Most recently reviewed by: Blayne Reed (2021)
Common Name(s): black carpet beetle, common carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle
Eggs are white, oval, and less than a millimeter in size.
Larvae are elongated (1/8-1/4 inch) and tan to brown in color with stiff hairs coming off of the body. Larval color can vary based upon the color of food larvae are feeding upon. They have well developed legs and are capable of moving about, but do so slowly. As larvae grow larger, they leave shed exoskeletons behind.
Pupation either occurs in the last larval skin or in a sheltered location near where the larvae were feeding.
Adult beetles are round to oval in shape and are small in size (1/16- 1/8 inch). The hardened wings, elytra, are covered with scales. Color can vary dependent upon the species of carpet beetle from mottled browns and cream to mottled cream and brown to solid black.
Origin and Distribution
Carpet beetles can be found worldwide.
Habitat & Hosts
Carpet beetles adults can be found outdoors on crape myrtles or other plants where the adults eat pollen and nectar. When adult carpet beetles are found indoors, it is often near doors and windows where they are attracted by sunlight. Adults may also be found in rodent or bird nests. When adults move into homes, they may lay eggs which can lead to problems. These beetles can be pests in warehouses, homes, museums and other locations.
Carpet beetle larvae feed on high protein foods, usually animal based, but they can also feed on plant material. They can be found in a variety of locations throughout the home. In the pantry, you may find them in items such as powdered milk, dried meats (jerky), or pet food. Other areas of the home they can be attracted to items made from wool, fur or feathers, areas where dead insects accumulate (i.e. light fixtures), leather book bindings, hair, silk or dried plant products. If the larvae are seen feeding on synthetic fibers, it is because the material is stained with body oils or food.
Complete life cycle: egg- larva- pupa- adult
Eggs (50-100) are laid by adult females near food sources. Larvae hatch out after about two weeks and begin to feed. There can be from 6-12 instars (larval stages) and it can take two to six months before pupation occurs. Adults emerge from the pupae after about 1-2 weeks.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
A program utilizing sanitation, exclusion and insecticides should be able to get a carpet beetle problem under control.
- Clean accumulations of hair, dead insects, and bird, rodent or wasp nests
- Regularly clean rugs, carpets, upholstery, etc.
- make sure to get along edges, under cushions, and under furniture where debris may collect
- Inspect animal based items (taxidermied animals, leather, feathers, wool, silk, etc.) once a year to avoid infestations
- Keep pantry items/ dry goods in sealed, air-tight containers
- Infested items (if possible, depending on the items) can be heated or cooled to kill any beetles
- freeze 2 weeks at temperatures below 18°F
- heat for at least 30 minutes to temperatures above 120°F
- Insecticides should be used as spot treatments- make sure carpet beetles are listed on the label as well as the area/ item you are treating
- make sure the product will not stain
If you find a few adult carpet beetles in your home, squish them and vacuum them up. A few adults usually do not warrant a full treatment, but you should watch for a developing infestation.