How to control carpet beetles

Finding a strange worn area in your carpet or favourite rug is certainly upsetting….. and could be expensive! The most likely culprit for damage to carpets is the carpet beetle. Preventing carpet beetle attack ccan be achieved by putting in place a number of preventative measures and using the appropriate products to control carpet beetles

Adult variegated carpet beetle

Adult variegated carpet beetle

Carpet beetle larva

Carpet beetle larva

Carpet Beetle Identification

What do carpet beetles look like?

Although there are a number of different species of carpet beetle, the most common species is the Variegated Carpet Beetle. (All the species have similar behaviours and appearance, although the colour of the adult needle may differ).

  • Eggs: The eggs are white / translucent and 0.5 -1mm in size and so difficult to see
  • Larvae: Carpet beetle larvae superficially look like hairy beetles in shape and movement. However, they are dark in colour and covered with numerous tough bristles. Larvae undergo several moults before becoming an adult. There is no cocoon or pupa in the carpet beetle.
  • Adult: Adults are less than 0.5cm long with a variegated colour. 

Signs of an infestation

  • Carpet beetles tend to leave larger areas of damage in dark / sheltered areas (as compared to damage in a number of spots caused by clothes moths)
  • Piles of discarded bristle skins (from moulting larvae) can be seen near areas of damage.
  • Droppings the appearance and size of course sand and of colour similar to the textile they have eaten, will be found at areas of damage
  • Adults appear in Spring or early Summer and are often found on window sills trying to get outside to feed on pollen.

Main pest season

Carpet beetles tend to be a year round problem as the larvae take 9 months to develop into an adult (which means 9 months of eating). The life-cycle take about a year with the adults appearing in Spring and early Summer.

Carpet Beetle Facts

  • Carpet beetles are found throughout Australia and can handle lower humidity than clothes moths so are also found inland from the coast.
  • The larvae do all the damage (the adults only eat pollen). Carpet beetle larvae will eat all manner of animal material, including wool, fur, silk, felt, feathers and leather. They do not eat synthetic materials.

Carpet Beetle Prevention Tips

  • Regularly vacuum all carpeted rooms, especially around the perimeter and under heavy furniture.
  • Regularly move cupboards and heavy furniture in carpeted rooms. Inspect the carpet for signs of damage and insect activity.
  • At the end of each season, wash and store clothes in a sealed bag / suitcase.
  • Check incoming flowers for adult beetles
  • If you have a lot of flowers near your home, adult beetles can regularly fly in - insects screens will help.

Carpet Beetle Control Tips

  • If you suspect carpet beetle presence / damage in carpets, all affected areas should be sprayed with insecticide (either aerosol or ready to use pump spray), paying particular attention to damaged areas and other areas under furniture.
  • Items of clothing or curtains suffering damage (or items stored close by) should be placed in a sealed black plastic bag in the sun for 1-2 hours.  This will kill any larvae / eggs. The items can then be washed. Any delicate items then may be impacted by heat should be inspected individually.
  • Any cupboards which have been sites of carpet beetle activity should be treated with an insecticide spray (all shelves and drawers). Items of clothing should be removed before treatment and replace once the treatment is dry.
  • Adult beetles flying in can be treated with a suitable insecticide aerosol.

PestXpert Carpet Beetle Products

  • PestXpert has a range of products that can be used to treat carpets and storage areas for carpet beetles; Pro-Spray flying, Pro-Spray Crawling and Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor. It is recommended that Pro-Spray Flying and Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor be the first choices for fabrics as they are water based formulations. However, as with all products, test on a small area of surface or fabric first before spraying a large area.
  • For any adult beetles that appear or fly in, Pro-Spray aerosol provides quick control.
Pro-Spray Flying

Pro-Spray Flying

Pro-Spray Crawling

Pro-Spray Crawling

Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor

Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor