insecticides may successfully kill off the adult and larvae stages, they can not kill eggs and pupae. Vacuuming is an effective way to kill these hard-to-eliminate life stages of carpet beetles. When vacuuming, be sure to do so every couple of days while you work your elimination plan. Vacuum over carpeted areas several times and use attachments as need to cover furniture and draperies. Eggs may be hiding in these places as well. Even if you do not reach every egg and pupae with the vacuum, don't worry. Your insecticides are working, and eventually there will be no more surviving adults to lay more eggs and you will see the end of your problem!
View all Carpet Beetle Control Products
Black Carpet Beetles Identification
Varied Carpet Beetles Identification & Biology