You may never have heard of the carpet beetle before, but once they infest your rugs, you will know. These are tin pests that attack upholstery, furniture, clothes, and of course, carpets, as their name suggests. They are quite small, but just like bedbugs, they tend to multiply quite fast, and it is easy to end up will a full attack in your home.
They can be identified as small brown worms before they are fully mature to beetles whose color varies from black to white and tan. These pests are quite small, and unless they are many, it is easy not to know of their presence, especially in shag carpet. They will get into your home by being imported through clothes, furniture, and in some cases, they will fly right inside. The carpet beetle is quite small, measuring less than a quarter of an inch, but they can cause a lot of damage in the house.
Just like any other pests, the best way to deal with them is fast and swift. You need to clean pretty much everything in your house since they get on everything. If you don’t effectively remove them, it is easy for the cycle to start over, and soon enough, you will be dealing with another infestation. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the tiny bugs, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent another attack.
How to check for a carpet beetle infestation
Most people who believe that they have a carpet beetle infestation will always look for beetle-like bugs around the home. While it is possible to find some, the adult pest doesn’t do much harm other than being annoying, especially when they’re flying. Your biggest concern is for what you don’t see, which is the larvae.
They are quite small, and they blend into the fibers of the carpet quite quickly, so unless you are using a magnifying glass, it is challenging to see them. However, if you know anything about bugs, you know that in the larva stage is when they are most active and destructive. This is not any different from the carpet larva; the tiny worm-like pests will eat through your carpet and clothes.
You will most likely find them in dark spots away from the sun or direct light, so if you suspect an infestation, this is where to check. Carefully look at corners, closets, behind the bed headboard, and generally, anywhere that is hidden.
Again unless you have that magnifying glass, you shouldn’t check to spot the actual pest. The easiest way is to look for patches on your carpet or upholstery. You may also notice droppings that are brown to black. Once you spot this, the most probable cause is the beetle, and you must act fast.
The only way to get rid of this pest is to do a complete cleaning of your entire home. They spread pretty fast, and since they are so small, you cannot be sure where they are hiding, so you need to check everything. The great part about this is that you don’t need an exterminator, so there is no extra cost to you.
How to get rid of carpet beetles
You have to set aside time to clean your home thoroughly as you would during spring cleaning. The best way to do this is to start where you have already identified the infestation and then to the other rooms. Clean one room at a time and ensure that any trash you collect is kept safely in plastic bags and sealed before being thrown out. This is important, so no beetles escape back into your home. The following are tips for removing carpet beetles from your home.
If you have the adult carpet beetles flying around, the first thing you should do is try to get rid of as many of them as possible using insecticide. Almost any pesticide that works for flying bugs will work, but if you want something effective, check for one made for these pests. These are usually locally available and don’t cost much, so it is crucial to use them. If you can’t find any specialized ones check for bifenthrin, deltamethrin, and cyfluthrin in the ingredients. Ensure that the spray has at least one of them. Don’t use on the carpet without spot testing as they could stain.
Apply boric acid
Since most insecticides are not safe for use on your carpet, boric acid is the next best option as you can apply it to the fabric. Generously spread the powder all over your rugs, especially in the infested areas, and leave it for at least two hours. Boric acid is toxic to people when inhaled or ingested in large quantities, so do this when there is no one in the house. Always wear a mask when applying to avoid inhaling it.
The boric acid instantly kills both the adult and larvae. If you suspect the infestation reached other upholstery and clothes, make a mixture of two cups hot water and a tablespoon of powder and spray generously. Allow this to sit for a while before vacuuming.
Once you use insecticide and boric acid, you will have a lot of dead pests, and the best way of taking care of this is vacuuming. You should wear a mask as you do this to avoid inhaling the chemicals even if your vacuum cleaner has the HEPA filter. Carefully go through all the corners and every inch of your house. If your machine has a brush attachment, you can use it to agitate the droppings and any eggs that may be on the carpet. When done, remove the vacuum bag and carefully dispose of it. It would be best if you never reused this as it may reintroduce the pests into your home.
Wash all clothes
If you suspect that the beetles had attacked your clothes and bedding, you must wash everything. Even if you don’t think they got on them, it is a safer option to assume they did and launder everything that was unprotected. Detergent alone may not give you the best results, so use hot water if possible. Check for damaged clothes and safely dispose of in plastic bags before throwing them in the trash.
While adult carpet beetles are quite harmless, the females are dangerous when they lay eggs, and while boric acid is active, the eggs may survive. Don’t take the risk of assuming so steam cleaning the carpet and upholstery is the best. The hot moisture is excellent for killing eggs and any larva that may remain in the fiber, so you are sure that you’ve destroyed all of them.
Wipe down everything
Use white vinegar in your cleaning water to wipe down all the surfaces in your home. This ensures that there is no dirt where the adults may lay eggs. The vinegar also does well in deterring the flying bugs from landing in your home.
How to prevent carpet beetle infestation
Dealing with an infestation is not easy, and you will not want to go through that whole process again. This is why it is essential to take preventive measures to ensure that you don’t share your home with carpet beetles. The following tips should help you achieve this quickly.
Clear your outdoors
Ensure that there are no unkempt bushes around your home, as this could be breeding grounds for carpet beetles. Remove any nests around your house as these, too, are notorious places where the bugs could make a home.
There are insecticides meant for your outdoors that will discourage carpet beetles from entering your home. These can be found both online and in your local farm shop. Some are in spray form while others can be smeared on your house, and this will help a great deal. Use this all-around your house and a few feet from the home while paying attention to windows, doors, and vents.
Seal off unused clothes
Before getting on the carpet, unused clothes are the most common breeding places for the beetles. Avoid this by sealing off any clothes that you are not using plastic bags and coverings to deter the pests. Do the same for furniture and make a point of inspecting them often when in storage.
Allow natural light
Carpet beetles don’t light sunlight, and natural light in general, so make a point of drawing your curtains and opening windows when there is some sun.
Use synthetic fiber carpet
Natural fiber carpets and rugs are a favorite for carpet beetles since they usually feed on these materials. Therefore, it is better if you opt for synthetic carpeting as they won’t have anything to eat.
If you have carpets and rugs that have natural fibers, it is vital to take preventative measures even if you haven’t noticed an infestation yet. If you have suffered an attack from these beetles, it is also important that you keep checking whether you got rid of all of them. Take the necessary steps to avoid another huge issue, and you can be sure that your home is safe.