Pest Guide : What Is a Carpet Beetle?

What You Need to Know About Carpet Beetles in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Carpet Beetles are pesky creatures that can do some serious damage to your home. In many cases, Carpet Beetle damage is misidentified as moth damage. Misidentification can cause Carpet Beetles to thrive in your home longer than they should, resulting in more damage in the long run.

As the name of this beetle suggests, Carpet Beetles often live in carpets, but they can live in many other areas as well. They are often found in homes, museums, warehouses, and any other building with access to their food sources.

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How to Identify a Carpet Beetle Infestation

Learn about Carpet Beetles in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Carpet Beetle

Identifying Carpet Beetle Species

Carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects that can damage carpets, clothing, and other fabrics in your home.

There are several species of Carpet Beetles native to North America. Being able to identify the species of Carpet Beetle can help to eradicate the problem. Here are some of the most common Carpet Beetle species in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.:

  • Common Carpet Beetle/Varied Carpet Beetle/Furniture Carpet Beetle: The Common Carpet Beetle goes by many names. The adults are normally black with an irregular pattern of various shades of yellow, brown and white, over the wings. They are about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch in length. In many ways, they look like ladybugs. The difference is that they have a dark colored shell with yellow spots. The larvae are brownish and have bristles or hair on them.
  • Black Carpet Beetle: Black Carpet Beetles are named after their oily black to dark brown appearance. They are about the same length as the Common Carpet Beetle, but the larvae are a bit different. The larvae are elongated and have tufts of bristles at the end. These beetles are mostly found around wool rugs or carpets. A female can lay as many as 40 eggs at a time, which can take anywhere from 10 - 20 days to hatch. These beetles live very short lives, with females living two to six weeks and males living two to four weeks.


Carpet Beetles live in areas where they have access to fibrous materials. They feed on items composed of keratin. Popular items eaten by Carpet Beetles include wool, silk, fur, skin, leather, and hair. Carpet Beetles will not eat the skin or hair from your body, but they will eat any dead skin or hair that flakes onto the floor. For this reason, they are not parasitic.

Animal-based products are especially a favorite among Carpet Beetle larvae. The larvae are responsible for damaging feathers, felt, wool, and other animal-based fabrics.

Some species even eat other food sources, such as debt insects, food, seeds, and plant-based materials. In other words, they have a diverse diet that makes them a pest in most households.


Common Questions About Carpet Beetles

If you have any Carpet Beetle species in your home, it’s probably because of the natural particles and fibers they are attracted to. If you have an excess of wool, animal skin, animal furs, feathers, stuffed animals, leather, and silk, they may have attracted the beetles.

Likewise, these beetles are attracted to hair and dander. If you have pets, pet hair, and dander could be the culprit. Your own hair and dander could be the problem if you do not vacuum or clean frequently.

Carpet Beetles are not just attracted to fabrics and hair. They often eat other bugs around your home, dried plant products, and sometimes dog food and other food around your home.

How do they get in? Much like other bugs, Carpet Beetles get in through cracks and crevices around the home’s exterior. They often sneak in through cracks around the door, window, siding, plumbing, and electrical components. These are also the locations where the adults hideout. They are also often brought into through products we purchase.

Carpet Beetles are not particularly dangerous. they are not known to transmit diseases or illnesses either. They do not bite, but larvae have caused a stinging sensation or skin irritation and rash in some individuals, but the irritation goes away quickly.

Even though Carpet Beetles are not particularly dangerous to you or your family members, they are dangerous to your home. They can eat through your clothing, fabric, and carpet, much like moths. Because of the damage, they can do to your home, it’s best to contact a professional if you suspect Carpet Beetles have invaded.

DIY Carpet Beetles treatment can be difficult, but there are things you can do to eliminate or reduce Carpet Beetle infestations. Thoroughly cleaning your home, including vacuuming carpets, rugs, and furniture can eliminate many of the adults as well as larvae.

Tips for Preventing Carpet Beetles

  • Deep clean and vacuum carpets and rugs.
  • Seal gaps around the exterior of your home.
  • Caulk around windows, doors and gaps in floors on the interior.
  • Store clothing and fabrics in sealed containers.
  • Wash infested clothes in hot water and dry on highest settings.

How My Pest Pros Helps Eliminate Carpet Beetles

My Pest Pros understands that Carpet Beetles can be a major source of frustration. Our technicians area trained to identify the types of Carpet Beetles and likely breeding areas so that we can effectively treat and eliminate them using EPA-approved products. We will get rid of Carpet Beetles while protecting your family, pets, and home.

For ultimate protection, our professionals will work with you to find a customized solution for your pests problems, today and tomorrow.

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