Carpet beetles are not on the top of most people’s list of frightening insect invaders, but they are extremely destructive, hard to eradicate, and they reproduce quickly, making them a serious problem once they get a foothold in your home.
Once a carpet beetle infestation is underway, it can be nearly impossible to manage the problem on your own. Most people deal with carpet beetles by hiring a professional pest control service, but we’ve put together this guide to help you give it your best shot if you want to try and tackle the problem yourself. In this guide, you will learn:
- Ways to detect a carpet beetle infestation
- How to identify different types of carpet beetles
- How to get rid of carpet beetles
The information in this article will give you the best opportunity to get rid of carpet beetles, but if you need a little extra help, we also include a section on the best pest control companies for getting rid of carpet beetles. Let’s begin!
What Are Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are small, airborne insects that wreak havoc on household fabrics like upholstery, clothing, and rugs. They typically enter homes by flying through open windows or hitching a ride on the family dog. Once inside, carpet beetles reproduce quickly and lay eggs in carpets or closets. A single adult carpet beetle can lay up to 100 eggs that hatch in as little as one week, meaning carpet beetle infestations can happen seemingly out of nowhere.
There are four main species of carpet beetle that homeowners need to be able to identify.
- Varied carpet beetle: Usually around 3–4 millimeters in size, this species has a round, yellowish-brown shell.
- Fur carpet beetle: These are the largest species, reaching up to 6 millimeters in length. They are identified by the white spot on their wings and usually have dark red, light brown, or black shells.
- Furniture carpet beetle: This species is easily confused with the varied carpet beetle since both can have yellow shells. The telltale difference is that furniture carpet beetles have tendril-like protrusions, whereas varied carpet beetles do not.
- Black carpet beetle: Adult black carpet beetles can get almost as large as fur carpet beetles and usually have dark brown or black shells. This species usually doesn’t live for more than a few weeks.
Despite their name, carpet beetles don’t just live in your home’s rugs. They’re also quick to make themselves cozy in closets, dressers, and furniture cushions, basically anywhere their larvae can find fabric to eat. Young carpet beetles are particularly fond of cotton, linen, silk, and wool, although they are also happy to devour common pantry goods like flour, pet food, and pasta.
Once you identify a carpet beetle infestation, you must act quickly to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. Unlike other common household pests, carpet beetles multiply extremely quickly and can overrun a house if you don’t eradicate them immediately.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
- Insecticide: The easiest way to combat a burgeoning carpet beetle infestation is by treating your carpet or fabric with insecticide. This only works if you can identify carpet beetle larvae, so don’t treat your entire house haphazardly if you can’t find where they’re hatching. The best insecticides for carpet beetles are bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and deltamethrin. These chemicals are hazardous to humans and pets, so follow the instructions on the packaging carefully.
- Boric Acid: A safer option is to treat the infested area with boric acid, which is safe for humans in small amounts. It is still hazardous to pets, so you may want to consider another option if you have one. Boric acid is readily available in powdered form at most pharmacies, supermarkets, and hardware stores. Spread the powder evenly on the infested surface; use a stiff brush or broom if necessary. You can also mix boric acid with hot water to use in a spray bottle if you prefer.
- Diatomaceous Earth: This is the safest option for humans and pets, and a good option for people who want to avoid pesticides. Diatomaceous earth is a natural carpet beetle killer that works by dehydrating carpet beetle larvae. Look for food-grade diatomaceous earth at your local natural food and supplement store. You should apply it liberally to any infested rugs, upholstered furniture, or drawers.
- Fog: Carpet beetle larvae are the real problem with carpet beetle infestations, but that doesn’t mean you want adult carpet beetles zipping around your house. If you didn’t squash the infestation before some of the larvae matured, you can use a fogger to get rid of adult carpet beetles and prevent them from reproducing and making the problem worse.
- Vinegar Spray: If you don’t want to use chemicals in your house and can’t find diatomaceous earth, a simple white vinegar or apple cider vinegar spray can be surprisingly effective against carpet beetles. Fill a spray bottle with pure vinegar and spray your rugs and furniture to kill carpet beetle eggs and larvae. It may take several applications to work, so closely monitor the situation if you decide to use vinegar.
How to Know You Have A Carpet Beetle Infestation
Carpet beetle eggs are very small and hard to detect, meaning most people don’t discover an infestation until they hatch. Damaged carpets and fabrics are the easiest signs to detect, so pay attention to your clothes, furniture, and rugs if you suspect a carpet beetle infestation. Carpet beetles are especially drawn to wool, so look for patches in wool blankets and coats.
You should inspect any newly-formed bald spots in your rugs for signs of carpet beetle larvae since they can make quick work of carpet pile. If the damage is extensive enough for you to notice, you’ll probably be able to find signs of larvae in the surrounding area.
Seeing just one adult carpet beetle is often enough to signal a budding infestation, and you should take it as a sign to be on high alert. People sometimes confuse carpet beetles for other, less destructive insects, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the common species’ markings.
How to Prevent Carpet Beetles
The best defense against carpet beetles is prevention. Battling a carpet beetle infestation can be a lengthy process if you don’t catch it initially, making it an excellent idea to take some simple precautions to protect your home from carpet beetles. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to make your home less attractive to carpet beetles.
- Vacuum regularly: Vacuuming or steam cleaning your rugs frequently removes loose natural fibers and lint that carpet beetles can use as food. It also removes any carpet beetle eggs that have already been laid.
