carpet beetle

Signs of Carpet Beetles: How to Tell an Infestation

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If you’re seeing small, dark bugs crawling around your home, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with carpet beetles. Although they may not be dangerous, they can be a significant nuisance. Most importantly, they can cause severe damage to your carpets and other fabrics. Dealing with a carpet beetle infestation can be challenging, but it’s essential to identify the problem as soon as possible.

Learn how to identify carpet beetles, their larvae and the damage they can cause, along with tips on how to get rid of them.

What are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are small, winged insects that measure just 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch long. They’re brown or black and have a mottled pattern on their backs. Carpet beetles are often mistaken for bedbugs, but they’re quite different. Bedbugs are red or brown, and they’re flat and oval-shaped. Carpet beetles are rounder and have longer legs.

They are often mistaken for bedbug nymphs, but carpet beetle larvae are dark and segmented. They have long, black bristly hairs sticking out from their bodies and can grow up to 1/4 of an inch long. If you see one of these larvae, there’s a good chance there are more nearby. Female carpet beetles love laying eggs in dark, secluded places near food sources.

What are the Types of Carpet Beetles?

speckled carpet beetle on white surface

Carpet beetles come in different types, but there are three common species in your home.

1. Black carpet beetle

The black carpet beetle is the most common type in the United States. These insects are attracted to animal products like wool, fur, and feathers. They can also be found in lint, hair and pollen. The black carpet beetle gets its name from its dark color. These beetles are oval-shaped and are slightly bigger than the other two beetle varieties.

These beetles are more attracted to food sources like grains, flour, and cereals than fabrics and animal products. You can find them in pantries, kitchens, and other food storage areas.

2. Furniture carpet beetle

The furniture carpet beetle is larger than varied carpet beetles. These tiny beetles are attracted to various fabrics, including wool, cotton, and silk. They’re also drawn to upholstered furniture, animal hides and furs. They have white and dark yellowish-brown patterns on their backs. As they get older, they lose scales, exposing a white underside.

3. Varied carpet beetle

The varied carpet beetle is the smallest of the three common carpet beetle varieties. Their bodies are oval-shaped and have a mottled stripe pattern of light brown, white and yellow scales. They’re often found in homes with a lot of plants. These beetles are attracted to pollen and nectar, which they eat as adults. They also feed on fabrics like wool, cotton, and silk.

What Do Carpet Beetles Do?

Carpet beetles are attracted to homes because they feed on fabric and animal products, especially natural fibers like wool, silk and fur. They will also eat pet hair, leather, and feathers. In some cases, they may even feed on dead insects.

While they’re feeding, carpet beetles can cause serious damage to your carpets and other fabrics. They can also contaminate food sources, which can be a problem for people allergic to their larvae, causing skin irritation or other severe reactions. Because they’re so small, it’s easy for them to go unnoticed. This is why it’s essential to be on the lookout for the early signs of pest infestation.

An infestation can be difficult to eliminate, but taking action as soon as possible is crucial. The longer you wait, the more damage carpet beetles will cause.

How Can You Tell if You have a Carpet Beetle Infestation?

To confirm that you’re dealing with carpet beetle infestation, you can look for the following signs:

Finding carpet beetle larvae

Finding their larvae in your home is one of the first signs of a carpet beetle infestation. Carpet beetle eggs and larvae are often found in carpets, furniture, clothing, and other fabrics. You can usually find them in dark, secluded places like closets and storage boxes. If you see one, try to find where it came from. They often travel in groups, so there’s a good chance there are more nearby.

Shed beetle skin

Another sign of an infestation is finding shed beetle skins around your home. Carpet beetles go through multiple molts as they grow. They’ll leave their old skins behind as they move to a new stage in their life cycle. You can usually find these shed skins in the same places you find larvae.

Damaged fabrics

Of course, one of the most apparent signs of a carpet beetle infestation is damage to your fabrics. Carpet beetles will eat holes in clothing, upholstery, carpets and other fabrics. In severe cases, they can destroy an entire garment. Look for fallen hairs from fur and wool fabrics and small holes in other materials.

Finding adult beetles

Adult carpet beetles tend to stick around windows and doors. They’re often attracted to light, so you often see them flying around lamps and windows. They also eat flowers and plants outdoors to get the pollen they need to lay their eggs. If you see an adult beetle, it’s a good sign that there are larvae nearby.

How Can You Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?

old man vacuuming carpet in living room
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Pest control

Contact a pest control professional if you have a carpet beetle infestation. They’ll be able to confirm the infestation and recommend various methods of pest control. Carpet beetle infestations can be difficult to get rid of, so it’s essential to get professional help.


In the meantime, there are some things you can do to control the infestation. Vacuum regularly to remove larvae, eggs and adults from your home. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag after each use, so the pests don’t escape. You can also treat your fabrics with an insecticide to kill any beetles or larvae that are present.

Cleaning your bedroom regularly is also essential. This will help remove any food sources the pests are attracted to. Be sure to wash all of your bedding in hot water to kill any eggs or larvae that may be present.

Checking plants

Most carpet beetles come from the outdoors, so checking your plants before bringing them inside is essential. Adult beetles emerge indoors, so preventing them from getting inside is the best way to avoid them. Inspect any plants before you bring them into your home, and remove any infested ones.

Protect Your Home from Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles can be a severe problem if not dealt with quickly. Be sure to keep an eye out for the signs of an infestation so you can take action as soon as possible. If you have a problem, contact a pest control professional for help. You can get rid of these pests and protect your home from further damage with prompt treatment.

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