Ants in the carpet

Table of Contents

How To: Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Photo: via Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin

They enter your home in a myriad of ways: hitching rides on cut flowers, clothing, or pets, or simply flying though open windows. Once inside, carpet beetles (Dermestids) can settle in and lay eggs, and their larvae can really wreak havoc on rugs, curtains, upholstery—even your clothing. Don’t give them a chance to do any real damage. As soon as you spot one of the little buggers, follow this multipronged strategy for how to get rid of carpet beetles fast.

Meet the Enemy: Carpet Beetles

In the adult stage, these creepy culprits are less than ¼ inch long and either black or a combination of tan, white, and black. They tend to congregate around windows and doorways—so check these areas if you suspect an infestation. While irksome, the adult carpet beetles are harmless; only in the larva stage are they a threat to natural fibers. The tiny worm-like larvae favor dark areas like closets and behind baseboards, and they’re difficult to spot with the naked eye.

Identifying an Infestation

Sometimes the only way to know you’ve got ‘em is by the damage they cause, such as bare spots in rugs, holes in packed-away clothing, or wormholes in books. So if you needed an excuse to do spring cleaning, this is it. Spring is the time of year carpet beetles beeline for your home. Since dust bunnies, cobwebs, dead insects and tufts of shed pet fur are an open invitation to larvae, get busy with the duster, vacuum and broom. Next, go through stored clothing to check for damaged or infested items. Laundering kills active larvae but any wool, leather, fur or delicate items that you can’t throw in the washer require professional dry cleaning.

The good news is that once you’ve identified their presence, you can usually get rid of carpet beetles without the expense of an exterminator.

Photo: via pasukaru76

Do DIY Extermination

Vanquish carpet beetles without calling in a pro! Here are three ways to attack destructive larvae, plus a treatment to get rid of adult carpet beetles for good.

  1. Insecticide: Stop an active larvae infestation by treating carpet or upholstery with an insecticide that contains at least one of the following ingredients: deltamethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin. Test a small inconspicuous area before treating the entire carpet to ensure the product won’t stain. Many insecticides warn against use around people and pets so follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions carefully.
  2. Boric acid: Boric acid, which acts as a poison on insect metabolism, is only hazardous to humans if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Find it at pharmacies and sprinkle it in powder form lightly and evenly on carpet, then use a broom or brush to distribute it into the fibers. Wait several hours and vacuum thoroughly. You may also prepare a larvae-killing spray by adding one tablespoon of boric acid to two cups of hot water and stirring until the powder dissolves. Fill a plastic spray bottle with the solution and mist curtains, upholstery, baseboards, and dark nooks and crannies where carpet beetle larvae hang out.
  3. Diatomaceous earth: Another natural product, diatomaceous earth (available at agricultural-feed stores) is a desiccant that quickly kills larvae by dehydrating them. Treat rugs in the method described for boric acid above, and also sprinkle some in the back of cabinets and closets and in pet beds. Choose “food grade” diatomaceous earth, which is safe for pets and humans, but wear a respirator or mask to keep from inhaling the fine dust particles when applying.
  4. Fog: Although they’re no longer chewing your possessions, adult female carpet beetles lay eggs and can start the whole nasty process again. Use a flying insect fogger to effectively eradicate adult beetles, and keep flying insect spray on hand to attack any strays or newcomers.

Fend Off Future Infestations

The best cure is always an ounce of prevention. Stop adult carpet beetles from entering your home by hanging sticky flypaper strips near windows to catch them. If you find yourself dealing with repeated infestations, place sticky pheromone-type traps on windowsills and in closets to stop carpet beetles before they have a chance to lay eggs.

If you’ve confirmed those multi-colored, pinhead-sized beetles moving slowly and rolling over when you touch them are carpet beetles, it’s time to take action immediately. Why? Because while carpet beetles don’t carry disease, they are big eaters. They aren’t picky eaters either and they are fast breeders, so they can quickly do significant damage to any item made with natural fibers – furniture, clothing, curtains and carpets.

The good news is that you can get rid of them. Here are seven tips explaining how to get rid of carpet beetles, plus additional information about how to prevent and deter future infestations.

Carpet Beetle Removal

Getting rid of carpet beetles centers around cleaning. You’ll need to remove the eggs, larvae and adult beetles with intensive effort.

  1. Vacuuming. As a first step, vacuum areas where you’ve seen adults or larvae such as carpets, rugs, furniture and curtains.
  2. Steam cleaning. Your next step involves going over the same areas you vacuumed with a steam cleaner. The heat and moisture in this step removes remaining beetles and eggs.
  3. Laundering pillows and clothing. Use hot water and detergent to wash clothes, pillows, towels and linens. If you aren’t comfortable keeping infested clothing or it’s too damaged to wear, dispose of it in plastic bags and place in a sealed garbage container.
  4. Wiping or spraying surfaces with vinegar. A mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and water can be applied to shelves, drawers, hangers, window sills and cupboards to remove any dirt or food residue.
  5. Applying boric acid. Sprinkling this mild insecticide on carpets, rugs and furniture will kill any remaining beetles. Leave the boric acid dust untouched for two hours, then vacuum the residue and dispose of your vacuum bag.
  6. Using an indoor insecticide targeting carpet beetles. These sprays, available from local retailers, can be used around baseboards, under sinks, or in crevices where carpet beetles may hide. They aren’t recommended for use on carpeting, furniture or clothing.
  7. Calling a professional exterminator. Carpet beetle removal can be difficult to do on your own. They are persistent and tough household pests, and do-it-yourself treatments aren’t always effective on carpet beetle eggs.

Carpet Beetle Prevention

When carpet beetles have been removed from your home, steps to prevent another infestation echo the removal process. Getting rid of carpet beetle food sources, vacuuming often, and occasional use of boric acid or indoor insecticides will keep carpet beetles from returning. Since stored clothing or fabrics are targeted by carpet beetles, consider adding cedar or moth balls to your storage boxes or bags.

Prevention extends to the exterior of your home.

  • Apply an outdoor insecticide for carpet beetles around the perimeter of your house. Spray the foundation of your home and the soil two to three feet out from the house. Use the insecticide on any potential points of entry such as windows, doorways, vents, or utility pipes.
  • Remove and destroy any bird or insect nests from around your house. Carpet beetles will lay eggs in nests and then can migrate into your home.
  • Repair your screens, since carpet beetles small size makes any hole a potential entryway.

Carpet Beetle Deterrents

Cleaning remains your number one deterrent to keeping carpet beetles out of your house. Trash removal, regular vacuuming, and frequent laundering of clothing, linens and pillows will make your home less inviting to these pests.

You can also add barriers to block carpet beetles with a few additional steps:

  • Use plastic containers or bags to store linens or clothing.
  • Carpet beetles don’t like sunlight, so opening drawers and closets to natural light will deter them.
  • Avoid natural fibers in rugs, carpets and furniture. Carpet beetles typically don’t eat synthetics.
  • Be aware of and remove any other type of household pests.

Call in the Pros

If you’ve followed these suggestions about how to get rid of carpet beetles and still see signs of infestation, contact The Bug Man. We’ll put our environmentally responsible pest control solutions to work for you.

It’s not just us humans who welcome the warmer weather at this time of year. The milder conditions result in a flurry of insect activity that can wreak havoc on your carpets.

Moths lay their eggs in dark, undisturbed places, so the carpet underneath sofas or behind pieces of seldom-moved furniture makes a perfect nursery for their larvae. These greedy youngsters feast upon natural fibres in carpets and rugs and can leave sizable holes in their wake.

The worst offenders are the brown house moth (8mm long with bronze, black-flecked wings) and the common clothes moth (6-7mm long with paler, beige wings). Spray carpets in rooms where you’ve noticed adult moths with a treatment such as Acana Fabric & Carpet Moth Killer Spray, £13.49 for 500ml ( After 30 minutes, vacuum the carpet thoroughly and replace the vacuum cleaner bag, disposing of the old one in an outdoor bin.

