What is a Carpet Beetle & How it Affects Your Home?

by My Modern Cave
a carpet beetle feeding on a carpet

If you have ever found small, round, winged bugs in your home, they were likely carpet beetles. Carpet beetles are not known to transmit disease, and they do not bite, but their presence can indicate a bigger problem in your home. Female carpet beetles lay their eggs in rugs and carpets, and the larvae feast on natural fibers, damaging carpets and clothing in the process.

What is a Carpet Beetle, and How Does it Look Like?

Carpet Beetle Characteristics:

  • Carpet beetles measure just 1/16 to 1/8-inch in length —about the size of a pinhead — and come in a variety of colors.
  • Some are solid black, brown, or tan, while others have patterns of stripes or spots.
  • Their wing covers often have ridges that give them a somewhat humped appearance.
  • The larvae are spindle-shaped, with long hairs at their rear end.
  • These pests are small, round, and often black in color.
  • They have six legs and antennae, and their bodies are covered in tiny hairs.

What is the Life-cycle of a Carpet Beetle?

Carpet beetles undergo simple metamorphosis. Its life cycle has four stages:

  1. Egg,
  2. Larva,
  3. Pupa, and
  4. Adult

The female carpet beetle lays her eggs on or near a suitable food source for the larvae, such as woolen fabrics, furs, or feathers. The eggs hatch within 2-3 weeks, and the larvae begin to feed immediately. They continue to feed and grow for 3-4 months before spinning a cocoon and pupating.

The entire process from egg to adult takes about two to five months, depending on the species of carpet beetle, temperature, and availability of food. 

Adult carpet beetles lay their eggs on or near a suitable food source for the larvae. Once the eggs hatch, the tiny larvae begin to feed. They go through several molts as they grow larger.

What are the Types of Carpet Beetles?

There are three types of carpet beetles:

  • Furniture carpet beetle,
  • Black carpet beetle, and
  • Common carpet beetle.

The furniture carpet beetle is the most common type in the United States. Black carpet beetles are more common in Europe. Common carpet beetles are found in both the United States and Europe.

Signs Your House is Infested With Carpet Beetles:

While you are not likely to see a carpet beetle in your home, they will leave behind telltale signs of their presence.

  • Look for small holes or piles of dust in your rugs or carpets.
  • A slight musty smell indicates the presence of eggs, larvae, or dead carpet beetle bodies.
  • Check closely around the edges of rugs and under furniture for tiny dark spots that look like spilled ink.
  • They typically lay their eggs in dark, undisturbed areas, so if you see small, round clusters of eggs on your carpet or furniture, it’s a good indication that you have an infestation.
  • Adults are also attracted to light, so if you see them flying around your windows or doors, it’s another sign that you have an infestation.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?

These pests are attracted to carpeting and other fabrics, which they will feed on. They can cause damage to these materials and should be removed from the home as soon as possible. There are many ways to eliminate carpet beetles. Read further to learn ten tips to get rid of this pest from your home.

10 Tips to Keep Your Home Free From Carpet Beetles

1) Vacuum Regularly

Vacuuming not only removes dirt and debris, but also helps remove eggs and larvae that may be present. Be sure to vacuum all carpeted areas, as well as any upholstered furniture. Ensure that you are vacuuming all potential hiding spots for these pests, including under furniture and in corners.

2) Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Common Areas

This will kill the eggs and larvae that are present, and it will also prevent them from spreading. Rubbing alcohol is a powerful cleaning agent that can kill many different types of insects. When used correctly, it is a very effective technique to keep these pests out of your home.

3) Use a Flying Insect Fogger

A flying insect fogger will help kill any adult beetles that are already in your home, as well as any eggs or larvae that may be present. Ensure you follow the instructions on the fogger carefully and evacuate things for the recommended amount of time to ensure your safety.

4) Disinfect Vacuumed Areas With Steam Cleaner

This will kill the eggs and larvae that may be present and prevent them from spreading. Plus, steaming and dusting will help remove any potential food sources for the beetles.

5) Use Mild Insecticide Like Boric Acid

Boric acid is a natural compound that is deadly to carpet beetles. To do this, mix one part boric acid with three parts flour and apply it to the area where the beetles are present.

Boric acid is a desiccant, which means it will dry out the beetle’s exoskeleton, causing it to die.

6) Use Peppermint Oil and Olive Oil

The combination of peppermint oil and olive oil is effective in preventing carpet beetles. The oils work together to create a barrier that the beetles cannot penetrate. By adding a few drops of each oil to a cup of water, you can create a solution that will keep your carpets safe from these pests.

7) Use Vinegar

Vinegar can be used as a preventative measure to keep these pests away. To use vinegar, simply mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio and spray the solution onto the affected area. You should do this every few weeks to keep the beetles at bay.

8) Add Moth Balls to Storage Containers

Adding moth balls to storage containers (except food containers) is an effective way to prevent these insects. Mothballs emit a strong, pungent smell that deters insects from entering the containers. To be most effective, add moth balls to all storage containers that are susceptible to infestation.

9) Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth powder is sharp and abrasive, and it works by puncturing the beetle’s exoskeleton. This causes the beetle to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth is proven safe to use around humans and pets, and it can be applied directly to carpeting or other surfaces. To use, sprinkle the powder on your carpet and vacuum it up after a few hours. Repeat this process every few weeks to keep the beetles at bay.

10) Store Dry Food in Airtight Containers

Carpet beetles are attracted to dry food such as flour and can infest your pantry or kitchen if there is no airtight container to keep them out. These insects are attracted to food sources that are high in carbohydrates and protein, making flour an ideal target for their feeding. Airtight containers will help to keep these pests away from your food supply and protect your health.

11) Keep Your Home Free from Pet and Human Hair

Carpet beetles are attracted to hair, and when they find it, they will lay their eggs in it. The eggs will hatch, and the larvae will start to feed on the hair. This can cause damage to your carpets and furniture, and it can also be a health hazard for you and your family. Regularly vacuum carpets, upholstered furniture, and floors to remove any hair that may have been shed.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Carpet Beetles

1) Do Carpet Beetles Fly?

Yes. Carpet beetles are able to fly, but they don’t do so very often. When they do fly, it is usually just for short distances. So, while they are technically capable of flying, it’s not something that they do regularly. Instead, they usually travel by crawling.

2) Where Do Carpet Beetles Come From?

Carpet beetles are attracted to materials that contain natural fibers. These materials include wool, fur, hair, and feathers. They can be found in many places, including museums, where they can damage artifacts made of natural fibers.

3) Can I Get Rid of Carpet Beetles By Vacuuming?

Carpet beetles can be tough to get rid of because they are small, and their larvae can burrow into carpeting and other fabrics. However, vacuuming can help remove them from your home. Be sure to vacuum regularly and check for any sign of infestation.

4) What is the Difference Between a Carpet Beetle and a Bed Bug?

For one, bedbugs are parasitic, meaning they feed on the blood of humans and animals, while carpet beetles are not. Bedbugs are much smaller than carpet beetles – about the size of an apple seed. Carpet beetles, on the other hand, range in size from 1/16 to 3/8 of an inch.

5) Do Carpet Beetles Bite?

No, carpet beetles do not bite. These insects are attracted to fabric and can cause damage to clothing and other fabrics. Carpet beetles do not have mouthparts that are capable of piercing skin, so they cannot bite humans or animals.

6) Do Carpet Beetles Travel With You?

Carpet beetles are known to be able to travel long distances, and they are often found in new locations. It is possible that they could hitch a ride with you if you are traveling, but it is also possible that they could already be present at your destination

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