Carpet beetles are not just common fabric pests. They’re also pantry pests that damage stored foods in your kitchen.
The carpet beetle larvae will feed on things like stored grains, cereals, and pet food. And they’ll damage these foods making them unfit for consumption.
In this guide, you’ll find out why you’ve got carpet beetles in your kitchen, where do they come from, and the best ways to get rid of them.
You’ll also learn the proven hacks to prevent carpet beetle infestation in your home, which will save your stored foods in your kitchen.
Why Carpet Beetles Are In Your Kitchen?
Adult carpet beetles enter your kitchen by flying in through the open doors, vents, and windows. They also crawl inside the kitchen through the gaps and cracks on the windowsills and walls.
These adult beetles will lay their eggs on poorly stored foods.
If the food storage jars or containers are loosely shut or there are cracks on them, the adult beetles will sneak inside them to deposit their eggs.
They will also lay their eggs in the wall voids of your kitchen walls, crevices on the kitchen floor, countertops, and inside the cracks on the kitchen furniture like kitchen cupboards.
The carpet beetle larvae, which are the food damaging pests feed on the stored food.
The food crumbs, food spillovers, and food stains in your kitchen are also their food source.
The adult beetles lay eggs in your kitchen so that their larvae can have direct access to the food sources.
Carpet beetle eggs are creamy white, ¼-1/2 mm in size, oval-shaped, with hair like projections on the surface.
You can easily miss noticing carpet beetle eggs because they’re tiny. And because the adult beetles deposit them either in the crevices or inside the food storage jars.
You can also dismiss them as tiny specks of white dust particles in your kitchen.
The eggs hatch in 10-15 days and produce carpet beetle larvae which are the damaging pantry pests.
What Do Carpet Beetle Larvae Look Like?
The carpet beetle larva is a tiny worm of 1/8 – 1/4 inches in size. It’s dark brown with tan or yellowish stripes and hairy bristles on them.
The larvae feed on the stored food and kitchen wastes in your kitchen and pantry.
They leave behind their fecal deposits and shed skin on the stored foods. That makes the food go stale, it emits a stink, and also makes the food unfit to consume.
Carpet Beetle Infestation In Your Home
Another reason for carpet beetles in the kitchen is that there’s a carpet beetle infestation in your house.
The larvae crawled into your kitchen from other areas of your house looking for food.
Adult carpet beetles enter homes during the spring to lay their eggs on natural fibers.
Like the clothes moths, they can even sneak inside clothing storage areas like closets, wardrobe, and dresser drawers to deposit their eggs.
There are two primary types of carpet beetles that sneak inside homes – the furniture carpet beetle and the varied carpet beetle.
The furniture carpet beetle deposit their eggs in the furniture cracks.
The varied carpet beetles (they turn dark brown or black as they age) will lay their eggs on furnishings like carpets, rugs, and clothing made from natural fibers like wool, silk, leather, feathers, and furs.
The female carpet beetles will also lay their eggs in the wall voids and in the crevices in places like attic, storage room, basement, and garage.
Many overwintering insects, like the boxelder bugs and stink bugs, enter those areas of your house to spend the winters in the crevices.
Many of these insects die. And their carcasses are food sources for the carpet beetle larvae.
So, the adult beetles would deposit their eggs in these wall voids to make life easier for their larvae.
When the larvae finish eating those dead insects, they’ll emerge out of the cracks.
And they start to crawl on the floor, wall, and ceiling looking for dead insects, pet hair, and spider webs to eat.
Their search for food push the carpet beetle larva in places like your kitchen, carpets, closets, and even onto your bed.
Do Adult Carpet Beetles Cause Any Damages Inside The House?
Adult carpet beetles are harmless insects. They don’t bite and they cause any damage inside the house.
Their only purpose to enter homes is to lay eggs on the food sources of the larvae.
Outdoors, the adult carpet beetles will lay their eggs on dead insects and on the carcasses of rodents, birds, and even in bird nests.
The adult carpet beetles feed on flower pollen and nectar.
It’s the carpet beetle larva which is the damaging pantry pest and fabric pest. Not the adults.
The worst part is that when the larvae mature into adults inside the house, they’re ready to breed and lay eggs.
And they’ll do it too by laying the eggs inside the house, making the infestation worse.
So, it’s always a better idea to not just eliminate carpet beetles in your kitchen but also prevent them from entering your home.
Signs Of Carpet Beetles In The Kitchen
There are two primary signs of carpet beetles in the kitchen – the physical sightings of the carpet beetle larvae and damaged stored foods.
Carpet beetle flying around inside the house, or their larvae crawling in other areas of your home are also signs of carpet beetle infestation that will surely spread to your kitchen.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles In The Kitchen?