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. In addition to regular vacuuming, add a few drops of lavender essential oil – a natural repellent – to water in a spray bottle, shake well and use it to spritz carpets.

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Carpet beetles
The common variegated carpet beetle is recognisable by its oval-shaped, grey, brown and cream mottled body. Although it measures only 2-4mm in length, its larvae can cause considerable damage to wool carpets as well as feather-filled soft furnishings.

The adults are most active in late Spring and early Summer but the larvae won’t hatch until the Autumn, when you will start to see damage. If you spot adult beetles, treat carpets with Rentokil Carpet Moth & Beetle Killer Powder, £5.99 for 212g (, following the instructions on the packaging.

As with moths, regular, thorough vacuuming helps prevent an infestation. It’s also worth checking the loft for old birds’ nests, which can be a magnet for carpet beetles.

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Worker ants invade homes in search of food and you’ll need to carry out a bit of detective work to deter them. Follow the ants back to their nest – usually recognisable as a small hole in the ground or between paving slabs, with loose earth or sand around it. Pour a kettle of freshly boiled water directly on to the nest, and then follow up by applying an ant killer such as Raid Ant Killer Powder £2.96 for 250g (

Alternatively, bait traps, such as Rentokil Ant Killer Gel, £4.99 for two packs (, are loaded with a sweet gel that worker ants take back to the nest and that poisons the queen, thereby destroying the colony.

To discourage ants from foraging in your home, sweep floors and vacuum regularly to get rid of any food debris and mop up food spillages quickly.


Fleas are most likely to inhabit carpets and rugs in the room where your pet sleeps. If you spot them, vacuum the whole carpet thoroughly, then spray with Bob Martin Home Flea Spray Plus, £9 for 500ml (

For serious infestations, call in the experts. The British Pest Control Association website allows you to search for reputable pest control companies in your area.

WRITTEN BY: Emilie Martin

If you’ve ever walked across your floor only to find yourself getting stung by ants along the way, you aren’t alone. It sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Finding yourself getting stung by ants in your own home. At first you might think, hey, it’s okay. It’s just one or two ants, right? So then you ignore the problem. But then, the next time you walk across your floor again, you get stung once more! So then you investigate… you take a really close look… you maybe lift the corner of the carpet a little. And then you find the biggest ant infestation under carpet that you have ever seen.

Terro Liquid Ant Bait T300 Check Price
PIC Home Plus
Ant Killer
Child Resistant
Check Price

When that moment happened to me, my heart leapt to my throat and it was all I could do not to scream. My heart was racing as I felt imaginary ants crawling under my skin. In my mind, these little ants were suddenly all over me! In a blind panic, I ran out of the room and took a shower to get the feeling of ants off of me. In there, I began to hatch a plan of how I was going to deal with these ants.

Finding an ant infestation under carpet is not a small thing – after all, you can’t simply pull up your whole carpet to get rid of them. Many people get stumped about this problem; I know I was. It took me a while to come up with ways to deal with these pesky little critters, and I had to check the internet for ideas too. So if you’re having the same problem that I did not too long ago, take a deep breath and relax. I’m here to help!

Why Are There Ants Under My Carpet?

There are many reasons why ants could be infesting your house, and I’ll discuss these reasons with you right now. First, let’s talk about one of the main and most obvious reasons: leaving food out.

Leaving food out

Unfortunately, leaving food outside of the fridge, or leaving opened containers of food without clipping or sealing them shut, can really invite ants. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found that ants had eaten through the bags of chips that I had clipped shut. Yep, I unclipped the bag and started eating the chips inside only to find out I was eating ants too. That was a truly disgusting moment during the worst ant invasion I’d ever had. Yes, it was shortly after this that I found the ant infestation under carpet.

It’s important not to leave the ants any opportunity to get to food at all. This is because any food left out, especially during swarming season, will get these critters coming to your home in droves. The same can be said about food left outside the home such as perhaps, for example, food for your pets.

Moisture and wood

One more reason you may find an ant infestation under carpet is because many types of ants are attracted to moisture and decaying wood. If you have wood under your floor, or if you are struggling with water leaks in your pipes, chances are you will eventually get some sort of infestation. It doesn’t just have to be ants too – sometimes you may also get fungus, or even cockroaches. This is why it’s so important that you make sure your home is properly maintained as much as possible. Again, you will always want to avoid any sort of infestation in any situation. That way you won’t make the same mistake as me. I ended up having to tear up my carpets to fix everything!

How Do I Get Rid of Ant Infestation Under Carpet?

Don’t worry! I had to pull up my carpeting to get rid of my ant infestation. And then on top of that I had to fix some parts of my floor too. But just because I had to do it, doesn’t mean that you will have to as well.

I found my ant infestation when it had already grown too large for me to contain on my own. I tried plenty of methods that worked temporarily, but eventually the ants simply came back. You see, when I first started noticing ants, I simply lived around them. I started putting my food in airtight containers. I didn’t leave food out. I ignored the little ants that were walking around because I figured hey, if they can’t get to my food, they’ll eventually be gone. Big. Mistake.

My ant infestation under carpet grew because I only treated the symptoms of the invasion – not the root cause. Had I chosen to look for the colony’s nest instead, I probably would’ve never had my problem become as bad as it did. So please don’t be like me. When you start seeing the ants, please employ one of the below methods to take care of them! You can also hire an exterminator if you want to do it the easiest way.

Borax + Vacuum

One of the best ways to get rid of ants under your carpet is to sprinkle boric acid (powder) all over your carpet. Make sure it really gets in there and all around. Crush any larger particulates so it settles into your carpet. Do this in the evening so that you can leave the boric acid powder in overnight. If you cannot leave it that long, try to leave it at least a couple hours. Then, fire up the vacuum and make sure you get everything! Suck up all of the borax and the ants that have probably died along with it. Do make sure that you get everything to the best of your capabilities.

This may not be the best option if you have pets or small children around. In that case, you may want to look at the other options below.

Check Your House Plants

Not a lot of people realize that they can bring in ants from outside when they bring in indoor plants. This is what ended up being the main culprit of my infestation, to be honest. I would water my plant only a little at a time, until one day I accidentally poured too much water, The next thing I knew, ants were coming out of the pot in what seemed like thousands! That had to be one of the most terrifying things I had ever experienced. I immediately picked up the pot, my skin crawling, before I took it outside. I decided the plant was a write off and left it in the trash.

Ant Bait

One thing that can really help to lessen and even eliminate an entire colony of ants is ant bait. When I had my particularly bad ant infestation under carpet, one thing that I found truly helped me was ant bait. There are some types of bait that are available these days that can really kill entire colonies of ants. I’ll recommend a couple that really helped my situation. But first, let’s talk about how these products work.

When you first begin to use liquid ant baits, you will initially start to see more ants. Don’t panic like I did; this is completely normal and is actually exactly how this product should work. Basically, the scout ants will find the bait that you have set out. And then, they will head back to the nest while leaving that pheromone trail behind so that worker ants can go back. The worker ants then go for the bait, since there is a whole new food supply to take from.

Once the worker ants begin taking back some of the contents of this liquid ant bait, the main ingredient (active) in the formula will begin to kill the ants. Borax is basically the backbone of ant baits. Ants, being communal in nature as they are, will share everything. Eventually they’ll share the bait to most if not all of their community. Borax begins to slowly kill the ants by interfering with their digestive systems. Slowly, they all begin to die. It’s important that they are dying slowly, because then you know that the ants will make several trips to the bait.

Now let’s talk about my recommendations!

Terro Liquid Ant Bait T300

I bought a box of this product to give it a try. I mean, my situation dealing with ants was already so bad that I was willing to try just about anything. Terro Liquid Ant Baits, the T300 version, came in an orange box that had 6 ready-to-use containers. All I had to do was leave the baits out around my home and the ants started going over to them. Terro claims to kill not just the ants that you can see, but also the ones that you don’t. Because of this, you can trust that this product will kill the ants in the nest. Eventually, you will be able to eliminate the entire colony infesting your carpet.

