Close up photograph of a carpet beetle

Pest Control – Carpet Beetles

Background Information

Carpet beetles can cause extensive damage of carpets and clothes; they are a common pest throughout the UK. Effective beetle control is a joint process and requires your co-operation to work. It relies on a combination of good housekeeping practices by you, and strategic use of chemicals by us. There are a few things that you must do before and after the visit to help make the treatment work effectively. Insecticide spraying will not work alone.

Carpet Beetle Facts

  • The larvae (4mm) cause the actual damage as they feed on natural fibres or soiled material. They hide away in dark, undisturbed areas such as under furniture
  • Larvae can survive up to 2 years without food
  • Newly emerged adults (1.5-4mm) feed on pollen & nectar; they can often be found on window sills after trying to escape outside
  • Adult females return to buildings in autumn for egg laying
  • Carpet beetles enter your home via open windows, gaps under doors, through cracks and within second hand clothes and furniture. They can also come from old birds’ nests
  • The eggs are very resilient; therefore at least 2 visits are needed to treat larvae that hatch between visits
photograph of the carpet beetle 'woolly bear' larve
Carpet beetle 'woolly bear' larvae
photograph showing carpet damage caused by carpet beetle larvae
Carpet damage caused by carpet beetle larvae

What you need to do before we visit

  • Check all carpets, clothes, curtains, bed linen, upholstery, and any other fabrics of natural fibre origin for signs of infestation (such as irregular patches or holes eaten away). They are particularly attracted to natural fibres and soiled items.
  • Any infested material should be thrown away. All other clothes should be either dry-cleaned or washed as hot as possible (preferably about 60°C).
  • Once cleaned please store carefully, sealed in suitable containers (such as vacuum bags or dry cleaner bags) to protect them from re-infestation. Ideally these should not be opened until the treatment is completed to ensure protection. An alternative option is to freeze items for 14 days to kill off any larvae.
  • All carpets should be thoroughly steam-cleaned and then vacuumed, particularly around the edges, corners and underneath all furniture and any other areas that collect dust. Make sure you empty the vacuum to help prevent the spread of eggs and larvae. If steam-cleaning is not possible then at least a very thorough vacuuming should be carried out.
  • Bed linen should be bagged up and you should re-make beds with fresh linen after our visit.
  • The chemicals we will use may stain delicate fabrics, so please bag up any delicate/ valuable items you are concerned about.
  • Large items of furniture should be positioned so the carpet underneath can be treated. Our technician will not move any heavy items during the visit.
  • Fish tanks and other pets must be removed from the room/property during treatment and remain out for three hours afterwards as the chemicals may be harmful to them.
  • Arrange to be out of the treated area for up to three hours after treatment. This is to allow the spray to dry as it can make you cough if inhaled when wet. Once dry it is perfectly safe.

During our Visit

Please arrange for yourself to go out for two to three hours after the treatment – you should not re-enter the property once the technician starts his work.

What will happen during the visit?

Visits are usually booked a few days in advance, to allow you to carry out as much pre-preparation work as possible. Treatments consist of at least 2 visits spaced roughly 2-3 weeks apart.

  • The technician will undertake an inspection of your property to look for evidence.
  • The technician will spray the carpets and any cracks and crevices that the beetles/larvae may be hiding in, such as under skirting boards and the insides of empty cupboards. The spray chemical contains an insecticide and an insect growth regulator and will focus on killing the adults and larvae.
  • The technician will treat all bedrooms and also the living room if they deem it necessary.
  • If there are any areas that you do not want sprayed or fogged because they contain items that are valuable or delicate, please let the technician know before they start.
  • The technician will not spray bedding; it should be bagged up and kept out of the way during the visit to protect it from the chemicals.
  • The technician will place sticky pads for monitoring.


These are sticky traps used to map the extent of the infestation within the block and where the beetles are coming from. They are not used to directly control the beetles.
Please do not throw these away!

Residual Insecticides

Infested areas are sprayed with an insecticide solution that dries onto the surface. The insecticides we use are not hazardous to people or pets once they have dried. These insecticides remain active for two weeks following the spray. Please refrain from mopping or vacuuming treated surfaces during this time, as it will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

What to do after our visit

  • You must remain out of the treated areas for at least 2 hours afterwards.
  • Do not vacuum the carpets for two weeks after treatment, as this will remove the active residue.
  • After two weeks the carpets should be vacuumed thoroughly as before. Vacuuming should then be carried out frequently to remove any beetle eggs, larvae and the dust that they may eat.
  • Remember that beetle larvae are much more likely to feed on fabrics that are soiled or dirty.
  • Always empty the vacuum cleaner as soon as you have finished.
  • Regularly inspect wool, cotton, silk and other natural fibres for signs of infestation.
  • Always dry-clean clothes if they are going to be stored for long periods of time, and keep them in the plastic wrappers.
PLEASE NOTE our treatments are designed for moderate infestations in a single dwelling. If you have a very severe infestation or are part of a complex (particularly flats) then more chargeable visits may be required. A tailored plan may be more suited to your needs, please contact us using the details below.

Download our Carpet Beetle Information Sheet

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If you have problems with carpet beetles…