Carpet Beetle Identification

Carpet beetles can cause a lot of damage if not treated immediately. These pests are often mixed up with bed bugs. Carpet beetles have a penchant for natural fibres and can damage furniture, clothing and carpets. Their mouths can chew fibrous material and plants, but they don’t bite.

What Different Species Look Like

There are different kinds of carpet beetles such as the common carpet beetle, varied carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle and black carpet beetle. All species of carpet beetles cause significant damage when they’re in the larval phase. Fortunately, the treatment for preventing carpet beetles is the same for all species.

Knowing how this pest looks like will help you identify them easily amongst other insects.

Common Carpet Beetle

Carpet beetle larvae have long, stiff hairs, which can make you feel like you were bitten. These hair-like bristles can cause an allergic reaction when it comes into contact with the skin. Red bumps or a rash may appear on your skin. 

Adult carpet beetles have hard bodies, two antennae and six legs. They are oval shaped and have wings underneath their shells. Carpet beetle larvae resemble fuzzy worms and have bands across their bodies. They have long hair-like extensions on both or either end of their bodies.

Once they reach adult phase, they can be around two to five millimetres long, while carpet beetle larvae are four to eight millimetres long. They also vary in colour. Black carpet beetles don’t have scales and are black in colour. Common carpet beetles have white, red and black scales. 

The larvae are covered in dark hairs and are red-brown in colour. On the other hand, larvae of black carpet beetles are either black or brown. They have a smooth body with no hair.

Varied Carpet Beetle

Varied carpet beetles are also black in colour with yellow, white and brown scales.  Varied carpet beetles, on the other hand, have small scales in an asymmetrical pattern. These scales disappear over time. Varied carpet beetle larvae have dark and light stripes on their bodies and dark hairs.

Furniture Carpet Beetle

Furniture carpet beetles have a black body with yellow, white, orange and brown scales. They also have large scales. The larvae of furniture carpet beetles have a white body. When they become adult, they become chestnut or red in colour and have brown bands across their bodies.

Preventive Measures against Carpet Beetles

Professional pest control companies can help you deal with carpet beetles. However, there are some tips that you can do to control or prevent an infestation in your home.

  • Good housekeeping exposes infestations early and helps prevent infestations.
  • If you bought second-hand clothes, you should dry clean, treat or wash them immediately.
  • Untreated animal skins, wool rugs and fur clothes might be infested if exposed to carpet beetles.
  • Check items that you haven’t used for several months to prevent severe damage. Soiled or worn clothes can attract carpet beetles since they’re more likely to hold food particles or sweat.
  • Cedar chests or closets are not effective in keeping carpet beetles and clothes moths away. Paradichlorobenzene flakes are better than naphthalene mothballs as they have an insecticidal effect.
  • Storing clothes in trunks or tight plastic bags isn’t always effective in discouraging beetles. Washing, using a dryer and dry cleaning can help kill the beetles in all phases of development.
  • If you have valuable furs, it’s best that you keep them in cold storage at 45⁰ Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Possible infested items like upholstered furniture, carpet pads, carpets and hard-to-reach spots under furniture should be vacuumed to reduce the amount of infestation.
  • Don’t overlook lint hair in attics, heat ducts and other isolated areas.
  • It’s also important to get rid of any food sources like crumbs after meal or pet food spills.
  • Damage happens during the larval stage of these pests. Larvae feed on various products for hair, dead insects, and animal products like leather, wool and silk. They can thrive on bird nests as well.

Controlling These Pests

There are various ways to control these pests in your home. Check out the following:


If you’re going to use insecticides, you should thoroughly apply it wherever an infestation might occur. Insecticides that can be used for carpet beetle control include deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin, bifenthrin and permethrin.

Some of the most common insecticide formulations are aerosol, dust and liquid. Since some carpets stain or change colour when sprayed with insecticide, you should check the product’s label for such warnings.

Treat a small, discreet area on your carpet with the product to know its potential for discoloration. Check the area for staining or discoloration in a week.

Boric Acid

Some homeowners apply boric acid to cracks and crevices. However, mishandled boric acid solutions could be harmful to you and your pets. You may be comfortable applying your own boric acid solution, but it’s best to allow a pest control professional to address the infestation for you.

A pest control professional knows what application techniques should be used to properly eliminate carpet beetles in all stages of development. They also have the right tools and equipment to do the job right the first time. Preventive and control methods are also necessary to keep them from coming back.