How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Author: Michael Potter Reviewed by Updated: May 13, 2022

What is the best way to get rid of carpet beetles? Carpet beetles are hard to control because they tend to disperse throughout the house. That is why sticky traps like JF Moth & Beetle Traps are the first thing to do when you have a carpet beetle infestation. Place traps in different parts of the house to see where these pests come from. However, traps kill only adults and are useless against eggs.

To eliminate the entire infestation, apply an insecticide as a spot treatment. Insecticides can be formulated as dusts like the Delta Insecticide or come in the liquid form like the ready-to-use Ortho Home Defense MAX or the Demand CS concentrate. Treat carpets, infested fabrics as well as hard-to-reach sites where carpet beetles hide. Organic solutions like Boric Acid are recommended as a non-toxic option.

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust, 1 LB
Based on deltamethrin, it covers about 2,000 sq.ft. and targets multiple pests including carpet beetles. The dust is waterproof, odorless, and can be applied in food-handling areas. The residual lasts for up to 8 months.

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Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter
Designed for indoor use and perimeter treatment, it kills over 130 pests. Use this bifenthrin-based insecticide to kill the existing beetles and create an effective bug barrier to prevent the new ones from entering the house.

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Syngenta 73654 Demand CS Insecticide, 8oz
This odorless formula contains lambda-cyhalothrin that can both kill and repel insects. It uses a microcapsule technology ensuring a long-lasting residual for up to 90 days. The 8 oz concentrate makes up to 40 gallons.

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BASF – 792075 – Cy-Kick CS – Insecticide – 16oz
Made with 6.0% cyfluthrin, it is a very potent insecticide that can be used indoors and outdoors. The product works on the toughest surfaces, such as porous and grease ones. It has a 3-month residual and is weather-resistant.

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Bayer 80035225 Polyzone Suspend Pint Insecticide
This product contains 4.75% deltamethrin and is safe to apply where food is handled. It should be diluted at a rate of 1.2 oz per gallon of water. The insecticide stays where it is applied due to the exclusive polymer technology.

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HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder
This boric acid powder is a great non-toxic alternative to chemical sprays. It kills indoor insects within 3 days after contact and remains effective for months. The powder comes in an easy-to-apply puffer bottle with a straw.

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JF oakes Pro Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps 2 Pre-Baited Traps
Designed for beetles and moths, these traps are pre-baited with a powerful insect attractant — the pheromone. The beetles get stuck on the inside of the box and die. The product is free of pesticides and safe to use around food.

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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.

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 tan or brownish.

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 mostly 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, your 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 budget friendly concentrated insecticides to be used in a garden sprayer.

1. Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust, 1 LB

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. However, be prepared for a thorough cleaning after the treatment, although the users confirm that the dust is indeed effective against carpet beetles, this method is quite dirty since the dust gets everywhere.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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.

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3. Syngenta 73654 Demand CS Insecticide

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.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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. BASF Cy-Kick CS (16 oz) Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide

This cyfluthrin is packed in 16 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 100 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 Cy-Kick extremely highly.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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5. Bayer 80035225 Polyzone Suspend Pint Insecticide

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.

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6. HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder w/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.

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The Best Carpet Beetle Trap

7. JF oakes 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.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Moth & Beetle Traps:  Check the current price

Expert Opinion: Brandon Miller, Pest Control Specialist

Brandon Miller, Pest Control Specialist

Brandon Miller is a pest control specialist that works with many species of insects, including ants, bed bugs, and carpet beetles.

We have a lot of people calling us who are like we are seeing these little things crawling on our walls or crawling in our pillow or on our carpet. It is like a millipede, but it is not. It is a carpet beetle. They look kind of hairy and when they are adults, they look very similar to bed bugs. They are definitely a nuisance. A lot of people are actually allergic to them, so they get rashes that look like bites. They come out from the outside and can fly into the home. They are really hard to see and they reproduce very quickly. If you have one that gets into the carpet, they like those dark places. Vacuuming is really a good thing, keeping it clean. If you do have them, you can always dry clean your clothes or iron your things.

Carpet Beetle Traps, Sprays and Dusts Comparison Chart

Ida Willson.
PhD from the University of the Free State.
The holder of 14 academic awards, Dr Ida Willson works in agriculture and has been conducting studies both in South Africa and the UK

View Comments

  • Used bed bug spray for awhile and found out we had carpet nettles. Iam currently using blaze bed bug. I been spending a fortune 10 bottles for 120.

