Carpet Beetles in Car: Why and What to Do?!

Carpet beetles in your car can be pretty unsettling but don’t worry; it’s solvable. You just need to learn how to address it before your seats get damaged!

So, if you’ve discovered these unwelcome guests in your car, it’s time to take action! And we are here to teach you how!

You may be wondering what brought these creatures into your vehicle in the first place. Adult beetles can lay eggs inside a car because the larvae have abundant food sources. Adult carpet beetles are drawn to natural fibers, so the larvae will have food when their eggs hatch.

The larvae like to munch on wool, silk, hair, natural fibers, and pet fur. They’ll poop and shed their skins throughout the car as they feed, damaging upholstery and other fabric items.

It’s essential to tackle this problem quickly and effectively to regain control of your vehicle and prevent further damage. The following steps will guide you through identifying, treating, and preventing future infestations of carpet beetles in your car.

Identifying Carpet Beetles in Your Car

Carpet Beetles in cars

Identifying carpet beetles in your car before taking action is essential. This section will help you recognize them through their visual characteristics and the damage signs they leave behind.

To note: Sometimes what you think is a carpet beetle may in fact be a cockroach. We have an entire article dedicated to learning: how to get rid of roaches in your car.

Visual Characteristics

Carpet beetles are small insects, usually 2-4 mm long. They have round, oval-shaped bodies covered in tiny scales. Furthermore, carpet beetles are also one of the bugs that look like roaches to some people, so make sure you ID your pest correctly.

What color are they?

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • Patterned with different colors

Their larvae, often responsible for most of the damage, have elongated hairy bodies and can be:

  • Dark brown
  • Reddish-brown
  • Grayish-black

Larvae are covered in bristles and may have tufts of hair at their rear end. Look for these distinctive features when searching for carpet beetles in your car.

The first sign of them will be the shed skins or larvae. We have an entire article laying out the differences: if you are unsure if the bugs you see are carpet beetles vs bed bugs.

Damage Signs – Carpet Beetles in Car

Besides their appearance, carpet beetles are infamous for the damage they cause. Here are some indications that you might have these unwelcome visitors in your vehicle:

  • Chewed carpets or upholstery, creating visible holes or worn-out areas
  • Shed skins and fecal pellets (tiny black or brown specks) hidden in the nooks and crannies or directly on your car’s upholstery.
  • Shed skins in the seams and creases of the seats.

When you spot any of these signs, it indicates that carpet beetles have made themselves home in your car. Time to act and eliminate them from your vehicle!

Can Carpet Beetles Survive in a Car?

Yes, carpet beetles can survive in a car. They can enter your vehicle via windows, ventilation systems, and even on clothing or bags. Like any other pest, carpet beetles are resourceful and can find their way into many nooks and crannies. 

Once inside, their larvae will feed on any natural fibers, including seats and carpets. It’s essential to prevent a carpet beetle infestation in your car, to clean and vacuum it regularly, paying close attention to the floors and seats. 

If you spot a carpet beetle or suspect an infestation, it’s best to act quickly to eliminate the problem before it spreads. Here are some tips for getting rid of carpet beetles naturally.

Causes of Carpet Beetles Infestations in a Car

Carpet beetles are quite common, and it’s essential to understand what attracts them to your car. Understanding them will help you take the necessary precautions to prevent infestations. In this section, we’ll discuss their food sources and the conditions that support their growth.

Food Sources – Carpet Beetles in Car

Carpet beetle larvae are attracted to various food sources, many of which you’ll find in a car. Here are some everyday items they feed on:

  • Fabrics: Carpet beetles love natural fibers, such as wool or silk, often found in car seats and carpets.
  • Leather: They’ll also munch on leather surfaces, like your car’s seats or steering wheel cover.
  • Hair and pet fur: Your own hair or your pet’s fur left behind in your car are potential food sources for carpet beetle larvae.

Minimizing these food sources will reduce the chances of an infestation in your car.

Conditions Supporting Growth

Carpet beetles thrive in specific conditions, and your car may inadvertently provide the perfect environment. Here’s what these pesky insects look for:

Warmth Carpet beetles and their larvae prefer warm temperatures, so a heated parked car or a car left in the sun can be an ideal environment.

Darkness These beetles are more active in the dark, making dimly lit or rarely used cars more susceptible to infestations.

Moisture A damp car interior caused by leaks, spills, or high humidity, is a significant factor in encouraging carpet beetles to reproduce. By addressing these conditions and keeping your car clean and dry, you’ll create an environment that’s less welcoming to carpet beetles.

What Are These Small Black Bugs in Cars?

It could be the adult carpet beetle, a flea, a bed bug, or ants. However, fleas and bed bugs are reddish brown and not black. So it’s essential to study the color of the bug so you can figure out just what the small black bugs in your car are.

Removing Carpet Beetles from Your Car

It will take effort to keep your car free of carpet beetle larvae, especially if you live in an area where the adult beetles are prolific. Remember, the adult carpet beetles are outside bugs and feed on plant pollen and nectar. It’s only when they get inside to lay their eggs that the trouble starts.

Vacuuming for Carpet Beetles in Car

 Regularly vacuuming your car is the best way to remove carpet beetles and their larvae before they set up shop. Pay particularly close attention to carpets, upholstery, cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach spots that are often hiding places for these insects.

Steaming for Carpet Beetles in Car

We steam our car with the Dupray NEAT steamer regularly. The steam is a great way to kill off any pests (and germs) that may have wandered into your vehicle. We don’t recommend using DIY insecticides, but you can use a steamer after you vacuum.

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Paying Attention to Details

Keeping a close eye on your car seats by checking the seams and creases will help you spot the tell-tale signs of carpet beetles. If you notice any damage or shed skins, take action and vacuum or steam your car immediately to get rid of them.

Fumigation for Carpet Beetles in Car

A fumigation service will drive your car onto a truck, and they will fumigate it with vikane gas in the enclosed container. If your vehicle is severely infested, you may have no choice but to hire a car fumigation service.

Another way they fumigate the car is by sealing it inside a tent. Either way, this is only for extreme cases of carpet beetle infestation in your vehicle. If you need a fumigation service, message us on the contact form, and we can help you find a suitable option.

Final Thoughts on Carpet Beetles in Car

Carpet beetles may seem small and insignificant, but they can cause significant damage to your car. Taking the time to identify them and remove them from your vehicle is essential in protecting your investment. Regularly vacuum and steam your car’s interior, and pay attention to the signs of infestation so you can act quickly. Doing so will ensure that your vehicle remains free of these pests. It’s time to get to work and eliminate them from your car!


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