Terro’s liquid baits basically come in sealed plastic containers. The way. They are sealed allows the product inside to remain fresh until they are finally ready to use. So if you don’t feel like you need to use all six at once, you can just keep the rest of them under your kitchen sink (or wherever else you want to store ‘em). Then, when you’re ready to use them, you can simply take them out.


✔️Stays fresh as long as it’s sealed, lets you keep some for future use
✔️Effective at decimating ant colonies
✔️Comes in convenient packages of six

❌Container is not secure enough to prevent pets and small children from getting into them
❌Takes some time to work and is not an instant solution


If you want an easy but effective way to get rid of ant infestation under carpet, this product is an excellent choice. It will take care of the entire colony, too.

PIC Home Plus Ant Killer in Child Resistant Packaging

This product is more affordable and comes in packaging that small children and perhaps even pets cannot get into. If you have toddlers around, or even children up to the age of five or six, this may be the better option for you. PIC is sold in packages of 8. Each bait is in a canister that you can set out for the forager ants to find. Then, the worker ants will follow and take the bait back. To the colony.

There are many positive reviews of this product online, proving that it is an effective choice. Many people love them fact that it is so affordable, thereby making it much more accessible to even those who are struggling with finances.

Some people claim that they have begun to see effects with this product as soon as 2 days after starting to use it. Others, on the other hand, stated that it took them a week or so to realize that the ants were gone. Therefore, your mileage may vary.


✔️Really quite affordable for pack of 12
✔️Proven effective
✔️Plenty of positive feedback and reviews
✔️Safe for small children due to child resistant packaging

❌Time for it to become effective is not guaranteed, your mileage may vary


This product literally does the same as the product above. However, it is affordable, and also safe for your young children. We recommend this if you have small children that you are worrying about.


Staying vigilant is half the battle when fighting ant infestations. The best thing that you can possibly do is to make sure that the ants never make it into your home in the first place. If you see lone ants walking around, kill them then destroy their pheromone trails. You want to be sure that you nip a possible invasion in the bud. Don’t be like me; I messed up and so I had to really pay a price to get the ants out of my home.

And of course, don’t forget that you shouldn’t leave any food out as much as possible. This lessens the chances that forager ants will find their way into your home and then summon the cavalry later.

I hope that my little stories about ants attacking me and my home was relatable to you. I also hope that you are able to get the ants out of your home with the methods I just provided. In the end, ant infestation under carpet are not impossible to deal with – so just relax. Now, you know what to do!

Get Rid of House Ants and Carpenter Ants Naturally

We know how to get rid of ants naturally because we’ve done it for years! We’ll show you how to make and use homemade ant bait, diatomaceous earth, & more.

I take pride in my advanced detective skills, and I apply them to almost everything! For example, figuring out who ate a sticky snack on the couch, who wore muddy shoes in the house, and most importantly, where is the entry point of the army of ants invading our house?

When the ants invaded, I figured out how to get rid of ants naturally. And here’s how we did it!

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

Having ants everywhere outdoors doesn’t bother me. But when I see them treading upon the kitchen countertops I spring into action. Therefore, the past two spring/summer seasons we have successfully rid our house of two different types of ants. Also, we decided it was time to show you how to get rid of ants naturally!

Identifying Ants

When learning how to get rid of ants naturally, detective work is an integral part of eradicating them. Furthermore, finding the most effective treatment for ants depends on the specific type you have invading your house. To explain, each species has different behaviors, preferences in food, and eradication solutions.

Some ants are specific to the region, so we only have experience dealing with certain types. So in this article, we’ll cover remedies for odorous house ants and carpenter ants. In addition, read the end of the article for tips that may work on other species.

Finally, for help identifying these ants, see the images here or here.

Odorous House Ants

You will find these ants anywhere you have sweets laying around.

Odorous house ants will leave a chemical pheromone trail wherever they travel. If you kill them, other ants will simply follow the trail and show up in the same places. For this reason, kill the entire colony.

When you see the first few ants, you can sponge them (and the surrounding area) with soapy water to eliminate the pheromone trail. Immediately work to figure out where they’re getting into your house, and begin placing homemade ant bait at the entry points.

How to Get Rid of House Ants

Homemade Ant Bait

Borax will kill odorous house ants, and powdered sugar will attract them.

Make a homemade ant bait by thoroughly mixing one part borax with 3 parts powdered sugar.

Fill tiny containers (such as bottle caps) with this homemade ant bait and place them as close to the place where you suspect ants are entering your house. If you see trails of ants, place small containers of the mixture directly in their path. This prevents most of them from traveling all-around your house if they have easy access to this sugary treat.

(Have pets or kids who might get into this powdery mixture? Try this instead: mix one cup warm water with ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons borax. Soak it up with cotton balls and place them in shallow dishes near ant trails.)

Resist the urge to kill all the ants you see. They will carry the bait back to the nest, unable to differentiate between the borax and sugar, and the borax particles will eventually kill the entire colony. The more homemade ant bait carried back to the colony, the fewer ants you will have.

More Tips for House Ants

Spray vinegar near baseboards, in any cracks, and on countertops where they may be traveling. You can allow the vinegar to dry on surfaces or wipe with a clean cloth – this eliminates their chemical trail and will deter some of the stragglers. Repeat several times a day. (find white vinegar here)

Practicing good sanitation practices is one of the best ways to make your home less attractive to ants. Keep spills, crumbs, and garbage cleaned up in the kitchen. Be sure to store all food – especially sweets – in tightly sealed containers or zip-top bags. They will get into things like jars of honey that have drips on the side or around the lid, so sealing the jar in a zip-top bag will protect it.

The ants will choose more desirable bait (like spilled soda or cookie crumbs) over this natural bait, so learning how to get rid of ants naturally means keeping your place clean!

Carpenter Ants

You will find Carpenter ants around homes in wooded areas. They don’t carry the homemade ant bait back to their nests, so you have to kill them at the source. This means you have to do a little detective work to find the nest(s). Don’t bother using the borax/sugar bait – they’ll just feed on it like little piggies at a trough.

They will typically live outdoors very close to the house, and eventually, enter your house in search of food and water.

How to Find the Carpenter Ants Nest

Carpenter ants live in wood and tunnel through it. The best clue to look for is small piles of very fine sawdust – the remains of the wood they have chewed through. You will typically find carpenter ant nests in moist wood in foundations, decks, woodpiles near your house, trees, gaps between boards, etc.

If you take some time to figure out where ants are entering the house, you can usually track them back to a nest. It’s easiest if you kill all the ants in sight, then watch for new ants to appear to determine their general entry point. This may give clues to holes that need to be sealed up, rotting foundation where they’re living, or cracks under doors they’re traveling under.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally

Diatomaceous Earth

The best natural remedy we have found for eradicating carpenter ants is Diatomaceous Earth (DE). DE is completely natural and organic. It is made from tiny skeletal remains of algae-like plants.

DE is lethal dust for insects. Its microscopic razor-sharp edges will cut through the body of insects, drying them out and killing them. If ingested by carpenter ants, it will shred their insides. There are different types of DE, so keep in mind you must get food grade DE for pest control. (You do not want the DE that is sold for swimming pools – it has a different make-up.)

Food grade DE is completely safe to be used around kids and pets and can be sprinkled around the home and yard without posing a threat. Find food grade Diatomaceous Earth here.

How to Apply the DE

In order to get rid of a colony of carpenter ants, DE must be injected directly into the nest. We used a medicine dropper to squirt dry DE into cracks where we found them nesting. You can also use a bulb duster gadget to spray it into cracks or holes. And remember, DE must be reapplied after it rains.

You can also mix the Diatomaceous Earth powder with water and apply using a spray bottle (either a small bottle or the pump-action yard sprayers). Simply mix 2 Tbsp of powder per quart of water and spray wherever you have ant problems.