Eliminating the carpet beetle larva’s food sources, disposing of damage food, intensive cleaning, and preventing the adult beetles from entering the home and kitchen are keys to get rid of carpet beetles in the kitchen.
Here’s how to do it.
Vacuum Clean The Kitchen
The food stains, crumbs, and spillovers in your kitchen and pantry attract carpet beetles.
So, the first step is to take the vacuum cleaner and thoroughly clean your kitchen and kitchen storage.
Take a good quality kitchen cleaner or soapy water and remove the food stains on the countertops, kitchen cupboards, cabinets, appliances, and sinks.
Dispose of the kitchen and food wastes. And don’t leave sullied utensils like plates, pots, and pans sit in the kitchen sink overnight.
They start to stink and attract carpet beetles and many kitchen bugs like ants, flies, and roaches.
Throw Away Infested Items
Check your stored food, especially cereals, pet foods, and grains, for any carpet beetle larva.
If you find any, then put the them in plastic bags along with the larvae and dispose them.
Keeping damaged food in the kitchen attract many pantry pests like flour beetles.
These carpet beetle larvae will mature into adults and worsen the infestation by laying more eggs.
Scatter Desiccants Like Diatomaceous Earth Or Boric Acid Powder In The Kitchen
Both diatomaceous earth and boric acid are desiccants that work by penetrating the bodies of insects and slowly killing them by absorbing their internal moisture and fats.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your kitchen, especially in the wall voids, floor cracks, and inside the crevices on kitchen storage areas.
Wait for 30 minutes to let the desiccants do their work.
Then take your vacuum cleaner and remove these desiccants and dead larvae.
You can also use a steam cleaner to clean up the mess because steam cleaner is a better option than a vacuum cleaner.
Steam cleaners produce heat which kills the larvae and removes dirt by sucking them up.
Heat is a potent bug killer. That’s why we highly recommend using steam cleaners for eliminating all sorts of pest from your beds, carpets, rugs, and couches.
Caution: Ensure that these desiccants don’t reach your stored foods in the kitchen. Check that all the food containers are tightly shut before using them. And don’t use any chemical pesticides in your kitchen.
Seal The Cracks On The Windows And Walls
The cracks on the windowsills and foundation walls are entry points for carpet beetles. Caulk them by using a quality sealant.
Also, fill any wall voids and small holes and crevices on the floor. It’s because the adult beetles will lay their eggs in them, making them the source of carpet beetle infestation in your house.
Install Window Screens With Fine Mesh
Window screens with fine mesh prevents bugs and flies from entering the home. So, install them on the kitchen windows and on any vents and openings.
Meshed window screens significantly reduce flying bugs from invading your home. Installing them in the spring and summer months can save you from nuisance pests and flies.
Spray Carpet Beetle Repellents
Most bugs, including carpet beetles, hate the scent of peppermint oil and vinegar.
And you can make a spray out of these compounds to keep carpet beetles and kitchen bugs away.
Spray peppermint oil on the kitchen windows and inside your kitchen storage sections.
Carpet beetles will avoid anything that smells minty.
You can also prepare a mixture of vinegar by adding equal amounts of apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar, and water.
Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the mixture in your kitchen.
Store Your Foods In Airtight Jars
Loosely shut food storage containers and jars allow the adult carpet beetles to sneak inside them to deposit their eggs.
That kicks off a carpet beetle infestation in your kitchen.
So, use robust airtight jars that bugs can’t chew through. And shut them tightly.
Regularly clean your pantry shelves and kitchen storages of any food spillovers.
Check For, And Eliminate, Carpet Beetles In Your House
If there are carpet beetles in your kitchen, then chances are quite high that they’re in other areas of your home.
So, do a thorough inspection of your home to find out if there are any carpet beetles.
Don’t skip inspecting the places like attic, storage rooms, basement, and garage. Carpet beetles will also deposit their eggs in these areas which cause the infestation to spread in the house.
If you find too many carpet beetles in the house, then it’ll be best to hire a professional pest control company for help.
Carpet beetles are also pantry pests that feed on the kitchen wastes and stored foods. So, they’ll invade your kitchen too.
But carpet beetles in the kitchen can also be a spillover of a home-wide carpet beetle infestation that has reached your kitchen.
Cleaning your kitchen, disposing of the damaged food, and ensuring that the adult beetles don’t enter your kitchen are keys to remove the carpet beetle larvae.
Thomas Orbert is a PhD in entomology with specialization in tiny and microscopic pests. Thomas is a regular contributor to our site and shares failproof methods to get rid of small pests.