Does alcohol kill carpet beetles?
Alcohol counts as one of the natural agents that can be used to kill carpet beetles. The use of pesticides and insecticides in the eradication of carpet beetles can sometimes be dangerous. That’s why it is recommended that one goes for natural and safe methods.
However, before you proceed to use alcohol or any of the treatments that will be mentioned in this outline to kill carpet beetles, you have to confirm that you really have a carpet beetle infestation. Below are some tell-tale signs.
Signs of carpet beetle infestation
Holes in your carpets and rugs
The most destructive stage of carpet beetles is the larva stage. The adults feed mostly on the pollen of plants. The larva feed on wool, cotton, fur, etc.
So, if your carpet or rug is made of any of these natural materials, you have to check them out first. Thinner floor coverings, loosened or frayed edge, irregular holes and patches are all tell-tale signs of carpet beetles.
Damage to random materials
Carpet beetles do not feed on fur or silk alone. They feed on rice, flour, and other stored food products. They also infest books, leather products, dead insects, carcasses, hair strands, etc.
The moment you start noticing holes or other signs of infestation on the materials listed above, ensure that you either get rid of them or have them cleaned.
Presence of carpet beetles in certain sites
These beetles have sites that they usually hide in, and they are mostly dark areas that you don’t bother to move or check often.
They include the underside of your floor coverings, boxes, cupboards, closets, furniture crevices, air vents, attic, basement, etc.
Carpet beetle droppings
The color of their fecal droppings is something of the brown to dark hue. The size is almost like that of sugar—tiny and rough. If you don’t see their fecal excreta, then, you would see their molted skin.
Natural ways to get rid of carpet beetles
Let’s now discuss a number of the natural ways by which you can eradicate the carpet beetles.
When you are talking about a carpet beetle infestation, ordinary vacuuming would not do the trick. You have to go extra, vacuuming about two or three times a day.
You also have to target the areas that are infested with these carpet beetles. That way, you can get rid of the larvae and the eggs laid by the adult carpet beetles.
Asides the larvae and the eggs, the vacuum cleaner would help get rid of hair strands, food crumbs and other media that host these carpet beetles.
Most importantly, when you are done with the vacuuming, ensure that you dispose the vacuum bag securely. That way, the larvae and the eggs do not find their way back into your home.
This technique is more effective than the one described above. The reason is because some rugs can be so thick that the vacuum can’t get all the beetles out.
Also, steam cleaners deliver heat that is about 120-degrees. No carpet beetle can survive such high temperature. Vacuum cleaners only get rid of the ones at the topical surfaces.
Steam cleaning gets rid of all the larvae. However, you have to be sure that the surface you are steam-cleaning is receptive to the heat.
Another way by which you can steam clean is to use hot water and detergents in washing your fabric, curtains and clothes. The heat always helps to get rid of the larvae.
This option is safer than most pesticides and insecticides. Vinegar has a sharp and pungent smell that keeps adult carpet beetles away.
And if the adult beetles are kept away, they won’t be able to lay eggs within your home. Asides from that, vinegar helps to get rid of the larvae of carpet beetles the moment it is used.
Either white cider vinegar or apple cider can work for the eradication process. However, before you proceed to work with vinegar, take note of the following;
- Vinegar is an acidic medium, so it can cause the discoloration of whatever surface it is applied to. Always test the vinegar on a portion of the surface first before proceeding to use it on the rest.
If you notice any discoloration, discontinue with the use.
- The vinegar you work with shouldn’t be too concentrated. Mix it with water in the ratio 70 to 30, with the lesser been for water. After that, you can proceed to spray.
This can also help reduce the destructive effect of vinegar on the surfaces on which you spray it.
- After spraying the vinegar, don’t clean it off until the infestation is completely dealt with. That way, the scent can keep the adult beetles away.
Vinegar doesn’t have any harmful effect on pets or humans. It’s completely safe.
- Vinegar solutions can also be used to get rid of carpet beetles from infested clothes and materials.
This forms by disintegrating the outer waxy layer of the carpet beetle larvae. The loss of the beetles’ waxy layers lead to the death of the beetles.
Diatomaceous Earth is a great choice if you do not wish to work with harsh chemicals. It looks like sand and can be sprinkled across wide surfaces.
The reason this option is preferred to vinegar is that it has no pungent smell. It also helps to kill other insects—cockroaches, fleas, etc.
The only down side to this option is that the death of the carpet beetles only happen when the powder touches their bodies.
These traps are traps made particularly for carpet beetles. They help to trap the adult beetles and then, prevent them from flying into your home.
If they can’t get in, they can’t lay their eggs, and that means you don’t have to suffer consequent cases of infestation. They are usually set at the sills of windows, entrance of doors and other passageways.
Cedar wood oil
This oil kills both the larvae and the eggs. The oil needs to be mixed with water before it can be effective though. Cedar oil takes the lower fraction—about 2%, while water takes the larger proportion.
The limitation to this oil is that it can pose harm to pets if you have them. You also should ensure that the mixture doesn’t get into your eyes as you spray them across the affected areas.