The best advice I can give to get the most out of your DE treatments is to stay on top of it! This pesky ant species may relocate their nests and find new ways into your house. If you see a resurgence, put your detective hat back on and find that nest.

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally: Other Tips

Here are some remedies DIY Natural readers (thanks Y’all!) have used to treat ant problems:

  • Some ants like protein and grease. Mix a spoonful of peanut butter with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of borax. Using a plastic straw, tap the end into the mixture repeatedly until the straw is full of the mixture. Cut the straw into ½ inch pieces and place them next to ant trails.
  • Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in areas ants are crawling around. (find 100% pure essential oils here)
  • Sprinkle cinnamon (being careful not to get it on things that will stain) near entry points.
  • Some ants dislike baby powder. Sprinkle around the perimeter of the house or indoors where ants are entering your house.
  • Rub a little Vaseline near the areas they are entering the house.

Note: we also have a great article on how to get rid of aphids naturally.

(photo credit to Diane Jabs)


How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are known to be home pests inhabiting carpets, furniture, leather products and furniture. Today we’ll explain what causes carpet beetles, whether they live in beds, compare them to bed bugs, find out what methods you should use to deal with them and pick the 7 most effective sprays, powders and traps.

Table of Content:

Know Your Enemy: Carpet Beetle

As a rule, they are oval Attagenus beetles 2-5 mm long. Not all 200 species that are considered Attagenus prefer to live near people. We are most interested in three kinds of these pests. Adult beetles’ appearance resembles that of ladybugs, which is why some people don’t pay attention to them and don’t even think they are dangerous pest insects. Sometimes, they are also confused with cloth moths as both insects can damage woolen clothes. Remember that moth larvae leave random holes in clothes while the industrious carpet beetle’s larvae tends to gnaw out entire pieces of clothing or carpet. Moreover, carpenter beetle larvae shed their bristled brown skin when molting and that helps to identify them.

The beetles lay eggs near food sources and household objects of vegetable or animal origin in dark places. Larvae hatch within two weeks and immediately begin to feed before pupating. The damage caused by them is visible on cloth, carpets or any other organic-made products. In fact, these larvae are scavengers and they will feed on other animals’ remnants if there is a chance. You can detect larvae at home by their typical bristly chitinous covers which they shed.

Adult beetles don’t do any harm to the household and feed on pollen. Be careful when cutting flowers though as you can also bring home some larvae that will gnaw your carpet and sweaters.

Let’s study the three most common carpet beetle species.

Varied Carpet Beetle

Adults are about 0.1 of an inch long, and have black elytra with random whitish, brown and yellow spots. You can encounter them in spring and at the beginning of the summer, near windows. Larvae have an elongated body thickly covered with brown hairs in lighter and darker strips. Larvae are larger than adults and can reach 0.2 of an inch.

Furniture Carpet Beetles

This species is slightly larger than the previous one but is also motley. Its elytra are black with random whitish, yellow and orange spots. Larvae are initially white and then gradually they darken to velvet.

Black Carpet Beetle

These larvae and beetles are monophonic and shiny. Black adults can grow to reach 1/8 – 3/6 of an inch, while brown larvae are usually larger and can be 5/6 of an inch long. Black carpet beetles are most spread in California.

Carpet Beetles vs Bed Bugs

Some people wonder whether carpet beetles live in beds. Sometimes they do. The answer to the question “Do carpet beetles bite?” though is a definite no. Carpet beetles are easy to confuse with bed bugs, but don’t worry: it’s quite easy to distinguish these insect species from one another.

Carpet Beetles Bed Bugs
Size From 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch long Up to ¼ of an inch long
Color Black, brown, spotted Brown or reddish black (for full bed bugs)
Habitat Carpets, clothes, curtains, furniture, bed sheets Mattresses, furniture, spots behind wallpaper and paintings
Biting Non-biting Biting
What do they feed on? Cloth (leather, fur, wool and silk) and dead organic matter, i.e. skin particles, hair and feathers Blood-feeding

A grown blood-fed bed bug can reach ¼ of an inch. Bugs are brown, don’t have elytra or a long thick bristle like carpet beetles do. Instead, their paws extend beyond their body and they have a blood-sucking proboscis. Larvae and adults found in beds don’t bite; they merely consume exfoliated upper layers of skin and hair. They tend to live under covers in a secluded manner.

The Scientists’ Recommendations for Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles

According to the University of California, primary protection lies in observing sanitary rules and timely cleaning. To minimize pest infestation, you should remove clusters of down, dead insects or hair as they serve as food for larvae. Beetles can use old cobwebs and birds’, wasps’ and rodents’ waste as nests for their eggs.

Clean the carpets, fabric upholstery, furniture, and cabinet shelves regularly. Regular vacuum cleaning is sufficient. Carpet beetles are also attracted by dirty clothes that are sweaty or stained with food. By all means, wash your clothes after finding any pests in them.

The degree of the danger of beetles’ settling in the furniture depends on the level of their penetration. If it is deep enough, dry cleaning or fumigation are effective. Naphthalene can be used when storing clothes.

What Is Effective for Killing?

Carpet beetle traps is the first method. Their main peculiarity is that they act on adults. A beetle about to breed on the fertilized eggs reacts to pheromones and doesn’t reach its destination.

Boric acid is the second organic method. This substance is used in all kinds of life spheres: in medicine, in the food industry and in the fight against insect pests.

The University of Kentucky names other organic treatments, such as cedar and freezing. Newly hatched larvae die when exposed to cedar, but older larvae and adults are not affected. The heartwood of red cedar has a vapor that is toxic to larvae, but after cedar is more than 36 months old, it is useless for control. Bags containing cedar chips should be replaced regularly to help provide control. Freezing has also been used to kill carpet beetles. Infested materials should be placed in plastic bags and loosely packed in a chest freezer at -20°F for three days.

Sprays are effective for carpet treatment and for reaching inaccessible spots where the pests usually hide. Products containing hlorpyrifos, permethrin, bendiocarb and allethrin, are effective against carpet beetles, according to the University of Kentucky experts’ claim. Don’t use treatments containing these ingredients on clothes and bed sheets.

In extreme cases, when you are unable to deal with these pests on your own, consult professional exterminators.

Top-7 Carpet Beetle Sprays, Traps and Dusts

The list below contains several insecticides containing deltamethrin, cyfluthrin and bifenthrin, as well as boric acid and insect traps. The scientists name such products and brands as Tempo SC Ultra, Demand CS, Suspend SC, DeltaDust, Kicker, and Ortho so we trust them. We’ve picked goods, both for home and professional use (highly concentrated ones), which are available online.

Powerful Carpet Beetle Killers: Sprays and Dusts

We’ve picked the most trustworthy products, such as an insecticide powder, a ready-to-use spray and some cut-rate concentrated insecticides to be used in a garden sprayer.

1. Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust

Delta Dust is one of the many accessible deltamethrin-based insecticides approved for indoor use. This universal insecticide powder is available in one-pound packs. The dust is sprayed around the places where the pests inhabit or where they are undesirable and kills various insects. It also creates a repelling barrier for pests.

You can apply it with a paint brush or use a more convenient handle such as Pest Pistol Mini Duster (Check current price). However, be prepared for a thorough cleaning after the treatment as although the users confirm that the dust is indeed effective against carpet beetles, this method is quite dirty since the dust flows everywhere.

x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commissionDelta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust, 1 LB

By Bayer


Last update on 2020-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delta Dust: Check the current price

2. Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter RTU Wand

This pesticide contains active bifenthrin. The spray is sold in an economical 1.1 gallon canister with an aerosol and can be used both indoors and outdoors. The manufacturer claims that this product can kill over 130 pests and dangerous insects and creates long-term protection as it repels the pests from the treated territory. The maximum effect is achieved when the killer is sprayed on dry surfaces and should not be exposed to rain or subject to wet cleaning during the day. The protection is valid for up to 12 months indoors and for up to three months outside.

