Facts, Identification & Control
Most species of carpet beetle measure 1 to 4 mm in length as adults. Their bodies are oval-shaped and display black, white and yellow patterned coloration. Some species of carpet beetle may also exhibit orange coloration. Larvae typically are light brown to black and covered in dense, sometimes barbed, hairs. They usually are slightly larger than the adult beetles.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen at flowers. Larvae, however, feed on a variety of anima-l and plant-based materials, including hair, carcasses, dead insects, stored grains and processed foods.
Adult carpet beetles are day active and will be attracted to lights at night. Larvae tend to be secretive and are found in or near their food source.
In spring, female carpet beetles lay 25 to 100 eggs, which hatch into larvae within two weeks. Carpet beetle larvae are brown and covered in coarse hair. Larvae measure approximately 2.5 cm in length. Three distinct golden hairs are located upon the abdomen at this stage of development. Carpet beetle larvae are able to mature under a variety of humidity levels and temperatures, although they tend to avoid bright areas. Depending on food sources and climate, larvae may take over a year to develop into adults. As they develop, they shed their brown skins. The larval stage is the carpet beetle’s destructive stage. Adult beetles feed on seeds, plants and flowers, while larvae consume fabric or fur. Infestations are often identified by the presence of adult carpet beetles, which gather around windows and lights. Unlike many other beetle species, adult carpet beetles are good fliers. Carpet beetles feed on a variety of materials, including carpets, feathers, leather, silk, wool, felt and fur. Carpet beetle infestations tend to go unnoticed for long periods of time, allowing them to cause severe damage to bedding, clothes, pillows, carpets and upholstered furniture.
Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
Adult carpet beetles may be seen flying to lights or crawling on surfaces. Larvae also may be seen crawling on surfaces. The most likely sign is their damage. The larvae can chew holes in infested items and will usually leave behind their shed skins. Heavily infested items can be riddled with holes and damage.