Our carpets are an integral part of our homes and are often chosen to add style and luxurious warmth to a room. While we love our carpets, so too do some uninvited guests – carpet bugs.
Carpet creepy crawlies
Carpet bugs, also known as carpet beetles, are an inch long nuisance – but it’s their offspring that causes the biggest problems. Carpet beetle larvae quite literally chows down on carpet and other natural fibres, causing havoc to your much loved – and expensive flooring. These bugs are either light brown or black and are covered in fine hairs. They can also fly – and you may have seen them hovering around light fittings and windows as they’re partial to light. In this article, we’ll take you through the ways that you can identify the signs that carpet beetles have moved in and – more importantly – how to get rid of the little blighters!
The first thing you need to figure out is whether or not carpet bugs are actually responsible for the damage in your home. As well as carpets, these beetles are known to attack other fabrics such as curtains, clothing and stored items such as bedding. If you spot any or all of the following, there’s a good chance that you have a few freeloading tenants:
- Bare patches on rugs and carpets
- Holes in clothing
- Tiny holes in books
Prevention is better than cure
So, you carpet beetles in your home. Unpleasant and annoying but, thankfully, there are a few things you can do to evict them, without causing further damage to your carpet but, before we get to these, it’s time to familiarise yourself with a few good habits to get into to prevent further infestations in the future:
- Vacuum regularly – and don’t forget curtains and other window areas which may be harbouring these tiny pests
- Steam clean – a carpet steam cleaner is a great investment as it helps to keep your carpet clean, kills bugs and, can also double up as a clothing dewrinkler
- Clean and clear – use rubbing alcohol or a bleach and water solution to clean window sills and other surfaces
- Insecticide – use a light insecticide around the home, including the edges of carpets and on entryways such as doors and windows. These are readily available from supermarkets, home stores and online
- Cracks – get into the habit of checking walls and windows for small cracks and gaps which may give carpet bugs access to your home
- Screens – If your home features window screens or blinds, check these regularly for holes and tears as these make excellent doorways for carpet bugs.
Getting rid of carpet bugs
If you’ve identified the tell-tale signs of carpet bugs in your home, the following are some really good ways of getting rid of them without ruining your carpet or rug:
Fogger – A flying insect fogger can be extremely effective in destroying eggs and larvae in carpets and rugs. These are available in home stores and online and you should be looking for a non-residue option to make sure that your carpets don’t get stained. Use the fogger across the entire carpet or rug, making sure that children and pets are kept out of the room, and then vacuum thoroughly to get rid of bug and egg debris.
Insecticide – There are lots of different insecticides available which are safe to use on your carpets and rugs. Look for a product which contains Boric Acid, Deltamethrin, Bifenthrin or Cyfluthrin for the best results. First, sprinkle the powder onto a small area of your carpet, leave for a couple of hours then remove with a vacuum to test for any damage. If no damage is present, repeat the process for the entire area affected.
Essential oils – For those who prefer not to use chemical-based products, try a mixture of peppermint oil, clove oil and distilled water for a gentler, more environmentally friendly option. Mix the solution together in a spray bottle and then spray evenly (and generously) across the rug or carpet. This solution shouldn’t stain your carpet or leave unpleasant odours but, if you do find that the smell of the oils lingers, use a carpet cleaner the following day.
Vinegar – Carpet bugs are not fond of the smell of vinegar at all and, so, a simple mixture of apple cider or white vinegar and water can be extremely effective in ridding your room of these insects. Spray the mixture across the area and leave for a few hours – afterwards, you’ll probably want to use a carpet cleaner or damp cloth as the smell can be quite overpowering.
DE – Diatomaceous Earth is a fine white dust which occurs naturally within the Earth’s surface – and which makes light work of getting rid of carpet bugs. Look for food-grade DE which is safe due to low levels of crystalline silica. As with other methods, keep well away from children and pets and, spread evenly across the rug or carpet and then vacuum thoroughly to remove every trace of the powder.
All of these methods are really effective at ridding your home of intruders but, it’s always a good idea to do a sample test first – and always always keep the kids and your furry friends well away from the area to prevent inhalation of fumes.
As with other pests, carpet bugs view your home as a haven of warmth and food – and can easily find their way in without an invitation. Once you’ve used one of our methods to remove the bugs and larvae from your carpet, be sure to then get onboard with our preventative measures to keep these bugs out of your home for good. Finally, if you’re using products to remove bugs from your home, and prevent their return, always carefully read the instructions before getting started.