The users rate Ortho highly, and many of them managed to get rid of carpet beetles with it even when suffering from a real epidemic of them. One of the reviewers has described the situation as follows: “Carpet beetle corpses ran rampant in the streets that year. I’d see dead insects everywhere. After that year, I haven’t seen a single bug since. Unless this stuff has an expiration date, then I need to go buy some more” Read over 400 customer reviews to know more.

Ortho: Check the current price

3. Syngenta 73654 Demand CS – Professional Pest Control Product

Demand Cs is a (8 oz) universal concentrated pyrethroid Lambda-cyhalothrin-based insecticide. Lambda-cyhalothrin is a colorless and odorless crystalline substance acting on contact or when digested and serves as an insect repellent after spraying.

This insecticide is capable of removing 30 pest species, including beetles, cigarette beetles, ants, bedbugs, boxelder bugs, cockroaches, red flour beetles etc. Its dissolution ratio is 1:200. It is then to be sprayed in the places where pests appear, both indoors and outdoors. It is claimed that its domestic and garden insect pest protection lasts for up to 90 days. Demand Cs is odorless and non-toxic for animals, humans, earthworms and garden plants and is toxic for fish and aquatic invertebrates.

x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Syngenta 73654 Demand CS Insecticide, 8oz



Last update on 2020-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Demand Cs: Check the current price

The following product is also a concentrated insecticide, but its active ingredient, beta-cyfluthrin, is more powerful than other pyrethroids, such as regular cyfluthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin and will be suitable even for the worst invasions. As it is more toxic, be cautious when using it.

4. Tempo Ultra SC (8.12 oz) Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide

This beta-cyfluthrin is packed in 8 oz bottles. Beta-cyfluthrin is capable of removing over 100 species of insect pests and ticks and is considered to be an extremely powerful pyrethroid. The product is dissolved in up to 30 gallons of water and can be used both indoors and outdoors as this volume will be enough to cover 30 000 m2. Beta-cyfluthrin is odorless and doesn’t leave any marks. It can be used in secluded spots and in the pantry. Its protective effect promises to last for up to 3 months. The users rate Tempo extremely highly.

x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Tempo Ultra SC 240 ML (8.12 oz) Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide ~ Spiders Bedbugs Roaches Silverfish etc..

By Bayer

$40.97 $45.10

Last update on 2020-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tempo: Check the current price

5. Suspend Polyzone Pint

This is the most economical universal product by Bayer and is the high-rated one in this review. Unlike other products, this bottle contains 16 oz (and not 8) of a concentrated insecticide. Suspend is a polymer deltamethrin-based concentrate insecticide which promises to act for up to 90 days outdoors, regardless of weather conditions. The range of targeted pests is wide as it covers over 25 insects including carpet beetles, ants, roaches, centipedes, clothes moths, crickets, earwig etc. The customers value this product for its valuable killing effect and confirmed long-lasting residual effect.

Suspend: Check the current price

6. Harris Boric Acid Powder With Lure

Among organic killers, scientists only name Boric Acid. Shops, however, sell eco-goods labeled Organic Home Pest Control and 100% organic insecticide containing such active ingredients as 2-phenethyl propionate, clove oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and thyme oil, which are claimed to kill up to 100 species of insects according to the manufacturer. We haven’t been able to find relevant sources confirming the effectiveness of these oils against carpet bees and so we don’t recommend buying them.

This is a simple and cheap method. Dust the boric acid (which is relatively non-toxic) around the corners of rooms and in hiding places frequented by the carpet beetles. The manufacturer recommends thoroughly cleaning the rooms along with using the powder and note that you shouldn’t generously dust it when carrying out the treatment.

x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder w/Lure, 16oz


$6.92 $8.99

Last update on 2020-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Boric Acid: Check the current price

The Best Carpet Beetle Trap

7. Pro Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps 2 Pre-Baited Traps

This trap’s glue contains pheromones which attract males and prevent them from mating with females. The trap can be placed on the floor, on a shelf, a window sill, hung in the pantry or elsewhere. Replace it once every two months as it gets filled up with the insects. According to the feedback from customers, this is a decent supplement for monitoring all kinds of flying and crawling pests.

x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission JF oakes Pro Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps 2 Pre-Baited Traps

By JF oakes

$5.49 $14.95

Last update on 2020-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Moth & Beetle Traps: Check the current price

Carpet Beetle Traps, Sprays and Dusts Comparison Chart

Product Type Active Ingredient
Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder Insecticide powder Boric acid
Pro Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps Sticky pheromone trap Pheromone lure
Delta Dust Pest Control Insecticide Insecticide powder Deltamethrin
Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer Killer spray Bifenthrin
Demand Cs -(8 Oz) Concentrated insecticide Lambda-cyhalothrin
Tempo Ultra SC (8.12 oz) Concentrated insecticide Beta-cyfluthrin
Suspend Polyzone Pint (16 oz) Concentrated insecticide Deltamethrin

Do-It-Yourself Carpet Beetle Control

General Pest Control Pantry Pests Tips/Solutions

Carpet beetles. Many of us have seen them but few people know what these miniscule insects are actually capable of. Often times mistaken for “some sort of ladybug” because of their characteristic shape and sometimes spotted carapace, Carpet beetles are small (about 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch long), dome-shaped insects with an appetite for fashion and furniture. Their economic importance stems from their unusual ability to digest keratin, the chief protein component of skin and hair affording them the ability to eat clothing, carpet and upholstery. They can be a significant nuisance in the home, in storage facilities, museums, and clothing stores. It is also not uncommon for the discarded molt skins from the larval stage to trigger asthmatic episodes in some individuals.

Here are 4 tips from the pest control experts at American Pest to help you and your family to avoid having to deal with the problems associated with these cryptic insects.

1. Know what to look for:

While Carpet beetle adults are typically the first sign of an infestation they primarily feed on pollen and are usually of no consequence to homeowners. Carpet beetle larvae are responsible for damage to clothes, ornamental decorations, and other natural fiber house wares and are what you should be seeking to control. If you look closely, you can usually find traces of their discarded molt skins () in dark closets. Be on the lookout for them in the folds of stored clothing, the fringes and brims of hats, or in areas where dust tends to accumulate.

2. Know where to look:

Inspecting window sills and light fixtures will likely be a waste of time in your effort to control Carpet beetles. Remember that damage is caused by the slow-moving larvae, which are found feeding in dark, secluded areas of closets, beneath furniture, or at the junction of where carpeting meets a wall. Adult Carpet beetles have wings, are capable of flight, and are typically attracted to light and windows. Females tend to lay eggs in clusters of lint where the larvae can emerge and sustain themselves on a high quality source of both essential proteins and oils shed by humans and pets alike. More mature larvae tend to be more mobile and can sometimes be found crawling up walls or across ceilings.

It is not unusual to find that the source of an infestation is a pile of neglected clothing in a basement or abandoned upholstery in the attic so it is important to be thorough when checking for these fabric pests. Occasionally Carpet beetle infestations can be the result of bird or wasp nests in wall voids where the larvae are feeding on discarded feathers and debris.

3. Know what to use:

A residual, chemical insecticide such as Tempo SC Ultra can be an effective way to control Carpet beetles, as the active ingredient controls for several weeks.

When used correctly, Diatomaceous earth may also offer a natural solution for Carpet beetle infestations. Diatomaceous earth is a powdery white dust that functions as an insecticide by wearing away the insect’s outer layer of protection. Without it, the insect can no longer regulate water loss and it dries up and dies. This all natural product has the added benefit of being non-toxic to humans and pets.

4. Try not to use it:

Sanitation and prevention are the best ways to control the economically important stage of the carpet beetle life cycle. Insecticides typically aren’t necessary. In some situations, routine vacuuming can be all that’s needed to contain or eradicate a small infestation. You may want to invest in a vacuum cleaner with settings to allow for more effective cleaning near walls. If possible, try rolling back carpeting a fair amount and vacuuming under it; as some species preferentially lay their eggs beneath carpeting.