- Store food in sealed containers: Loose food is a prime target for carpet beetles, so don’t leave half-used boxes of pasta or bags of flour lying about in your pantry; keep everything in airtight containers.
- Seal entry points: Open windows and ill-footing door treatments are the most common ways carpet beetles find their way into your home. Make sure your window screens don’t have any holes and fix any cracks or gaps near your doorways.
Hiring a Pest Control Company
If your fight against carpet beetles isn’t going well, consider calling in the cavalry and hiring a professional pest control company like Terminix. Having experienced exterminators take a look at your situation and devise a plan of attack can save you months of frustration trying to manage a carpet beetle infestation yourself. Carpet beetles are notoriously difficult to get rid of, so you might be better off letting professionals take over. Professional services will also make sure you won’t develop any future infestations.
Best Pest Control Companies
Carpet beetles are formidable foes, so you want to hire the best pest control company you can find. Here are summaries of the two best exterminators that can help with carpet beetles.
Terminix is our pick for the best overall pest control service. The company handles most common household pests like ants, roaches, and bed bugs and is more than capable of ridding your home of less common pests like carpet beetles. The company offers an impressive array of reasonably-priced pest control plans, making it easy to get comprehensive pest control coverage or standalone treatments.
Terminix offers several pest control services and plans, ranging from mosquito control and termite protection to bed bug eradication and wildlife control. It also has annual pest control plans that help homeowners with recurring pest problems save money while getting access to all of the high-quality services the company provides.
Terminix has competitive prices, although specific costs depend on where you live, what kind of infestation you have, and how big your property is. In general, you can expect to pay the following prices for common services:
- General pest control: $600–$800
- Termite control: $2,000+
- Bed bug treatments: $500–$1,500
- Flea and tick control: $300–$500
- Mosquito treatments: $200–$600
- Wildlife services: $300+
If you want to learn more about Terminix and how the company can help with carpet beetles and other household pests, check out our Terminix in-depth review.
If you need pest control service as quickly as possible, Orkin is the answer. The company is known for providing fast emergency visits, making it the best choice for surprise infestations. Carpet beetle infestations often crop up quickly, making Orkin one of the best pest control companies for dealing with these intruders.
Orkin has an annual plan that covers an astonishing number of common and not-so-common pests. The company offers treatments for ordinary insects like ants and roaches, rodent coverage, and services for less-common invaders like tiger beetles, amphipods, and Sahara desert ants. All of the company’s services come with a 30-day guarantee. If you see any pests between scheduled visits, Orkin will dispatch a technician to your home to handle it for free.
- Annual pest control contracts: $550–$720
- Termite treatments: $1,500–$5,000
- Tent fumigation: $3,000+
- Bed Bug treatments: $400–$1,200
- Flea and tick control: $200–$400
- Mosquito treatments: $200–$500
- Carpenter ants: $100+
If you contact Orkin to schedule a visit or get a free quote, keep in mind that your price may vary from the estimates above. Orkin prices its services based on the severity of your situation, what kind of pest you’re dealing with, and your property size. Its prices are excellent, and its emergency services are extremely attractive, especially for fast-moving infestations like carpet beetles. You can read our Orkin review for more information about the company’s services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes you to get carpet beetles?
Carpet beetles can enter your home through cracks or crevices in doors or open windows. They can also find their way in on pets or worm their way through exterior cracks in your siding, especially in regions around crawl spaces and attics. You should make sure your window screens are intact and repair any cracks in your doors to prevent carpet beetles from making their way into your house.
How do I permanently get rid of carpet beetles?
Permanently ridding your home of carpet beetles is about maintenance since it’s impossible to guarantee that more carpet beetles won’t enter your home after you eradicate the current population.
Maintaining a strict vacuuming routine and looking out for signs of carpet beetle activity is the best way to keep your home free from carpet beetles. Using a steam cleaner occasionally is also a good idea since it provides a deeper, more thorough clean than a vacuum cleaner. You should also regularly check your windowsills and baseboards for signs of carpet beetle eggs or larvae.
Is it hard to get rid of carpet beetles?
Yes. Getting rid of carpet beetles once they hatch and grow is exceptionally difficult. The best way to get rid of carpet beetles is to detect the infestation quickly and treat it while they are still eggs or in the larval stage. Carpet beetle larvae do the most damage, but adults will reproduce, creating new larvae and multiplying the problem.
What are the signs of carpet beetles?
Bare spots in carpets and holes in clothing — especially wool — are the most common signs of carpet beetles. You may also notice larvae in food sources like pasta, flour, or cornmeal.
Today's Homeowner Rating & Methodology
Our research process involves a multi-step process to get real insights into the customer experience for each company. We contacted each pest control company directly and spoke to representatives via phone and online chat (if available). This allowed us better understand the company’s treatment offerings and customer service. We also consider BBB accreditation and what customer reviews say about each company. Additionally, we fact-check and update company data regularly to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.
We developed a 100-point rating system to compare the companies numerically.
- Plan options (35 points): Companies with more plans and flexibility on services to address specific issues were given a higher score.
- State Availability (5 points): Those that offer coverage in fewer than 45 states were deducted points for availability.
- Trustworthiness (10 points): This is based on whether companies have money-back guarantees, service guarantees, and additional satisfaction assurance measures.
- Customer Service (30 points): We considered accessibility (including on weekends and holidays) of technicians and customer support.
- Additional Benefits (20 points): Companies that offer further conveniences such as an app, comprehensive resources, and other benefits were rated higher.