7 Ways To Get Rid Of Dermestid Beetles

AdobeStock 419816085

Pests are the bane of many households. Whether you live in urban cities or suburban towns, you may encounter one type of pest or two. And one of the things you should know as a homeowner is how to remove them and avoid their reentry.

A household pest that’s familiar in many homes is the dermestid beetle. You might know this insect by its common name, the carpet beetle, and you may have also seen this in your house, unaware of how to get rid of it. Unlike their other relatively harmless beetle cousins, dermestid beetles are destructive creatures. They’ll destroy everything from upholstery to curtains and carpets, hence their colloquial name.

You’ll know if the pest in your carpet is a dermestid beetle if it has a splotchy black, yellow, or brown pattern. On the other hand, dermestid beetle larvae look fuzzy and have reddish or brownish coloring. Another way of knowing your home is infested with them is if you find the larvae’s skin shedding on rugs or the floor.

If you’ve seen these bugs creeping around your home and have no idea how to eliminate them for good, keep reading to learn a few foolproof methods.

1. Vacuum Carpets And Pantries

Dermestid beetles are notorious for damaging fabrics, but they’re also known for their ability to clean out bones since they eat skin. Hence, taxidermists use these beetles to remove excess flesh from animal skulls, which you can also learn more about at https://www.boneyardbeetleworks.com/.

Their propensity for eating flesh is the reason why it’s dangerous to have them in your home. When you spot an infestation, get your strongest vacuum cleaner and suck those bugs away. Don’t forget to check your pantry and storage, too. Food and other items there may attract dermestid beetles. If they managed to infiltrate food containers, especially dried food, toss them out immediately.

Change your vacuum nozzle when needed. You must target every crevice and edge to ensure you’ve gotten every beetle hiding there. If possible, vacuum your rugs, carpets, and upholstery daily so no bugs, eggs, or larvae will be left behind.

2. Steam Clean Your Home

Even after you’ve vacuumed every dermestid beetle, it’s best to take extra safety precautions to ensure new ones don’t come back. Carpet beetles don’t enjoy the heat. So, you can get rid of the stragglers using a steam cleaner. Steam cleaning is also an excellent way to remove their eggs and larvae.

Dermestid beetles love hiding in areas without sunlight and enough natural fiber materials. Therefore, other than only directing your attention to your carpets and upholstery, steam clean the following spots and items in your home:

  • Shaded areas
  • Mattresses
  • Curtains
  • Cupboards
  • Furniture with fillings
  • Wardrobe closets
  • House plants and pots

You may borrow or rent a steam cleaner if you don’t already have one. But if you expect carpet beetles to infest your home on a seasonal basis, you could purchase a steam cleaner to set aside for when you have the beetles invading your home again.

3. Utilize Chemical Treatments

As harsh as it sounds, sometimes, using chemical pesticides is the way to go. But before you settle with more robust solutions, look in your kitchen first. You may have a bottle of vinegar among your everyday condiments. A liquid solution of equal parts water and white or apple cider vinegar could rid your home of dermestid beetles. Pour the mixture into an atomizer bottle and spray down shelves, drawers, surfaces, and clothes hangers.

Another chemical treatment you can use is boric acid. It’s a mild insecticide with low toxicity but still deadly to humans, animals, and insects when ingested. Hence, you must always wear gloves and other protective gear when handling this substance. Lightly sprinkle a thin layer of boric acid on your carpets and furniture, spreading it using a broom. Wait for a couple of hours before vacuuming the treated areas.

Aside from vinegar and boric acid, other helpful chemical solutions you can find in most general stores are:

  • Anything with bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, or deltamethrin
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Insect foggers
  • Bug spray

If harsh chemicals worry you, you may also use naturally-derived insecticides. Peppermint and clove essential oils are excellent carpet beetle deterrents. You can spray it on surfaces with caution to avoid staining. Another natural insecticide is diatomaceous earth or DE, a fine white-colored dust that can kill adult and larvae dermestid beetles. Make sure to ask for a food-grade version of DE that’s safe for humans.