Some measures are as simple as refraining from planting Pyracantha or Spirea shrubs near homes as they are more attractive to adult carpet beetles as a source of food. It’s also a good idea to dust surfaces regularly and get rid of accumulations of lint especially those around air vents. Lastly, try not to leave clothing or furniture in storage indefinitely. In temperature controlled buildings, it creates ideal conditions for larval carpet beetle development when those items could function better as donations.

These simple tips should be enough to help any Do-It-Yourselfer handle the threat of carpet beetles but if there is a situation that seems to be beyond what you can legitimately hope to control, American Pest has several family safe and effective methods to safe guard your belongings from these ravenous fabric pests. Be sure to give us a call and allow for one of our knowledgeable representatives to further assist you.

Preventing Damage from Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles

College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF)

Pesky insects-so small you hardly notice them-may be doing damage to garments and other textile items around your home. Generally, you aren’t aware of them until its too late. And the babies are the culprits-eating their way through your sweaters, jackets, and pants, or wool rugs and needlework as they mature. Their mothers and fathers do no damage-except to leave behind their eggs from which the hungry larvae hatch.

Most people know that clothes moths can do considerable damage, but carpet beetles can cause extensive damage if they are not controlled. Clothes moth larvae are usually found on their food material. Carpet beetle larvae are more adventurous and may crawl from one room to another, or from one apartment to another. They also can be found in bird and rodent nests.


Mature insects deposit eggs in a variety of locations-clothing, upholstery, rugs or carpet, toys, animal skins or trophies, and even natural-bristle brushes. As the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed on animal-based materials: silk, wool, feathers, and leather. They also have been known to eat fabrics blended with wool and items soiled with food stains or body oils.

Eggs and larvae of moths and beetles can be carried into homes on articles containing wool or other animal fibers. Items such as secondhand furniture, upholstered furniture, and other home furnishings can be home for these pests. Clothes moth eggs or larvae also can hide in woolen fabrics or rugs.

Adult clothes moths prefer darkness and quickly hide when they are disturbed. Clothes moths are not the moths seen flitting about lights. Adult clothes moths are about 1/2 inch long and light tan in color. They have narrow wings and prefer darkness.

Adult carpet beetles are attracted to the sunlight and are known to feed outdoors on pollen of flowers. The most common adult carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects that are black with varied patterns of orange and white. They are sometimes mistaken for common garden lady beetles because of their similar size and shape.

Two types of clothes moths damage textile items. Casemaking clothes moth larvae (cream-colored caterpillars less than 1/2 inch long) spin protective cases incorporating pieces of the items they are eating. The cases, which they drag along as they move, eventually become tough cocoons in which the insect pupae develop into adult moths. Webbing clothes moths spin a silken web to form feeding tubes that they attach to the item being eaten. See fig. 1.

Fig. 1

Webbing clothes moth Casemaking clothes moth
Tineola bisselliela (Hummel) Tinea pellionella (Linneaus)

Carpet beetle larvae (about 1/8-1/4 inch long and covered with hairs or bristles) do not spin webs or make cocoons. (fig. 2) As they mature, they shed their skins, which look like living larvae. Carpet beetles crawl from place to place as they eat, but may be found in areas that do not provide any food. Fecal pellets are found where beetles have been feeding.

Fig. 2. The life cycle of the carpet beetle. Carpet beetles undergo complete metamorphosis. The adult lives 20 to 60 days and lays 30 to 100 eggs, which hatch in 6 to 20 days. The larva lasts 60 to 325 days. Both the larval and adult stages damage fabric. (Actual size of adult 1/10-1/3 inch, or 2.5-5 mm).

Clothes moth and carpet beetle larvae feed in quiet, dark areas-closets, attics, bureau drawers, storage trunks or boxes. Items that are stored for long periods are especially at risk. Such pests seldom infest items used on a regular basis. They do not damage rugs and carpets in regular traffic areas or where routinely vacuumed. Areas next to the wall or under furniture are likely targets for these hungry insect larvae.

Preventing and Controlling Infestations

To prevent infestation by clothes moths and carpet beetles, practice good housekeeping. If carpets and rugs are vacuumed frequently and thoroughly, eggs and larvae will be removed before damage can occur. Vacuum upholstered furniture carefully. If you have pets, pay special attention to removing animal hair-it is a food source for moth and beetle larvae.

Decorative rugs and needlework displayed on the walls of your home also should be vacuumed. Heirloom items that have been stored for safekeeping should be inspected regularly.

Clothing and other textile items should be stored only if clean. Storage areas should be kept clean. Vacuum the floors, shelves, and walls to remove dust, webs, and any inconspicuous eggs or pesky insect larvae.

Clothing and other textile items can be protected by storing them in tight-fitting containers or carefully sealed boxes with a moth repellent. The vapors of the repellent are lethal to fabric pests only if they are maintained at sufficient concentrations for a sufficient amount of time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Generally, two to three weeks of treatment will ensure absolute kill of all stages of insect pests-egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

After storage, air items for a few days before using them to get rid of any odor. If items are washable, launder them before using.

If you find that your home has an infestation of clothes moths or carpet beetles, remove all items from the infested area carefully. Vacuum the areas thoroughly and wash surfaces that have been in contact with infested items. Be careful not to contaminate other areas of your home.

If an insecticide is to be used in the infested area, read and follow instructions for its use carefully. If a spray is used, apply it to cracks and crevices and infested areas only. Do not spray walls and shelves. If carpet is infested, it can be sprayed, especially along baseboards and under furniture.

DO NOT directly spray clothing or bedding with an insecticide. Remove all clothing, shoes, and other items from a closet or piece of furniture before the insecticide is applied.

Before returning items to areas that were infested, launder or dry-clean them. Both laundering in hot water and dry-cleaning will kill all stages of fabric pests. Cleaning also will remove food stains or body oils, which attract insects. Brushing and sunning items will help to rid them of eggs and larvae. Brush items outdoors to prevent infestation of other items.

If items were heavily infested, it may be best to discard them to avoid re-infesting the area. Then watch the area to be sure there is no damage to stored items.

Many household pesticides commonly used to control ants, roaches, and fleas also can be used in storage areas to control fabric pests. These types of products can be purchased at the supermarket, drug store, or hardware store. If you do not feel these products will be sufficient to eliminate the infestation in your home, a reputable professional can be contacted for assistance.

Commercially available moth repellents include paradichlorobenzene (PDB) and naphthalene crystals (moth balls). Both are toxins and can be absorbed into the body when vapors are inhaled, especially over an extended period. Some individuals may be especially sensitive to these products and should avoid their use.

When using a moth control product, do not place the product directly on fabric. Some fabrics and fabric dyes are adversely affected by the products. Place the product on a paper or between layers of paper to protect the items when using in storage boxes or trunks. If a garment bag is used, suspend the moth control product in an old sock or nylon stocking at the top of the bag. Be sure clothing is stored loosely so fumes can filter throughout the bag.

These repellents create vapors that are heavier than air, so they should be placed in the storage area above the items. Do not use them when plastic hangers or plastic buttons, belts, or trim are involved. Plastics may react with PDB and naphthalene and be permanently damaged.

Some dried herbs and other natural materials are thought to help repel insects-cedar, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, lavender, and tansy. Care should be used with such products because some of them are toxic. Always read the label and follow instructions carefully.

Cedar-lined closets and cedar chests can help prevent infestation if they can be sealed tightly. After several years, however, the volatile oils that provide the protection may dry up and no longer be effective.

Freezing can be used as a method to control fabric pests. To be effective, store items at 0°F for a minimum of 48 to 72 hours. Kill can be achieved at 10°F, but the items must be stored much longer. This method works best for small items such as stuffed animals, feather accessories, or items difficult to launder or dry-clean.

