If you think you may have a problem with carpet beetles, you’re not alone.
As pests, carpet beetles can infest your home and cause a lot of damage. They often hide in mattresses and bedding, where they can be challenging to get rid of.
In this article, we will discuss how to identify carpet beetles, how to get rid of carpet beetles in mattresses and bedrooms, and how to prevent them from returning.
What Are Carpet Beetles?
Carpet beetles are small and round. They’re attracted to your house because homes provide a food source for the larvae. Carpet beetle larvae are small, worm-like creatures often mistaken for bed bugs. They’re usually brown or black and have hairy bodies.
What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?
A carpet beetle can vary in color depending on its species. The most common type of carpet beetle is the black carpet beetle. It’s typically black or dark brown with striped patterns on its back.
These types of beetles will usually range in size from about one-eighth of an inch to one-quarter of an inch (about the size of a penny). However, larvae can reach up to one-half of an inch in length.
What Do Carpet Beetles Eat?
Carpet beetle larvae primarily eat natural fibers and other materials that contain keratin. These materials include wool, fur, silk, hair, feathers, and dead insects. However, they will also eat synthetic fibers, such as cotton and polyester.
Adults enjoy eating nectar and pollen. They’re especially attracted to fabrics soiled with sweat or other body fluids.
Do Carpet Beetles Bite?
You don’t need to fear getting bitten by a carpet beetle. However, their larvae can irritate you if they come into contact with your skin. The larvae may also cause allergic reactions in some people.
Are Carpet Beetles Harmful?
Although not harmful to humans, carpet beetles can cause damage to your home. Their larvae will destroy carpets, furniture, clothing, and other fabrics. They may also infest stored food products and contaminate them with their feces.
Life Cycle of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles go through four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
The female carpet beetle will lay her eggs on or near a food source. The larvae hatch a few days later and begin feeding, and they will molt several times as they grow.
Molting is the process of them shedding their skin. As the carpet beetles molt, they will change in appearance. The last stage is the pupa stage. During this phase, the larvae finalize the transformation into their adult form. They do this by spinning a cocoon and pupating, which means changing into an adult beetle.
The process from egg to adult can take anywhere from two months to over a year, depending on the species, temperature, and food availability.
Types of Carpet Beetles
You’ll commonly find three types of carpet beetles in homes.
- Black carpet beetle
- Furniture carpet beetle
- Varied carpet beetle
All three types of beetles can turn into a nuisance as they feed on natural fibers. However, the varied carpet beetle is the most destructive type of beetle. It likes to feed on various items, including carpets, clothing, and even dead insects. Furniture carpet beetles especially like to feed on linen, jute, leather, silk, fur, and rayon.
Difference Between Carpet Beetles and Bed Bugs
Carpet beetles and bed bugs are often confused with each other. Both insects can infest your home and cause damage to your belongings. However, there are some key differences between the two.
- Carpet beetles do not bite humans.
- Bed bugs do bite humans.
- Bed bugs are smaller than carpet beetles
- Carpet beetles like natural fibers
- Bed bugs seek blood
Signs of Carpet Beetles in a Mattress
One of the first mattress signs of carpet beetles is small holes in your fabric. The larvae create these holes as they feed on the material.
Other carpet beetles in mattress signs include the following.
- Your mattress has carpet beetle larvae.
- Cast-off skins
- Stains on your fabric
- Your mattress has carpet beetle poop
Larvae or adult beetles: Look for small, round beetles crawling on your mattress or in your bedding.
Cast-off skins: Carpet beetle larvae shed their skin as they grow. You may find these cast-off skins in your bedding or on your mattress.
Stains on your fabric: Carpet beetle larvae can stain fabrics with their feces. These stains may be brown, yellow, or red.
Feces or eggs: You may also find small, round beetle eggs in your bedding. The eggs are usually black or dark brown. Carpet beetle feces are small and pellet-like.
How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Your Mattress
If you think you have carpet beetles in your mattress, there are some things you can do to get rid of them.
Use Boric Acid
Boric acid is a substance that can kill carpet beetles. It works by dehydrating the insects. You can purchase boric acid at most hardware stores or online.
To use boric acid, mix it with water to create a paste. Then, apply the paste to any areas where you’ve noticed carpet beetles. Be sure to apply it in a thin layer, so it doesn’t damage your fabric. You can also use boric acid powder. Just sprinkle it on any affected areas and vacuum it up after a few hours.
You can apply boric acid to other areas to kill carpet beetles in your bedroom.
Humans won’t face any danger from boric acid unless they inhale or eat it in large quantities. It can harm pets if they ingest it. Consider hiring a professional to apply boric acid if you’re concerned about applying it yourself.
Vinegar is a natural substance that can kill carpet beetles. It works by drowning the insects. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
To use vinegar, mix it with water in a spray bottle. Then, spray any affected areas in your bedroom. Saturate the site so that the beetles can’t escape. You can also soak a cloth in vinegar and place it on any affected areas.
