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Carpet Beetles

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Carpet Beetles

Adult Carpet Beetles feed on the pollen of flowers. When they get indoors, however, the young (larvae) of these insects can be serious pests.

Larvae are carrot-shaped with tufts of bristles at their back ends. They feed on materials of animal or vegetable origin, such as woolens, carpets, hair, lint, fur, feathers, hides, cereals, stored grain, dried flowers, dead rodents, dead insects and debris in old bird and wasp nests. They may be found in closets and drawers, under the edges of carpeting, inside pianos, in attics and wall voids, in kitchen cupboards and even inside furniture. They are often first noticed when they climb walls in search of places to build their cocoons.


Thorough, regular cleaning of areas where these pests could be found is needed. Vacuum baseboard areas, carpeting, furniture, air ducts and cracks around the edges of shelves and drawers to remove all lint. Clean clothing before storing it. Inspect the attic and remove old birds' nests and wasps' nests. Screen windows and vents and caulk all openings through which the beetles could enter. Use traps instead of poisons to control rats and mice so the dead rodents can be removed. If feasible, open walls after controlling carpenter ants or wasps and remove the dead insects.


Regular thorough cleaning is often all that is needed to control small infestations of carpet beetles. Elimination of heavy infestations, however, can be very difficult. Thorough cleaning and the careful application of appropriate insecticides can usually prevent serious carpet beetle damage. Complete elimination of the pests, however, may require opening walls and lifting carpets to find and remove the sources of the infestation.

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