When freezing items, place them in polyethylene bags, squeeze out excess air, and seal tightly. After the prescribed amount of time in the freezer, remove the item to the refrigerator to thaw slowly. Items can be removed from the bag after coming to room temperature. Or store the items in the polyethylene bag. To guarantee a complete insect kill, it is recommended that you immediately repeat the process before removing contents from the bag.

Cold storage is an effective way to protect previously uninfested furs and other items from insect damage. It does not kill the eggs or larvae. It simply prevents the larvae from feeding. Infested items should be cleaned prior to cold storage.

Mothproofing is a chemical treatment given to fabrics that protects them from insects without leaving any odor. If an item is labeled “mothproof” or “moth resistant,” the protective chemical must have been applied when the item was manufactured. The process is considered permanent. At this time, there is no mothproofing product available for consumer application.

The best way to protect your clothing and furnishings from damage from fabric-eating insects is to use the following measures:

  • Purchase items the manufacturer has treated so they resist clothes moths and carpet beetles.
  • Apply protective treatments to likely targets of clothes moth and carpet beetle infestation.
  • Practice good housekeeping so the insects do not have a chance to lay eggs, which hatch into hungry larvae.
  • When necessary, use insecticide or a natural repellent to discourage insects from infesting your home. If you discover a heavy infestation of insects in your home, contact a reputable pest control firm to help remedy the problem.

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

Reprinted March 2001
Electronic Distribution July 2001

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles thrive in homes, museums, warehouses and other places where food exists. The young beetles look like tiny, hairy worms, and they like to feed in dark, undisturbed places like behind baseboards, under furniture, and in closets. They are often confused with other pests like bed bugs and fleas. Proper identification is key. Depending on your location, one type of carpet beetle may be more common than others. Consult your local cooperative extension service for help identifying your pest.

As the name suggests, carpet beetles are important pests in wool carpets and rugs. In addition to wool, carpet beetles can feed on silk, hair, feathers, and fur. They may also feed on plant materials, including books, grains, spices, and pet foods. They do not eat man-made materials but they have been found in items that have both man-made and natural fibers.

Control tips:

  • Routine dusting and vacuuming of carpets, furniture, and pantry shelves can reduce the number of breeding sites and food sources.
  • Store attractive items like opened foods, fur coats and leather in sealed, airtight containers.
  • Check flowers and used furniture for the presence of any pest before bringing them into your home.
  • Sunning fabrics can make the larvae leave the fabric in search of a dark place to hide.
  • Dry cleaning will kill carpet beetles on clothing. A hot dryer can also be effective.
  • If carpet beetles keep coming back after treatment, consider looking in air ducts for dusty debris and in the attic for animal nests or carcasses.
  • If you decide to use a pesticide, always read and follow label directions and make sure the pesticide is intended for treating carpet beetles.

Last updated December 20, 2018

Carpet Moths

The Carpet Moth is a common household textile pest. Carpet moth larvae feed predominately on keratin found in natural fibres such as wool, and so can live on any carpet with some wool content. A carpet moth infestation can be a costly problem as it can cause serious and often irreperable damage to carpets, rugs and other soft furnishings in the home. Also, if carpet moths feed on all natural fibres, if left untreated, they can go on to infest wardrobes and drawers and cause additional damage to expensive clothing like wool and cashmere sweaters and suits, as well as silk, fur and leather garments.

Identifying a Carpet Moth

  • The carpet moth is smaller than a common house moth; with a body about 5mm long and a wingspan of about 14-18mm.
  • Carpet moths are buff coloured, with forewings that usually have three distinct dots. The hind wings are smaller in comparison, and lighter coloured.
  • The carpet moth will rarely fly and are more likely to be seen hopping about at floor level.
  • The Case Bearing moth (Tinea pellionella) leaves small white cases, similar to grains of rice, out of which the moths hatch.

The Lifecycle of a Carpet Moth

Where the environment offers ideal levels of heat and humidity, an egg can develop into an adult moth within as little as 2 months; however, if the levels of heat and humidity differ, the lifecycle can take up to 2 years.
Due to central heating and better insulation in homes, reproduction and development can now continue throughout colder periods of the year, although during the winter you will notice less activity as the larvae develop more slowly until the start of the warmer weather when development speeds up and numbers increase more rapidly.

Checking for a Carpet Moth Infestation

If you have noticed threadbare patches on rugs and carpets, particularly in unused rooms, in dark areas or under longstanding furniture this is a tell-tale sign of a carpet moth infestation.
You may also spot larval cases dotted about around the edges of the room, or even notice some adult moths hopping about.

How do I get rid of Carpet Moths?

The most effective carpet moth control is achieved by using a combination of products such as powders, sprays and fumigation devices. In order to prevent a future infestation, it’s important to ensure your home is kept clean. Moths are attracted to moisture in spills and perspiration, as well as food traces. Ensuring that you vacuum thoroughly around the edges of room and under furniture is imperative, as moths will thrive in undisturbed areas.
For information on carpet moth treatment, please click on this link. For details on all our carpet moth killer products and to make a purchase, please click on the Moth Category tab above or here. We sell a variety of moth control products including residual insecticides such as Formula C Moth Spray and Formula P Carpet Moth Powder as well as fumigating Formula P Foggers; Moth Pheromone Traps for monitoring activity and Moth Killer Cassettes and Strips for protecting clothing in wardrobes and drawers. In addition, our bestselling Carpet Moth Kits provide all you need to eradicate a carpet moth infestation in your home. Our Kits are supplied with step-by-step instructions to enable you to carry out a simple and hassle-free treatment to get rid of carpet moths and keep your home moth free without the cost of a professional technician.

Follow the simple steps below for a highly effective Carpet Moth Treatment:

1. Ensure pets and children are out of the room at time of treatment and that any fish tanks are covered and removed. Vacuum the carpet thoroughly.

2. Firstly, apply a light dusting of Formula P Carpet Moth Powder to the entire carpet, with a more liberal application around the edges of the room and under long-standing furniture. Leave the powder down for 30 minutes to an hour to take effect before vacuuming up. (In areas of low foot traffic where the powder is not likely to be disturbed and become airborne it can be left down for longer, providing it is inaccessible to pets and children.
3. Spray Formula C+ Moth Killer Spray on areas of damage or the entire carpet if activity is widespread. Ideally you should move any heavy furniture and spray beneath. Apply spray more heavily around the edges of the room (up to 50cm out from skirting boards) and underneath the edges of the carpet if this is practical.
4. As Formula C+ is a residual insecticide it will leave an invisible barrier which will remain effective for several weeks after trearment (depending upon traffic over surfaces). Therefore, for maximum effect, you should avoid cleaning / vacuuming treated surfaces for as long as possible as this will remove the residue.
5. Next, place a Formula ‘P’ Fogger in the centre of the room and activate by pushing down firmly on the trigger to lock into place. The insecticidal gas is released under high pressure, so we advise ensuring the canister is held away from you when activating. The Fogger takes approx 90 seconds to disperse its contents. Each Fogger will treat a standard-size room of approx 4m x 4m. The Fogger will leave no residue on anything so will not taint or damage clothing, furniture or soft furnishings.
6. Leave the room and allow 2-3 hours for the spray to dry and for the gas to disperse. Upon re-entering the room, ventilate for approx 30 minutes by opening doors and windows to eliminate any remaining fumes and help speed up the drying process. Pets and children can safely return to the room and sit on treated carpets as soon as they are dry to the touch.
7. Install a moth pheromone trap in the room to monitor activity after treatment. Fold the plastic holder into a triangular shape, peel off the backing strip from one pheromone pad and place inside, sticky side facing out. Each pheromone pad will last approx 4-6 weeks.
8. If the carpet moth infestation is heavy or widespread, a repeat treatment may be necessary after 30 days.
To download our Carpet Moth Advice Sheet please click on the PDF icon here.

