How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Your Mattress: (Step-by-Step Solution)
Carpet beetles are small insects belonging to the family Dermestidae. They are common household pests known for feeding on various natural fibers, including carpets, upholstery, clothing, and stored food products. Carpet beetles come in various species, with the most common being the varied carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle, and the black carpet beetle.
Are carpet beetles dangerous?
Carpet beetles themselves are not considered dangerous to humans, as they do not bite or spread diseases. However, they can cause several issues in your home:
- Property damage: Carpet beetle larvae feed on natural fibers found in carpets, upholstery, clothing, and other household items made of wool, silk, fur, or feathers. Their feeding habits can cause damage to these materials, resulting in irregular holes and reduced lifespan of the items.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the bristly hairs on carpet beetle larvae. Contact with the larvae or their shed skins can cause dermatitis, characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin. These reactions can be mistaken for insect bites, although carpet beetles do not bite humans.
- Respiratory irritation: Carpet beetle larvae shed their skins as they grow, and these shed skins, along with their fecal pellets, can contribute to indoor allergens. People with allergies or asthma may experience respiratory irritation when exposed to these allergens.
While carpet beetles are not dangerous in the same way as some other pests, such as bed bugs or disease-carrying insects, they can still cause damage and discomfort in your home. Taking steps to prevent and control carpet beetle infestations can help protect your belongings and maintain a healthier living environment.
Identifying carpet beetles
Adult carpet beetles:
- Size: Typically 2-4 mm in length
- Shape: Oval or round
- Color: Depending on the species, their color can vary from black, brown, or black with white, yellow, or orange patterns.
- Wings: Adult carpet beetles can fly and are often attracted to light.
Carpet beetle larvae:
- Size: 4-5 mm in length
- Shape: Cylindrical and elongated
- Color: Brown or reddish-brown with bristle-like hairs
- Behavior: Larvae are responsible for causing damage to natural fibers and can often be found in dark, undisturbed areas.
Differences between carpet beetles and bed bugs
- Carpet beetles have a round or oval shape and can be found in various colors and patterns depending on the species.
- Bed bugs are flat, oval, and reddish-brown, with a more consistent appearance across the species.
- Carpet beetles and their larvae feed on natural fibers, such as wool, silk, leather, fur, and feathers, as well as stored food products.
- Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects that primarily feed on human blood, typically when people are sleeping.
Bites and health risks:
- Carpet beetles don’t bite humans, but their larvae’s bristle-like hairs can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.
- Bed bugs bite humans and can cause itchy, red welts on the skin. While bed bug bites are not known to transmit diseases, they can cause discomfort and anxiety.
Signs of infestation:
- Carpet beetle infestations are characterized by the presence of adult beetles, larvae, shed skins, and fecal pellets, as well as damage to natural fibers.
- Bed bug infestations often feature live bugs, eggs, shed skins, and fecal spots on bedding, mattresses, and nearby furniture.
Knowing these differences can help you identify whether you’re dealing with a carpet beetle or bed bug infestation, allowing you to take appropriate measures to eliminate the pests and prevent future infestations.
8 Step Guide: Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles for Good
Step #1: Identify the problem
Inspect your mattress and look for signs of carpet beetle infestation. These include adult beetles, larvae, shed skins, and fecal pellets. Carpet beetles can cause damage to the fabric, leaving irregular-shaped holes.
Step #2: Vacuum thoroughly
Remove all bedding and vacuum the mattress (see our favorite mattress vacuums here), paying special attention to seams, folds, and any areas where carpet beetles may be hiding. Be sure to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to prevent the spread of allergens. Empty the vacuum cleaner bag or canister outside to avoid re-infestation.
Step #3: Steam clean the mattress
Steam cleaning is a highly effective way to kill carpet beetles and their larvae. Rent or purchase a steam cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Apply steam to all areas of the mattress, including seams and folds. Allow the mattress to dry completely before reassembling the bed.
Step #4: Launder bedding
Wash all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, in hot water (at least 120°F/49°C) to kill carpet beetles and their larvae. Dry the items on high heat as well.
Step #5: Apply insecticides
For persistent infestations, use an insecticide specifically designed for carpet beetles. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, and be sure to treat all areas where carpet beetles may be hiding. Allow the mattress to dry completely before using it again.
Step #6: Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that can help to kill carpet beetles. Sprinkle it around the mattress and in any cracks or crevices where beetles may be hiding. Allow the diatomaceous earth to sit for a few days before vacuuming it up.
Step #7: Prevention is key
Once you’ve eliminated the carpet beetles from your mattress, take steps to prevent future infestations. Regularly vacuum your mattress, including seams and folds. Store unused clothing and bedding in airtight containers or sealed plastic bags. Keep your home clean and free of dust and debris, which can attract carpet beetles.
Step #8: Monitor for re-infestation
Inspect your mattress and other areas of your home regularly for signs of carpet beetles. If you notice any signs of infestation, take immediate action to prevent further damage.
By following these steps, you can effectively eliminate carpet beetles from your mattress and reduce the likelihood of future infestations.