Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles
Size: 1/16-1/8"
Color: Varies
Habitat: Behind baseboards or molding
Found: Worldwide, but more commonly in northern US
Questions & Answers : How to get rid of Carpet Beetles (5)
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Carpet Beetle Control

Fabric and paper pests may be one of the most common nuisance pests that have invaded homes all over the United States. The common use of wool or other fabrics made of animal hairs and also the lack of proper care and protection of these materials, highly attract these pests. Among them, carpet beetles, are one of the most common and will cause some major damage to even your more precious rugs or clothes.

Carpet Beetle Identification

There are several representing species of carpet beetles, however, there are primarily four species that will be the most common and cause the most widespread damage. These species of carpet beetles include the odd beetle, the common carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle and the varied carpet beetle. There are some minor physical characteristics that will differentiate the variety of species of beetles, however, most general physical characteristics will remain the same.

Adult carpet beetles possess wings that are usually longer than the body. When they are at rest, the wings are completely concealed by the elytra, which is the hard outer covering that conceals the wings and protects them from potential predators. The elytra is separated when the beetles are in flight and meet in a straight line down the back of their entire body. The bodies of carpet beetles vary, but the general shape is an elongated - oval shape to an almost circular shape. Many species of carpet beetles are often times covered with fur-like hairs or scales. The size of carpet beetles also vary within different species, however, they will typically be 1-12 mm in length. Colors also vary between species. Some species of carpet beetles are pale in color or pale with dark markings. Other species of carpet beetles are dark in color.

There is one particular carpet beetle species that does not look like any other carpet beetle. The male odd beetle has an elongated body with a pale yellowish, brown color. Unlike other carpet beetles that have short antennas, the odd beetle has a long and threadlike antennae. They also have fairly long legs. Although they are covered by their elytra, some odd beetles and all female odd beetles do not have wings.

Carpet Beetle Damage

True fabric pests all share one unique characteristic. They are all able to digest keratin, which is a protein that is found in wool, hair, fur, horns, feathers and etc. This is true for carpet beetles as well. However, a common misconception is that adult fabric pests cause the most damage to such fabrics as rugs, clothes, carpets and other upholstery. This is untrue. When you see carpet beetle damage, it is actually the carpet beetle larvae that causes the most damage due to their nutrition needs for maturity and development before they can pupate and eventually emerge as a full grown carpet beetle.

Carpet beetles are destructive to a variety of common items. Anything that is made of natural animal fibers can become subject to damage including items like wool products, silk products, fur products, or items made with feathers and etc. These natural animal fibers are more prone for carpet beetle attacks than synthetic fibers. They may also feed on food sources like dog and cat food or flour and cereal.

Sometimes it is not always possible to identify the damage whether it was done by a clothes moth infestation or a carpet beetle infestation. Generally, a homeowner can tell the type of infestation by the concentration of damage in one specific area. When a clothes moth infestation takes over, damage to fabrics are usually scattered and clothes are left with holes. Carpet beetle damage is more likely to be concentrated on just one section of a carpet or garment. Carpet beetles also leave behind a brown, shell like skin when they molt. Evidence of the shed coverings and also the lack of webbing will help a homeowner identify whether it is a carpet beetle infestation.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

The most crucial step in carpet beetle control is prevention. Carpet beetles will most likely nest and breed outdoors in such areas like bird nests or rodent nests. Adult carpet beetles are able to fly. They can be seen flying and feeding on pollen. Flowers that are close to homes may attract carpet beetles and from that, they are able to easily enter homes through cracks and crevices or any other available entry ways. It is important to seal any cracks and crevices and use a residual liquid that will prevent carpet beetles from entering the home. Carpet beetles also enter the home by "hitchhiking" on materials that are brought inside the house. Eggs and nests can easily be carried in and the most common items that bring them inside are secondhand clothing, used or even new upholstered furniture, and other materials like rugs and quilts. Good sanitation and thorough inspections is key to preventing carpet beetles and will result in carpet beetle problem elimination.

Carpet Beetle Treatment & Removal

The application of a properly labeled pesticide is necessary in areas of infestation. All areas that are infested should be thoroughly treated with a labeled aerosol or liquid concentrate insecticide. Crack and crevice treatment in the areas that are surrounding the infestation should also be considered for treatment. Moreover, a surface treatment with a labeled aerosol insecticide as well as spot treatment should be applied after infested materials are removed from the area for cleaning or disposal.

Do You Have a Question about this Product? Ask Our Experts!


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Q. How to kill carpet beetle larvae?
I am able to kill the adult beetles easily with sprays but the larvae keep showing up every few months after seeing none for a long time, and the cycle begins again. Nothing seems to kill the larvae or eggs. I have searched the house and there is no "source" of them. Any suggestions?
A.   You will have to treat the isolated area of infestation with an insecticide. We recommend spraying 565 Plus XLO once a week. We also recommend using an IGR to prevent growth so that they are unable to reproduce. We recommend NyGaurd IGR which is labeled for Dermestid beetles which include carpet beetles.
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Q. what can I wash my cloths in to get rid of carpet beetles
I have had these bugs for 6 Months now and the management wont help me and they are eating my cloths and furniture, and i can't sleep they are bitting me at night. and I am getting sick from them they are affecting my liver. They are every where in here . I have to dry my self off from a shower with paper towels,because i can't get them out of my cloth things and I need help.
A.   I am not sure if carpet beetles will bite people. Normally, they are in a very localized area of infestation. However, we recommend using hot water wash and hot tumble dry for your laundry. We also recommend using 565 Plus XLO around all baseboards and areas of infestation (except directly on the clothes or materials you come in contact with)every 2 weeks. However, before application of any pesticide, we recommend that you take a sample of the insect to a professional pest control company or an entomologist to have it identified. By identifying the pest, you will be able to better control the infestation and eventually eradicate them. Without identifying the pest, you may be applying treatment in vain and control will not be seen.
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Q. how to kill carpet beetles
Hello - I just received a carpet beetle lure trap. The instructions say to place the lure on the sticky mat in the center. Accompanying the trap is a small tube that has small balls inside and I am unclear as to whether I just place the tube in the trap, or if I am supposed to open the tube and pour the little balls out onto the sticky mat. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
A.   The entire vile is placed on the trap. The balls inside the vile are the source of the pheromone, but if they are removed from the vile, too much pheromone is released at a time. The vile, however, regulates the release of the vile and will make the traps more effective.
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Q. I understand the chemical treatment for carpet beetles, but I have a number of questions about how to treat/handle my posessions, specifically items that I cannot wash or dry clean. Do you have any specific information on how to deal with these issues while dealing with a carpet beetle infestation. We are using Cy Kick CS, which is working well.
A.   It depends on the material that you need to treat. If the material that you are trying to treat is something like a rug with a large surface area, it is alright to treat the rug with a non-residual insecticide. Cy-Kick Aerosol will work or 565 Plus XLO is also great for carpet beetles. If you have materials that you cannot wash but are not clothes, Nuvan will also work. For clothes though, it is difficult to say. There are not materials that are available that can be applied directly on clothes. Even Nuvan Prostrips can be used but the clothes must be cleaned afterwards. Steam cleaning would be the next option but we are not sure how effective steam cleaning would be on carpet beetle infestations.
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Q. I am pregnant and also have a toddler. Which products that you sell are safe for me to use in my home to kill and deter carpet beetles?
A.   There is no real product that will "deter" carpet beetles, but we can recommend traps. We also recommend using a product 565 Plus XLO, which is an aerosol spray. All treated areas must be avoided until it has completely dried. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.
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