How to Kill a Carpet Beetle

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum

  • Washing machine

  • Insect spray

  • Borate powder

  • Red cedar chips

  • Sticky traps

  • Plastic bags


Carpet beetles feed on wool, hair, silk, felt, leather, cereal, pasta and nuts, carpets, rugs, blankets and other household fabrics.


Dust formulas may adversely affect people with respiratory problems. More than one application of sprayed insecticides may be necessary. Do not spray clothes or bedding directly with insecticides.

Where there is one beetle, there are probably many.

Carpet beetles damage carpets, rugs and clothing. They reside in closets, drawers and upholstered furniture, among other places. As soon as their presence is detected, quick action is required to kill larvae and adult carpet beetles and to destroy their eggs. Where you see an adult beetle, you will probably find larvae and eggs nearby. Armed with insecticide products and an awareness of areas that typically require treatment, you can eliminate an infestation of kill carpet beetles without incurring the expense of an exterminator's services.

Step 1

A vacuum cleaner bag containing carpet beetle eggs is best removed outdoors.

Inspect your home. If you have already seen a beetle, more are around. Look for the heaviest area of infestation. Larvae skins or holes in fabrics are indicators that beetles are nearby. Vacuum immediately anything you see. Take the vacuum cleaner outdoors before removing the bag and placing it in a garbage container.

Step 2

Hot water will kill carpet beetles, larvae and their eggs.

Wash infested fabrics with hot, soapy water. Drop off rugs and larger items at a dry cleaner.

Step 3

Sprinkle boric acid around window sills, in cracks and crevices and in cupboards. This naturally occurring compound is safe around your food, but can bleach fabric. Sprinkle a pyrethrum-based insecticide powder along carpet and wall junctures, inside cushions, couches and chairs and behind baseboards.

Step 4

Purchase an insecticide specifically made for carpet beetles. Spray a product containing deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, bendiocarbs or allerthrin in cracks and crevices. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the products under and on edges of floor coverings, around rugs and furniture, and in closets. Apply up to four times three weeks apart.

Step 5

Use a discrete, non-spray, time-release product containing hydroprene for ongoing, long-term treatment of areas infested with carpet beetles..

Step 6

Place red cedar chips in closets. The chips alone will not kill carpet beetles, but newly hatched larvae cannot survive red cedar's toxic vapor.

Step 7

Destroy all old nests.

Destroy and remove old wasp nests, mud dauber nests and bird nests around the home. Remains of wasps and other insects are food for carpet beetles, so the elimination of these nests is crucial to beetle control. Find nests under eaves and in attics. Place them in a plastic bag, seal it tightly and place them in a garbage container.

Step 8

Place sticky traps around heavily infested areas. Check the traps once or twice a week. These can be purchased with or without a pheromone, a chemical used to attract others of the same species. This will help you discover a possible entrance area.


Lisa Finn

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.