Carpet Beetles

Black carpet beetle larvae are 1/4 inch long, tapered in shape and have a golden sheen over the brown body. The black carpet beetle adult is 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, elongate oval, and as the name implies, black in color.


Black Carpet Beetle












Varied carpet beetle larvae are 1/4 inch long and widest at the middle. They typically have alternating light and dark bands across the top of the abdomen, but this character is not prominent in all specimens. The adult is 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and nearly round or broadly oval. The wing covers are marked with a mottled pattern of yellow, white and orange scales on a black background. The colored scales may disappear from an old specimen.






Varied Carpet Beetle

Carpet beetles are scavengers that feed on a variety of animal products such as woolens, hides, feathers, hair, taxidermy specimens and dried meats. They also feed on dead insects such as boxelder bugs and attic flies that may be trapped in inner wall spaces. Carpet beetles do not remain on their food material but instead crawl about, often for considerable distances.

Carpet beetle controls include eliminating the beetles by cleaning or destroying infested items (clothing, food products, etc.). Often, the source may be difficult to find or there may not be a single source. A major part of carpet beetle prevention and control is thorough vacuum cleaning to prevent the accumulation of lint, hair, and other carpet beetle food materials. Clean up or eliminate the source of infestation.  Good housekeeping is as important in preventing carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations as it is in control.  Your vacuum cleaner is often your best pest management tool.  Pay close attention to areas where lint accumulates (corners, baseboards, shelves, etc.).   Be sure to dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag after you clean.   Clean or dispose of infested clothing, cloth, blankets and other fabrics.   Freeze-treat small items such as ornaments and fur toys by placing them in the home freezer for a week.  Periodic brushing and sunning of stored fabrics is helpful in prevention and control.

Store fabrics that contain wool or other animal fibers only after they have been brushed and cleaned.  Storage in tightly sealed chests or storage closets is recommended.  Cedar chests provide protection only for fabrics that are initially free from carpet beetles and clothes moths.  Moth crystals, flakes or balls can be used as noted below.

If beetles are found throughout the structure, localized applications of residual insecticides may be needed. Treatment should be lightly applied to those surfaces upon which the insects are likely to crawl, such as along the edges of carpeting, in closets, behind radiators, baseboards and mouldings, and in corners, cracks, and so forth. Cases of heavy, widespread infestation may require the services of a professional pest control operator.

More Information:

University of California Pest Notes:   Carpet beetles