What Are Carpet Beetles?


There are probably more insects in existence than you can possible be familiar with and a carpet beetle may be one. Wait is a carpet beetle? A carpet beetle is a small beetle, about 1/10th of an inch long, whose larva can destroy carpets, fabrics, and other materials, and also invade food products. They get into your house in the same ways that most common pests do through improperly sealed doors and windows, or through cracks and crevices. Because they are so tiny, it is difficult to keep them out.

Recognizing a Carpet Beetle

How would you recognize a carpet beetle? The black carpet beetle runs between 1/8th inch to 3/16th of an inch in length, and is oblong in shape and black in color. The larvae of a black carpet beetle are hairy and have tan and white stripes. It is at this stage that they eat fabric and food. When larvae become full-fledged beetles, they can fly and are attracted to light so will often be found near windows.

How to Control Them

Carpet beetles can be difficult to control.  If you have affected fabrics or garments you can either toss them, or have them dry cleaned.  They often only eat through the first layer or so of fabric rather than eating all the way through leaving a hole. Other ways to control them include:

  • Keep pet hair swept or vacuumed up. Pet hair is a common food source.
  • Empty the vacuum bag in the outdoor trash.
  • Keep floors clear of clutter.
  • If you think they are infesting certain pieces of fabric put those pieces in the dry on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Store leather, silks, wool, and cashmere in plastic airtight containers.


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