How to Treat Your Rugs For Moths

May 07, 2015

Rugs are frequently found to be the root cause of a carpet moth infestation. We bring rugs back from holiday destinations and we tend to inherit them. As such we can unknowingly find ourselves owning a rug with moths in it. ‘How to get rid of moths in rugs’ is a straight forward enough task, but rugs can be large & heavy, so sometimes it can be logistically challenging. Here are some helpful tips:

Step 1 – Get the Rug in Position:
– If possible get the rug out of your home and treat it elsewhere, i.e. a garage or other outbuilding. If that’s not possible perhaps you have a ‘spare room’ that you can use. This will allow you to treat the rug with minimum disruption to the rest of the home, and it will allow you easier access to the underside of the rug as well as the topside
– If your rug is positioned on top of a carpet it makes sense to leave the rug in the room so that the carpet can be fumed as well. However, consider that the efficiency of the Fumer will be reduced where it needs to get through a rug to the carpet beneath. If possible lift any furniture off of the rug and then raise the rug off of the floor – draping the rug over an arrangement of dining chairs is very effective
– It is important to have easy access to the underside of a rug when treating it

Step 2 – Fume the Rug to Kill Moth Eggs & Larvae:
– The best way to treat a rug for moths is to Fume it. Fumers (smoke bombs) are the most aggressive form of treatment, yet they are very simple to use, require very little effort, and extremely cost effective
– Measure the room in which the rug is to be treated to ascertain the number of Fumers required. See our simple Fumer Guide
– Simply Fume and Ventilate the Room. The Fuming lasts for a minute or two, but the rug must stay in the smokey room for 4hrs before you then air the room for 2hrs

Step 3 – Spray the Rug for an Ongoing Attack on Moths:
– We recommend the use of either Natural Aerosol Protector or Protector C when spraying rugs. Both of these sprays leave a persistent coating that is odourless, non sticky, clear, and remains toxic to Moths, Larvae & Eggs for up to 4wks
– Spray the underside of the rug (and the carpet that will be concealed by the rug when it is repositioned)
– Allow the spray to dry and then put the rug back in place. You can now spray the topside of the rug and allow it to dry
– If your rug has some bald spots from where moths have previously attacked consider applying Insectrol Powder to the bald areas. The powder should remain in place for a minimum of 30 minutes (or for as long as a day) before vacuuming to remove. Please note that animals and children should not have access to Insectrol Powder

Step 4 – Ongoing Prevention:
– Check your rug daily for any fresh traces of damage or moth activity
– Vacuum Daily to start off with – this will make it easier to identify fresh activity
– If after a week you see fresh activity you should consider repeating the fuming process
– After 3-4wks repeat Step 3

For further assistance please Contact Us.

Preventing and Fighting Moths Living in Your Persian and Oriental Rugs

Moths will eat anything, and your rug is no exception. They are one of the worst enemies of any fine rug, especially older and antique rugs. You should be especially aware of the cloth moth, as this is the type of moth that would love to feast on your priceless heirloom.

2 types of moth: casemaking moth and webbing moth

How and Why Did Moths Make Their Way into My Home?

You might think that your house is moth free and your rugs are safe and sound, but pests are always looking for ways to enter your home. Moths can enter your home easily and be undetected as they do so. Mail, pets, open doors, and moving items in and out of warehouses and storage are just some of the ways that these insects can enter your home. To them, your home is a paradise. It provides shelter from predators, an excellent source of food, and many nesting spots. Once moths enter your home, they can lay anywhere from 30 to 200 eggs per month. Those eggs will eventually grow up to become adults, and they will also lay 30 to 200 more eggs every month. A moth problem can easily become a moth disaster for your rugs and the rest of your home.

How to Discover Moths in Your Home

As we enter moth season, it is important to take some time to check your home for moths. Frequent checks are the best way to prevent a large moth damage problem from taking over your home, and checking for them is simple. One of the easiest methods to indicate whether or not your home has moths is by using a moth trap. Make sure the trap you are using is for cloth moths and not another type of moth.

A moth pheromone trap will help you indicate whether or not you have moths in your home

These traps work by emitting a pheromone which attracts males into the sticky bottom layer. The males are trapped and prevented from reproducing. Do note that moth traps are only an effective way to indicate that moths are in your home. They are not an effective way of getting rid of them, should you find any.

How to Prevent Moths If Your Home is Moth Free

If your home is moth free, it is important to make sure that your home stays that way. The best way to prevent moth infestations is to constantly be monitoring. Moths can enter your home with no warning. A harmless box from a warehouse could actually be carrying eggs.

Moths reproduce at a rapid rate, and they eat and damage your belongings at a rapid rate, too! To prevent them from doing damage to your rugs, you may consider keeping a moth trap in your home throughout the year.

A fine handmade rug can take a lot of damage from moths in just a short amount of time.

Many fine rugs are made of natural fibers, such as wool, which over time lose their natural oily properties and become drier, making them easier for pests to eat than a new rug. Although you can do nothing about the age of your rug, you can prevent your antique rug from becoming a moth’s next meal by regularly cleaning it. A clean rug will not be nearly as appetizing.

You should also regularly vacuum your rugs- and not just the visible areas. Moth eggs love to hide in dark, damp, and quiet spaces with little to no air circulation. This means that areas under your china cabinet, your sofa, and even the underside of your rug are all the perfect spots for eggs to grow. Be proactive and clean these areas regularly. You should also rotate your rug at least once a year. On top of preventing moth growth, rotating your rug will also help in distributing the amount of traffic your rug receives on different areas.

If you are taking an extended vacation, make sure that your rugs are stored properly. Make sure your home is dry and has proper air movement during your time away. When you return, make sure to vacuum and clean your home thoroughly. Your time away is the perfect time for moths to play.

Remember, proper rug protection is one of your responsibilities as a rug owner. When you put in the extra time to keep your rug in good shape now, you are actually saving yourself from weeks to months (sometimes even years!) of headache in the future.

How to Remove Moths If Your Home Has Them

If you have moths in your home, you should act immediately. They can easily do thousands of dollars of damage to your rug. A $50,000 rug can easily receive $30,000 worth of damage.

First, vacuum your house thoroughly. You will want to vacuum both the front and back of all of your rugs. Make sure you vacuum areas underneath furniture and behind your curtains as well. Take your rugs and place them in an area where they can receive direct sunlight. The ultraviolet rays will work quickly to kill any eggs that are still hiding in your rug. Don’t forget- the backside of your rug needs to be placed in direct sunlight, too.

If you have access to a leaf blower, use one to blast air in areas where bugs nest. This includes under your furniture, in the corners of your closets, behind your curtains, and any other dark and quiet areas.

Your next step will be to sanitize and wash your rug– bring your rug in for a professional cleaning. At Behnam Rugs, we can determine the amount of damage done to your rug and what steps should be taken next. Small areas can often be rewoven at a cost that would be far lower than replacement. Large areas can be shaved and sheared to minimize how obvious the damage to your rug is.

The professionals at Behnam Rugs will wash & sanitize your rug the natural way and kill moths without damaging your rug.

Even if the foundation of your rug has been damaged by these pests, there are still options. Behnam Rugs can permanently dye your rug to minimize how obvious any damage is. The moth damaged areas will be hidden by the dye.

In severe situations, your rug may require a large amount of reweaving. Reweaving is generally a more expensive repair option, and the cost can be very high when reweaving is required on a larger area. In these situations, your rug may need to be sent to a country such as Turkey or Iran for the reweaving job to be completed. This process can be time consuming and costly. Remember to constantly check your home for insects in order to prevent this sort of hassle.

Can I Chemically Treat My Rug?

Behnam Rugs does not recommend chemically treating your rug, be it for moth proofing or extermination. Harsh chemicals can damage your rug, and they can also hurt you. Your rug lives with you, whether it is on your floor, your wall, or your stairs. You and your family constantly interact with your rugs. Behnam Rugs prefers natural prevention methods and restoration methods.

More Questions?

If you have any further questions on moths and how they can affect your rugs, please feel free to call Behnam Rugs at 972-733-0400 or visit us during our store hours. Behnam Rugs has over 40 years of experience with rugs and rug repairs, and our rug experts would love to help you.