  • For those suffering from the nightmare of BEETLES! I hope that this info will help someone else to deal with these little devils! First I'd recommend you check for tiny holes in your walls ceiling and wooden furniture. I say this only because I had to deal with not only carpet beetles but another type of beetles as well. I have went mental trying to rid my family of these awful things! I am very OCD with keeping a neat house. I knew that they had not moved in due to poor cleaning. I actually got them after having termites. They treated for the termites but did not thoroughly check the home for cracks and openings. Therefore we basically had a welcome mat for beetles and other insects that love damaged wood and dead termite buffets! After going mental and trying everything I could find was proven effective this was my best defense. First check everything from the foundation to the attic, windows, doors,ect. Make sure to caulk, seal, and repair any holes and cracks! Next take a day off work or call in some friends because you are going to THOROUGHLY clean everything! Next I lightly sprinkle boric acid onto all the carpets and let it sit for 24hrs. Pay special attention to walls and crevices. Now while you are letting the boric do its thing, you need to wash every set of curtains, linens, towels, and rugs! If you flip the bath mat or rug and find lots of tiny holes, save yourself time and sweat and toss them out! Now you are going to vacuum your mattresses and furniture. And I mean every crease, underneath, sides of cushions, EVERY inch! Then make sure you empty out your vacuum cleaner outside into a bag and clean canister well! I try to apply the boric late in the evening since most pests are active at night. After I have done all I have listed and I have waited at least 24hrs I thoroughly vacuum every inch of carpet using all those little attachments you never thought to touch lol. I again empty my vacuum and clean it. Lastly I use the aerosol can of SLA and spray the furniture, couches, wood cabinets and any other pieces I've noticed have been infected. If you can get through all this, I would then suggest you do a outdoor spray around the perimeter and vacuum the carpets daily for 7days. You will be exhausted but now you try to rest and relax. Give it another week and then grab a flashlight and look at all those wonderful hiding places I'm sure u researched already online lol. If u find no adult beetles larvae count your blessings and just continue your normal housework to make sure you don't ever see them again! And if you find live ones. Well you can repeat everything again or contact a well reviewed exterminator for them to tent and fumigate your home. I didn't suggest that 1st because most people don't have a extra $750-$1200 bucks to spend on fumigation. I have been through a lot of rough times and this is honestly in my top 10! It's exhausting, devastating, and it will make you go mad! And I would not wish this on anyone! As far as concerns about your hair. I personally found that spraying a little deet repellent on myself and hair, then applying a shower cap and ear plugs allowed me a few hrs of sleep. I am not sure if it works or gave me enough peace of mind to get some sleep, either way I could get some rest and that helps! Good luck to anyone reading this. I've been there!

  • Branch they absolutely will go in your hair - they cause a dermoid rash.. just as other above have said. I too have to cover my hair at night and slather myself in an essential oil mix. All after a year of not knowing what was happening. Suffering from rashes, skin issues and eye issues.... on top of chewed clothing. They are very Disruptive tiny but might annoyances & can absolutely 100% create issues w/pet & human skin. The larvae is covered in bristled so they don’t need to bite simple contact can cause an adverse Skin reaction .... some folks even suffer bronchial side effects. I live in an old 1900 house w/proper insulation or even finishes — these things have changed my life and will drive one crazy!

  • Hi I have a carpet beetle infestation for last year have finally moved into another property and yes after being very careful they are now with me still. I can confirm they do get into your hair as they get into pillows and duvets. . I go to bed with shower cap on and spray my hair with vinegar every night . It’s awful. Rentokil and other pest control have denied this but you only know after suffering with them yourself. Pleased to read your blog they have made me think I’m ill and suggested I go to doctors. They even get into toilet rolls . Nowhere is off limits for these pests.

  • @Branka please do at least a little research before giving false information. Yes they do infest hair , in fact they like both animal and human because they are attracted by the natural oils in your hair. They say peppermint oil and clove oil are both big repellents for them and that Cedarwood Oil dissolves eggs larvae and adults on contact

  • I’m using Diatomaceous powder, along with Deltamethrin insecticide,an IGR, Delta powder, double-sided sticky tape with Tanglefoot,etc. I’ve known about Diatom Earth because of my gardening experience with both inside and outside plants. The Delta powder has an active ingredient,Deltamethrin,and should be used only in cracks and crevices especially if you have pets. It also stays active for only so long, I believe 6months. But the Diatom Earth has no active ingredient and will last forever-great!

  • Best comprehensive article I've read so far on DIY pest control for carpet beetles, but there is no mention at all of diatomaceous earth. From what I have read so far it's on par with boric acid, except it kills at a slower pace. What are yall's opinion on the stuff? Worth a go?

  • Wouldnt want to disrupt the fauna. By that i mean,,wanting to kill one or maybe a couple more creatures because of infesting ok,others not part of it or just may want to e rid of the because we can. Thats putting t,ward bad fauna.. But,after saying that i need something that will get RID of carpet beetles and in my hair,,,please. Whats the cure for this? Nowhere can i find one.

    • Carpet beetles do not go inside your hair! They don't go on you. They don't bite you! They like to stay in crevices near floors mostly and under the fridge and under the stove and dishwasher, and you might find their skins on items stored but not touched for a long time, above the floor. Usually they are on the floor near dust bunnies, under boxes, containers, on clothes. They love clothing. They can even get into any storage box.
      Usually we don't see the full grow beetle, it's always the small longish c-shaped wriggling larvae or their brownish striped shed skins.

      And if you have CARPET, GOOD LUCK! Say no to carpet because they hide in it. No wonder all the shaggy carpets from the seventies were eventually removed from people's homes..

      No matter where I lived they seem to follow me! Why hasn't a natural product been found to deter these pests that is not dusty? I have pets so have to be careful.
      Seems like the safest place to keep you stuff is on the ceiling!

    • Hi I’m just reading about carpet beetles online and I saw your post about needing something to kill them in your hair ..... I’ve had this for a year or so now and it’s literally nearly driving me mental , I was wondering if you ever found anything that worked or the outcome if and how you got rid of these buggers . I’d be so grateful for your response or any advice at all if you would share it with me .
      Many many thanks , Roger

Author: Michael Potter Reviewed by Updated: May 13, 2022
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Michael Potter, Ph. D. In biology, is a consultant and author for He is a scientist obsessed with the idea to save the world from pests.

He does not belive hollow words and empty promises from the producers ads. It is only facts that matter to him. Mr. Potter questions any statement and analzes in detail all related information.


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