When you use strong chemical treatments to remove the beetles and clean the surfaces of your home, take note not to apply these on your bedding, linen, and clothes. The ingredients may damage the fabrics and may leave stubborn stains. You should also use the treatments sparingly or according to the brand’s instructions. And remember to keep pets and children away from areas coated with pesticides.

AdobeStock 419815922

4. Remove The Sources

Effectively removing dermestid beetles from your home is to take away their source. Most carpet beetles often find their way into households through flowers and pollen flowing through your windows. Another way the beetles come inside is through infected second-hand furniture you may have bought.

If you suspect your garden harbors dermestid beetles, you can use natural means to protect your plants and home. Homemade pesticides could suppress the growth and reproduction of pests without harming you, your pets, or plants. When bringing fresh flowers inside, don’t forget to shake them first outside. Dermestid beetles easily fall off flowers with a bit of shaking, so you should be able to avoid bringing a few of them into your home.

However, if your furniture is the source of the beetle infestation, you might have to remove rugs or chairs made of natural fibers. Some pieces of furniture, like sofas and mattresses, keep animal and human hair that make perfect hiding spots for dermestid beetles. It may be challenging to let go of furniture, but removing the infested ones is the best option to protect you and your home from pests.

5. Seal The Gaps

Once you’ve gotten rid of most, if not all, carpet beetles in your home, the next best step is to seal their entries. Doors and windows are your first culprits as these parts often have light gaps. You can use a caulking gun for your windows and install new weather strips around your doors. Ensure you clean out the cracks and openings before applying the new sealants.

After that, check on your other household items with natural fibers such as your clothes. Put them in vacuum-sealed bags if you want to store them long-term. Check your pantry, too, for anything else that may attract a new wave of dermestid beetles. If you have dried food, put it in sealed containers to prevent the beetles from coming to them.

6. Sanitize Your Home Thoroughly

Regular cleaning is one surefire method to ensure more dermestid beetles won’t infest your home. Sweep up any hair and fibers on the floor since this part is where most of them reside. Avoid leaving behind even the tiniest speck of grain or flour in your kitchen as beetles may head straight to this, too. Beetles are also attracted to soiled fabrics. So, toss these in the laundry immediately when you have heavily-soiled clothes.

Another thing you must do is to sanitize all items previously infected by the beetles. The insects may leave behind residue like pollen from flowers that could lure a new batch of carpet beetles to that exact spot. Use a powerful cleaning solution that’s both harmless for humans and pets and dangerous for insects for maximum efficacy.

Cleaning your house and every piece of furniture thoroughly and regularly helps reduce the number of carpet beetles inside. It also guarantees your home is clear of residue from chemical treatments and insect parts from dead beetles and other bugs. The result would be a much cleaner and safer home for you and your family.

7. Call The Local Pest Control

Household pests don’t disappear forever. Wherever there are people, there will be trash, dirt, and dead skin cells and hair follicles nearby. These elements attract a dermestid beetle, and more may come inside your home if you don’t clean your place regularly. But sometimes, these pests can be pretty persistent no matter what you do.

If you’ve taken all the steps and methods to eliminate dermestid beetles from your home, your last resort is to call pest management. These professionals have the know-how to exterminate dermestid beetle infestations effectively. Sometimes, they do it for good.

When looking for a pest control company, research their methods and services. They must be a reputable team trusted by clients in your neighborhood. High praise and good reviews usually reflect their effectiveness in eliminating different pests. Thus, do your best to find professional exterminators whose services fit your budget, so you get your money’s worth.

Are Dermestid beetles harmful to humans?

The answer to the question of whether dermestid beetles are harmful to humans depends largely on context. While these small beetles have been known to damage clothing and furniture, they typically do not attack people directly.

The larvae of these insects may feed on dried animal skin or hair, but they can be used to clean bones for museum displays and taxidermy purposes. Therefore, as long as proper care is taken when handling dermestid beetles and their environment is carefully regulated, it is unlikely that humans will suffer any harm from them.


Pests like dermestid beetles aren’t and shouldn’t bother your daily life. These tips should help you eliminate them from your home effectively without harming yourself and everyone living under the same roof. Some methods may take time and effort before they show any good results. But you’ll eventually find the perfect way to clear your home of these pesky beetles and maintain that pest-free cleanliness for a long time.