- Latin Name: Anthrenus verbasci
- Size: 1/8”
- Color: Except for the black carpet beetle, all of the other beetles have multicolored tan, black and brown shells with scales.
- Shape: Carpet beetles are round with 6 legs and an antenna that fold into the ridges on their scales.
- Found in: Across the United States but especially in Northern Coastal areas
- Overview: There are many species of carpet beetles. The most common types found in the Unites States are the common carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle, the black carpet beetle and the furniture carpet beetle.
Origin: Carpet beetles arrived in the United States in the 19th century from Europe.
Climate: Carpet beetles prefer a cool less humid environment.
Favorite Foods: Carpet beetles in the larvae stage eat natural fabrics such as fur, pet hair, feathers and wool. They will also eat dead insects. Adult carpet beetles prefer pollen or nectar from flowers.
Family: Carpet beetles have three main stages of life: egg, larvae and adult. If the carpet beetle is inside a home, she will lay her eggs on carpeting, rugs, or clothing. If the carpet beetle is outside, she will look for spider webs or old animal nests to lay her eggs. An egg takes up to 20 days to hatch. The longest stage of life for a carpet beetle is the larvae stage, which can last between two months and three years depending on the species. The varied carpet beetle is in the larvae stage the longest amount of time. When in the larvae stage, these insects look more like caterpillars than beetles with prickly hair all over their skin. Adults look similar in size and shape to a ladybug but vary in color.
Unique Facts: Carpet beetles are often confused with clothes moths based on the damage they do in closets.
Signs of a problem: Larvae shed their skin and leave feces the size of a grain of pepper. They will also leave a large hole in the outfit they are feasting on. Cloth moths typically leave several small holes in multiple places on a garment.
Do they attack humans? No, carpet beetles do not attack humans. Carpet beetles prefer quiet undisturbed locations. Some people believe carpet beetles have bitten them, but this is inaccurate. The prickly hair on the larvae may rub against you and feel like a bite.
Stopping an infestation: Determine where the carpet beetles have built their home. Good places to look are in the attic or basement where fur coats or wool clothing are stored. Also, look under rarely moved furniture, in oriental carpets and closets. First, thoroughly clean the furniture or clothes they are living on. Dry cleaning is recommended for fur jackets and sweaters. Next, vacuum the rugs and immediately remove the vacuum bag because eggs or larvae may be inside. If the carpet beetles are in your furniture, you should call a pest control professional for treatment. Both heat and freezer treatments are known to kill the beetles. After the carpet beetles have been removed and everything has been cleaned, store any blankets or clothing with natural fabric in airtight bags. Mothballs will keep both cloth moths and carpet beetles away, but make sure they are not in a place where pets or children can reach them.