Carpet Beetle

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock.com

Carpet beetles eat different animal and plant-based products, depending on what stage of their lifecycle they are in; these foods include pollen, flour, wool, and fur.


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Carpet Beetle Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Order
Coleoptera
Family
Dermestidae

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Carpet Beetle Conservation Status


Carpet Beetle Facts

Name Of Young
Larvae
Group Behavior
  • Infestation
Fun Fact
Carpet beetles eat different animal and plant-based products, depending on what stage of their lifecycle they are in; these foods include pollen, flour, wool, and fur.
Incubation Period
7 to 35 days
Habitat
Woodlands, forests, and urban areas
Predators
Ladybugs, stink bugs, and birds
Diet
Herbivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Common Name
Carpet beetle
Location
Worldwide
Average Clutch Size
100

Carpet Beetle Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • Black
  • White
Skin Type
Exoskeleton
Lifespan
Adults only live 2 to 4 weeks

View all of the Carpet Beetle images!



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The carpet beetle is a common pest found in homes around the world, and if left unchecked, it can cause some serious damage. Young beetles and larvae are the main culprits and feed on natural fibers like leather, silk, wool, and pet hair. However, adult carpet beetles don’t feed on fabric; they prefer plants, pollen, and flowers. But you need to look out for these pesky adults because if they are seen inside the house, it means they’ve laid eggs somewhere. These beetles are attracted to light, so always check for eggs around windows and bulbs.

Carpet Beetle Facts

  • Three of the most common carpet beetles are the black, varied, and furniture carpet beetles
  • While these bugs can’t bite you, they can still make you sick; they can cross-contaminate human foods, which is a major health concern.
  • Carpet beetle larvae can live for several weeks without feeding but will move around the house in search of food.

Carpet Beetle Species, Types, and Scientific Name

The most common carpet beetles are:

Appearance: How To Identify the Carpet Beetle

carpet beetle on mattress

Coloring is one of the easiest ways to identify a carpet beetle.

The appearance of these beetles will vary depending on the species. So, below is a description of the three most common types.

Black Carpet Beetles

These beetles are dark brown or black, with bullet-shaped bodies and brown antennae and legs. Their larvae are covered in golden-brown hair, and they are approximately half an inch in length.



Varied Carpet Beetle

The varied carpet beetle measures about 0.08 to 0.11 inches long. They have a splotchy appearance because of the brown, white, and yellow spots covering their elytra. In addition, their larvae are covered in bristly hair and grow between 0.15 to 0.19 inches long.

Furniture Carpet Beetle

The furniture carpet beetle measures about 0.08 to 0.14 inches long and is covered in black, yellow, and white scales on the back with yellow scales on its legs. While their color patterns vary, these beetles are easily identifiable when examining them under a hand lens. They will have a round body with oval scales, while other species have long and narrow scales.

Habitat: Where to Find the Carpet Beetle

Carpet beetles live in woodlands, forests, and urban areas. Adults are attracted to flowers, so it’s common to see them in gardens. Therefore, many of these beetles fly into houses when moving from one flower to another in search of nectar. Additionally, they can find their way into homes through gaps in the windows, under door frames, openings through utility lines, and cracks in the siding.

They prefer laying their eggs in dark, quiet places because larvae will stay hidden to avoid predators. Therefore, infestations usually originate from the attic or other dark rooms in the home.

Diet: What Do Carpet Beetles Eat?

Carpet beetles eat different animal and plant-based products, depending on what stage of their lifecycle they are in; these foods include pollen, flour, wool, and fur. Adults will feed on pollen and nectar, but if they accidentally fly into your home, they will find other resources to consume, like potpourri, pollen, flowers, and nectar.