Other areas to apply vinegar while eliminating carpet beetles include the following.
Wash any areas you sprayed with vinegar after a few hours. Vinegar can damage some fabrics and surfaces if left on too long.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from the fossilized remains of algae. It works by puncturing the exoskeletons of insects. As the carpet beetles lose fats and oils from diatomaceous earth exposure, they will dehydrate and die. You can purchase diatomaceous earth at most hardware stores or online.
To use the product, sprinkle it on any affected areas in your bedroom. Take care to protect your fabric during the application process. To do so, you can place a towel over your mattress before sprinkling the powder.
You can also put diatomaceous earth in a small dish and set it near affected areas. Try placing it near closets, entryways, or window sills. The powder will kill any carpet beetles that come into contact with it.
Fogging is the process of using a fog machine to apply an insecticide. The insecticide will kill any carpet beetles in the area. You can purchase a fog machine at most hardware stores or online.
To use a fog machine, set it up in the room you want to treat. Turn it on and let it run for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. Leave the room while the machine is running.
After the machine completes its job, ventilate the room by opening windows or doors. As well, vacuum any areas treated with fog.
Vacuuming and Steam Cleaning
Vacuuming helps to remove any eggs, larvae, or adults from your mattress. Steam cleaning will kill any carpet beetles in your mattress. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a steam cleaner.
Here are steps to take when performing these two actions.
Remove the Bedsheet and Pillow Covers
Start the process by removing all bedding from your mattress. Take off sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and any other fabric items.
Vacuum Your Mattress and Bed Frame
Next, vacuum your mattress and bed frame. Be sure to get into all the crevices and cracks. If you have a detachable headboard, vacuum that as well.
After you vacuum and steam clean, wash all of your bedding in hot water. It will help to kill any remaining beetles or eggs. You should also launder any clothing stored in your bedroom.
Wipe the Bed Frame and Headboard With a Disinfectant
It’s now time to disinfect all areas. Wipe down your bed frame and headboard with a Lysol or Clorox wipe. These products will work to kill beetles that escaped during the previous step.
Put the Mattress Back on the Bed
Put your mattress back on the bed after you’ve vacuumed, steamed, and disinfected. Make sure to put on a clean set of sheets. You should also wash any blankets or quilts before using them again.
How To Prevent Infestations in the Future
Carpet beetles congregate in dirty environments. To prevent them from coming back, you should keep your bedroom clean. Vacuum regularly and wash your bedding frequently. You should also launder any clothing stored in your bedroom.
Try using cedar oil to repel carpet beetles. Cedar oil has a strong smell that can keep beetles away. Add a few drops of cedar oil to a diffuser and place it in your bedroom. You can also add cedar oil to a spray bottle and use it to mist your bedding.
Frequently Asked Questions About Carpet Beetles
You may still have a few questions while learning how to get rid of carpet beetles in your mattress. Here are the answers to four commonly asked questions about carpet beetles.
Can you get carpet beetle larvae on your scalp?
Carpet beetle larvae can infest your hair if you sleep on an infested mattress. The larvae will feed on any organic material, including human hair. If you think you have carpet beetle larvae in your hair, you should comb it out with a lice comb. You can also use a small vacuum cleaner to remove the larvae from your hair.
Do carpet beetle larvae in bed travel with you?
Yes, if your bed contains carpet beetle larvae, the carpet beetles can travel with you. They may hitchhike their way into your home on clothing or furniture.
Besides a mattress, where else do carpet beetles live?
Carpet beetles can live in any area of your home that includes fabric. You’ll find them living in couches, chairs, curtains, and clothing.
Larvae can also exist inside air ducts, under floors, under heavy furniture, and behind baseboards. While carpet beetle larvae move along slowly, they will eventually infest a home entirely if you don’t get to them quickly enough. The infestation period can take a few weeks and cause considerable damage.
Do carpet beetles in my bed have any natural predators?
There are a few predators of the carpet beetle. These include wasps, ants, and spiders. Some species of beetles also prey on carpet beetles. These predators don’t typically seek out carpet beetles in particular. Instead, they are generalists that eat various types of prey.
Due to their dense hair, carpet beetle larvae make it difficult for predators to feed. Larvae will also limit their exposure by hiding in cracks and crevices.
It isn’t adequate to use predators as a carpet beetle solution. These predators won’t eliminate enough of the beetles to make a difference inside your home.
Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Mattress
Carpet beetles can become a nuisance in your home. They can infest your mattress, bedding, and clothing. If you’re wondering how to get rid of carpet beetles in your mattress, you can try boric acid, vinegar, vacuuming, steam cleaning, and disinfecting.
Be sure to follow all label instructions when using any products to kill the beetles. As a preventative measure, you can also use cedar oil. You should also keep your bedroom clean with regular cleaning and vacuuming to prevent future carpet beetle infestations.