How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles – Carpet Beetle Removal Tips – Prevention.com

Have you ever seen a small, speckled brown and white bug on your rug and wondered what it was? Chances are, it was a carpet beetle. If you spot one or two in your space, dont panicthe creepy critters arent detrimental to your health. But, given that these bugs can damage your things, youll want to promptly take steps to remove them from your home.

Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped bugs that range in color from black to mottled patterns of white, brown, yellow, and orange, according to the University of Kentucky. The bugs usually range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

The larvae of these beetles have brown bands and long hairs over their bodies with distinct tufts of hairs at the end, says Ben Hottel, Ph.D., technical services manager at Orkin. Contrary to their name, theyre often found in places other than carpet. The adults are most often seen on walls moving very slowly, he says.

While getting rid of one or two might be easy, preventing an onslaught requires a bit more planning. Ahead, insect experts share everything you need to know about carpet beetles, and some of the best home remedies to ensure they leave you and your home alone.

Carpet beetles belong to a family of beetles known as dermestids, says Michael Thome, associate certified entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. They can cause serious damage to animal-based fabrics like leather, wool, and furs, along with stored food, he says. But, Thome adds, they dont eat synthetic fibers.

Pretty much any animal fabric is a potential food source for carpet beetles, which makes them difficult to control. They are called carpet beetles but dont necessarily just feed on carpets, says Changlu Wang, Ph.D., an extension specialist in entomology at Rutgers University.

There are a few different types in the U.S., but Wang says the black carpet beetle is the most common. Its small, black, oval, and 1/8 to 3/16 inches.

Carpet beetles wont bite you or your pets. They tend not to infest beds or [congregate] around people in the same way bed bugs do, Thome says. They also dont feed on blood. Keep in mind, though, that bristly hairs on the carpet beetle larvae (which looks like a tiny, fuzzy caterpillar) can irritate your skin if you touch them, Wang says.

Overall, the biggest potential issue is the larvae eating your stuff, creating holes in rugs and clothes.

They can come in through doors and windows, or by latching onto infested items that are brought into the house. Adult carpet beetles also feed on pollen and nectar from flowers around houses, Wang says. When you have a lot of flowers around the home, theyre more likely to invade.

And if you love a fresh bouquet of cut flowers, Thome says carpet beetles can even come inside on your favorite cut blooms.

Once theyre inside, adult carpet beetles can lay eggs on or in things like furniture, clothes, air vents, or rugs, Wang saysand that can lead to an infestation.

There are a few things you can do at home to get rid of the pests:

Try to find infested items. The item could be something like an old sweater, hat, or rug. Pinpointing where the infestation is coming from is one of the first steps you can take to ridding your home of the bugs.

Clean or toss infested items. If you find infested things, either wash them with hot water or toss them, Wang says. If you decide to wash, dry the item on high heat for at least 45 minutes to kill the beetles.

Vacuum them up. Sucking up the critters will help get rid of them quickly and easily. Wang says you may want to empty the bag afterward (preferably outside) to make sure they dont crawl back out.

Thome and Wang suggest a variety of tactics to stop the critters from entering your home in the first place:

Vacuum regularly, including floors and vents. Doing a good job vacuuming is the most effective way to keep carpet beetles from infesting your home, Thome says. Meanwhile, Wang says Vacuuming your floors, carpets, and inside heating vents can help remove larvae, along with the hair and lint they like to feed on.

Store your stuff in sealed containers. Whether its seasonal clothes or dry pantry goods like cereal and pet food, Wang says keeping your goods sealed will help deter carpet beetles.

Reconsider hedges. Wang says flowering shrubs close to your home make it very likely that carpet beetles will come inside.

If you spot a few carpet beetles here and there, Wang says you should be fine to just get rid of them on your own. But if you try the steps above and you still find them crawling around, its time to call in an exterminator for professional help.

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How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles - Carpet Beetle Removal Tips - Prevention.com

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