Larvae that hatch inside a home will feed on various animal products, which can be extremely damaging. Therefore they are drawn to foods like:

  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Feathers
  • Spices
  • Felt
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Animals hyde
  • Leather
  • Noodles
  • Dead insects
  • Bird nests
  • Animal fur
  • Cornmeal
  • Pet fur
  • Dog food

Carpet Beetle Lifecycle

Every specie of carpet beetle goes through a complete metamorphosis from egg, larval, and pupal stages before fully maturing into adults. In general, these beetles can develop four generations each year. However, the black carpet beetle only develops one. The lifecycle of these beetles varies from 2 months to several years, depending on the available food source.

Larvae

Carpet beetles start off as larvae which emerge from eggs that females lay. They prefer to lay their eggs indoors but also use mice, insects, or bird nests. These bugs mate near light sources, and females can lay over 100 eggs at once, which take around 7 to 35 days to hatch into larvae that can live for several weeks without food.

Pupae and Adults

Larvae start to pupate after two to three months. During this stage, these beetles develop wrapped in a skin for around 20 days before transforming into adults. They generally pupate on or near food sources they were feeding on during their larval stage. The length of the pupal stage varies, but adults typically emerge once the temperature rises. The egg, larval, and pupae stages can last from 9 months to two years, but adults only live for a few weeks.

Prevention: How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetle

There are several ways to prevent or eliminate carpet beetles, which include:

Vacuuming

Vacuum your home regularly because the larvae feed on debris in carpets, like hair, pet fur, dead insects, and dead skin. So, when you vacuum frequently, there is less food available for these pests. Additionally, you can also vacuum up any eggs or larvae. Always pay special attention to any carpet along skirting boards.

Steam Clean

Steam cleaning hard surfaces will remove beetles and eggs because of the excessive heat and moisture.

Vinegar

Keeping surfaces clean with vinegar definitely prevents a carpet beetle infestation. Ensure to wipe down surfaces, drawers, shelves, window sills, and hangers with vinegar. This will remove any food residue or dirt, making it almost impossible for larvae to thrive.

Clean, Clean, Clean

You can use any household cleaner of choice to thoroughly wipe down furniture and furnishings regularly. This will remove any larvae or debris. However, be cautious of pesticides because many of them are toxic to you and your pets.

When it comes to infected clothes, bedding, or curtains, all you have to do is throw them in the washing machine and set it to a high temperature, which will kill the larvae. First, however, check the labels on each item to ensure they are washing machine friendly.

Keep an Eye on Your Plants

Inspect your houseplants while you are watering them, and wipe off anything that shouldn’t be on them. This is highly important the first time you bring the plants indoors.

Seal Off Gaps

As carpet beetles enter your home through the tiniest cracks, this might not be the most viable option, but it’s worth a try. Seal any gaps around windows and doors.

Call In the Big Guns

If the infestation is too big, or you can’t seem to locate the larvae, it’s best to call the professionals. They will be able to give you advice or come over and take care of it for you.

Keep Your Food Secure

There is nothing worse than opening up a packet of pasta or flour, and there are insects inside. Unfortunately, carpet beetles will find their way into your dry food, so it’s best to keep these items in airtight containers.

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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

Carpet Beetle FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kills carpet beetles?

Using a potent pesticide will rid your home of carpet beetles and their larvae. Any insecticide containing bifenthrin, deltamethrin, or cyfluthrin will do the trick.

 

Do you get rid of carpet beetles?

Keeping surfaces clean with vinegar definitely prevents a carpet beetle infestation. Ensure to wipe down surfaces, drawers, shelves, window sills, and hangers with vinegar. This will remove any food residue or dirt, making it almost impossible for larvae to thrive.

What kills carpet beetles naturally?

You can use any household cleaner of choice to thoroughly wipe down furniture and furnishings regularly. This will remove any larvae or debris. However, be cautious of pesticides because many of them are toxic to you and your pets.

When it comes to infected clothes, bedding, or curtains, all you have to do is throw them in the washing machine and set to a high temperature, which will kill the larvae. First, however, check the lables on each item to ensure they are washing machine friendly.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources

  1. University of California / Accessed February 26, 2023
  2. University of Kentucky / Accessed February 26, 2023
  3. Country Living / Accessed February 26, 2023