Carpet beetles are among the most difficult indoor pests to control because of their ability to find food in obscure places and to disperse widely throughout a building. Successful control depends on a combination of sanitation and exclusion. If exclusion and sanitation are successful, insecticide treatments aren’t required.
Damage occurs during the larval stage of carpet beetles. Larvae feed in dark, undisturbed locations on a variety of dead animals and animal products such as wool, silk, leather, fur, hair brushes with natural bristles, pet hair, and feathers; occasionally they feed on stored products such as certain spices and grains. They don’t feed on synthetic fibers.
Eliminate accumulations of lint, hair, dead insects, and other debris that serve as food for carpet beetles. Throw out badly infested items. Remove old spider webs and bird, rodent, bee, and wasp nests, which can harbor infestations. Examine cut flowers for adult beetles before bringing the flowers inside. And be sure that window screens, doors, and vents are secure to keep carpet beetles from flying in from outdoor sources.
Regular and thorough cleaning of rugs, draperies, upholstered furniture, closets, and other locations where carpet beetles congregate is an important preventive and control technique. Frequent, thorough vacuuming is an effective way of removing food sources as well as carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and adults. After vacuuming infested areas, dispose of the bag promptly, because it can contain eggs, larvae, or adult insects.
Protect fabrics by keeping them clean; food and perspiration stains on fabrics attract carpet beetles. Thoroughly laundering washable items in hot water or dry-cleaning them will kill all stages of these insects. This is the most important method for controlling fabric pests in clothing, blankets, and other washable articles.