Carpet Beetle Eggs: What Are The Signs?

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: January 8, 2022
Image Credit thatmacroguy/Shutterstock.com
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Carpet beetles are tiny insects that resemble ladybugs or bed bugs. Adults are quite small, less than 1/8-inch long in size, and oval in shape. Most have varying shades of brown, white, black, yellow, or reddish-orange in a variegated pattern, although you may occasionally find black carpet beetles. Adult carpet beetles do not cause problems in homes; rather, their larvae are the culprits and do damage inside homes. The larvae for each type of carpet beetle look slightly different, yet they have several defining identification characteristics. The larvae are the ones you need to pay attention to as they are the ones that will cause damage in your home.

Carpet beetle eggs are creamy or white and are less than .01 inches in size. You’ll often find these oval-shaped eggs deposited in groups in blankets or clothing that are infrequently used.

Larvae are oval-shaped bugs that generally have black, light brown, white, and yellow coloring and are one inch or less in length. They are often mistaken for caterpillars as they are covered in dense, barbed hair. Carpet beetle larvae identification is slightly different for each species, yet you can count on these general descriptions to identify the pests.

Life Cycle of Carpet Beetles

Most carpet beetles lay eggs indoors, although they sometimes choose the nests of other insects, birds, and mice outside. Each female lays 50 to 100 eggs that hatch into larvae anywhere from seven to 35 days, depending on the species. These bugs also have a pupal stage that varies. The young bugs develop into adults within nine months to two years. Adults only live a few weeks.

Carpet Beetle Eggs - larva in carpet
Carpet beetle larvae cause damage in your home, as they eat various types of organic, animal-based products.

Tyler Fox/Shutterstock.com

Habitat of Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are found throughout the United States. Their habitat also includes most of Europe, along with the Near East, Northern Asia, Northern Africa, and Central and South America through the latter’s temperate zones. You’ll find several different species of carpet beetles, including the black carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, and varied carpet beetle. Black carpet beetles and varied carpet beetles are the ones most likely to cause damage inside your home. Female beetles lay eggs near furniture, clothing, rugs, and other larval food sources.

Signs of Infestation

Adult beetles do not cause damage as they are attracted to light and prefer the outdoors, feeding on flowering plants. Adult bugs fly into homes in warm spring weather through open doors and windows. Carpet beetle larvae are the ones that cause damage in your home as they eat various types of organic, animal-based products. Their food sources include:

  • Woolens
  • Furs
  • Animal dander
  • Leather
  • Feathers
  • Lint
  • Felt
  • Dead insects
  • Dry pet food
  • Carpets
  • Furniture. fabrics
  • Organic clothing
  • Organic/synthetic mix clothing

Because adults are capable fliers, they can move rapidly from room to room, laying their eggs to cause the signs of an infestation. The facts are, almost every home has carpet beetles somewhere, but you shouldn’t panic unless you begin seeing these telltale signs:

  • Bare areas on wool or wool-blend carpets and rugs
  • Damage to wool clothes, blankets, and similar items, as the larvae eat the nap from fabric surfaces
  • Hairs fall out of furs where larvae have clipped the hairs off at their base
  • Light brown, empty larval skins in areas where the larvae feed
  • Tiny beetles, which are smaller than the larvae, climbing walls or along window sills
carpet beetle
To protect one’s clothing from carpet beetles one should store clothes in an airtight container before storing them. The adults don’t cause the damage, the damage is done by carpet beetle eggs and larvae.

Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock.com

Bites Caused by Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are generally harmless to humans. However, facts show that the larvae can cause an allergic skin rash if they come into contact with your skin. The small, hair-like bristles are the irritants that can cause the rash, which can be confused with bites. The bumpy, itchy rash that they produce is another reason why the identification of carpet beetles is often confused with bed bug bites. These bugs are also similar in size, which adds to the uncertainty.

Treatment and Prevention

For severe infestations, experts recommend using the services of a pest control company to get rid of these insects. Vacuuming before treatment can get rid of potential food sources. Applying boric acid crystals to baseboards, cracks, and crevices will also help get rid of the larvae. Sprinkling boric acid over affected areas and letting this treatment sit for several hours will kill larvae. Make sure that you vacuum thoroughly to remove all of the boric acid as it can be harmful to pets and humans. Using cedar oil can also act as a repellant as a means of prevention.

Rather than ridding your home of an infestation, prevention is a better cure. Follow these tips to eliminate an indoor habitat:

  • Vacuum furs, woolens, carpets and furniture regularly to eliminate lint, pet hair, dirt and other organic debris
  • Store winter clothing in air-tight bags or cedar closets
  • Clean frequently under furniture and other hard-to-reach places
  • Remove nests from birds, rodents and wasps, all of which can lead to infestations
  • Clean your chimney once a year as it can become a breeding ground for larvae
  • Having woolens or furs professionally cleaned can help limit infestations

Next Up: How To Check For Bed Bugs

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do I know if I have carpet beetle eggs?

Carpet beetle eggs are oval and are either white or creamy. They are tiny, measuring only .009 inches to .01 inches long, and have tiny spine-like projections at one end.

How do you know if you have a beetle infestation?

The most common signs of a carpet beetle infestation are bare spots in wool or wool blend rugs, holes in blankets or wool clothing, and bald areas on furs or other animal products. Another common sign is shed larval skins, which look clear and tend to accumulate in the previously mentioned bare or bald spots.

What are carpet beetles a sign of?

Carpet beetles are a sign of several things, including poor cleaning, stained carpets, and mishandling of animal products.

How do you find a carpet beetle nest?

When inside a house, carpet beetle nests can be challenging to find as they can live inside walls or chimneys. Other typical nest locations are underneath baseboards and carpet edges, in and underneath upholstered furniture, around door casings, in carpets, rugs, blankets, and similar soft substances.

Do carpet beetles have a nest?

They can nest indoors or outdoors and will often locate nests near food sources that their larvae can eat once they hatch.

Do carpet beetle larvae live in mattresses?

Unlike bedbugs, carpet beetle larvae do not live in mattresses. Instead, they are attracted to blankets and other animal-based products so that you may find them in your bed.

Where do carpet beetles hide?

Carpet beetles like to hang out in the dark when they are not feeding. You’ll find them under area rugs and under upholstered furniture when they are not hiding in wall cavities.

What do baby carpet beetles look like?

You may mistake baby carpet beetles for fuzzy caterpillars. They are up to one-quarter inch long and have tapered or oval brown or tan bodies with white and tan stripes.

What kills carpet beetles instantly?

Boric acid is a natural insecticide that is immediately lethal to carpet beetles. Sprinkle it on your carpets, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum the dead beetles.