Carpet beetles are tiny insects belonging to the Dermestidae family. Each carpet beetle is smaller than an inch in length and can wreak havoc on your home.
Due to their size, they can go unnoticed for quite some time. If you have noticed the small insect inside your home, you may wonder how they got inside in the first place!
Well, carpet beetles are probably attracted to things like sunlight, cut flowers, dry pet food and a whole host of other small things in your home.
An infestation can occur inside your home when carpet beetles find their way to any of their favorite common household items and begin laying eggs – so we need to get them out!
With a little knowledge of the likes and dislikes of carpet beetles, you will be able to stop them from invading your home. Let’s get started!
The Issue With Carpet Beetles
Before we dive into what attracts carpet beetles to your home, let’s discuss why the beetles are such a problem. Not only is it undesirable to have bugs in your house, to begin with, but carpet beetles also come with their fair share of problems. While a few beetles aren’t an issue, you will soon learn that they reproduce quickly, and a small problem can quickly become a large one.
It’s also important to note that carpet beetles in their larval state are the most damaging to your home. They start feeding from the moment they hatch and will eat along the surfaces they travel.
Since carpet beetles will gladly munch on almost anything they find, you will likely find them throughout your home making it harder to control an infestation.
Carpet Beetles Will Eat Your Clothes And Furniture
Finding holes in your favorite shirt or the couch you nap on is, undoubtedly, is the number one sign of a carpet beetle infestation.
The pesky beetles will feast on leather, wool, cotton, your favorite book, wood, and pretty much anything else they can land on.
Since carpet beetles can fly, they will go around your house eating whatever they can find. The larvae also will leave holes behind as they feed across a surface.
Finally, larvae will find their way into the folds of fabric, like collars, cuffs, or hems. Once an infestation has been determined, you will want to inspect all clothing thoroughly.
Carpet Beetles Multiply Quickly
A study from the University of Kentucky details how female beetles lay around 50-100 eggs at a time. Since carpet beetles will travel throughout your home, it’s likely the eggs will be around as well.
The report went on to say how some breeding sites will be visible, while others will be harder to find like in a collection of pet hair in an air vent or duct.
Carpet Beetles Are Hard To Find
Carpet beetles are the most difficult indoor pest to control because they discover food in concealed places and spread throughout an entire location.
Their larvae are so small, and can easily find hiding places around your house. This is why it’s important to not just treat the areas where you see evidence of the bugs.
Carpet beetles will shed their skins around 10-12 times before they are mature. These skins are often the first clue of an invasion. You likely will find a collection of the skins around infested food or other materials. Talk about ruining your appetite!
How Do I Identify Carpet Beetles If They’re Hard To Find?
You will likely come across both adult carpet beetles and their larvae. Adults will be seen flying near lights or crawling across a surface in your house.
Adult carpet beetles only grow to be about 4mm in length. Oval in shape, you may notice white, black, yellow, or orange stripes on the beetles you find in your home.
Larvae are not mature enough to fly and will be found crawling around items in your home. Eggs are cream or white and measure less than 1mm in length.
Carpet beetle eggs can hatch within one to two weeks. They go on to say the life cycle of carpet beetles ranges between three months and two years. The larvae also don’t need perfect temperatures and can develop in various degrees of weather which can be even more problematic.
Unfortunately, if you have found adult beetles in your home, there is also a good chance they have laid their eggs somewhere in the house. Adults tend to lay their eggs if they think space is habitable and offers plenty of food. Here are some common places where you’ll find carpet beetles during the day for some more info.
Here Are 8 Things That Attract Carpet Beetles
Understanding what attracts carpet beetles into your home will help prevent them in the long run. It is possible to prevent an infestation, as long as you adequately protect your home.
Sunlight Brings Carpet Beetles In
Possibly the number one culprit of carpet beetles is sunlight. You often find the pest around window sills and door frames, where the light shines in.
Be mindful of leaving windows and doors open. Adult beetles will take it as an open invitation to fly in and begin laying eggs around your house.
In addition to windows and doors, carpet beetles will look for the light in places like a chimney or electrical duct.
As a note! While adult beetles are attracted to light, larvae stay away and are more likely to be in darker places within your home.
Carpet Beetles Come In On Cut Flowers Or Plants
Anytime you bring fresh flowers or plants into your home, you run the risk of carpet beetles hitching a ride on your latest bouquet.
Adult beetles feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers, so there is a chance you unwittingly brought the pest into your home.
Carpet Beetle Larvea Will Eat Pet Food
If you don’t securely close your dry pet food, you are more susceptible to carpet beetles along with other common floor pests.
It’s best to store pet food in airtight containers. The IRIS Airtight Food Container is an excellent choice because it locks close to ensure no critters can make their way in.
Always make sure to put bowls of food away if your pet is no longer eating from them.
Animal Fur Brings In Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles will find their way to anything made from an animal. This includes wool, fur, leather, or feathers.
Any animal furs stored in attics or basements are more likely to be infested with carpet beetles. You want to pay special attention to items that you don’t use regularly because an infestation could have occurred without your knowledge.
Beetle larvae are particularly fond of animal fur because of the keratin found within nails, skin, and hair. The protein is a major attraction for young beetles.
You also need to keep an eye on your favorite four-legged friend. If your pet sheds often, carpet beetles will be attracted to the tumbleweeds of fur they find around your home. Carpet beetles may even take a ride on your best friend and enter your home on their back!
Finally, you also might notice them if your home contains taxidermy animals.
Carpet Beetles Will Invade Stuffed Animals
If you have a surplus of stuffed animals in your home, then they could be an open invitation to carpet beetles as they are attracted to the natural fibers inside the stuffed animals.
Once you notice evidence of carpet beetles on stuffed animals, it’s best to secure them in a ziplock bag or plastic bin until you have time to thoroughly clean them.
Food Crumbs Are Enticing To Carpet Beetles
Like a majority of pests, carpet beetles are attracted to food crumbs left on the floor or countertops.
You often will find their shed skin around a food source, so it’s important to throw away any contaminated food immediately. However, shed skin can be mistaken for live larvae and you may unwittingly think you have a bigger infestation than you really do.
Carpet beetles tend to find foods made with grains or seeds, so it’s essential to inspect any pasta or bread for evidence of the bugs!
Carpet Beetles Love Other Insects
Carpet beetles aren’t too particular when it comes to what they consider food. If you have a build-up of dead insects in your home, especially your attic, then carpet beetles will find their way to them.
Unfortunately, you may not go up to your attic enough to discover the problem and you will be growing beetles for generations to come.
Finally, if your home is also prone to mice, carpet beetles will feed on any dead mice or other rodents. It’s always best to remove carcasses immediately.
Bird Nests Bring In Carpet Beetles
While you probably don’t bring bird nests into your home, they occasionally make their way into chimneys or vents. Carpet beetles are attracted to bird feces, feathers and the nesting materials that their homes are made of.
Once the beetles have made their way into your chimney, they have direct access to your home.
If you often find bird nests in your chimney, it’s recommended to hire a professional to do a thorough cleaning and find the source of where the birds are gaining access to.
How to Rid Your House of Carpet Beetles
Now on to the good news. It is possible to rid your house of carpet beetles! While you might be able to handle the situation yourself, sometimes calling a professional is your best bet.
Vacuum Up Carpet Beetles
Don’t be afraid to take your vacuum to any beetles or larvae you come across. Vacuuming will help eliminate any eggs or beetles you might not see with the naked eye.
As you are cleaning, make sure to move around furniture to get every crevice of your house. You stand the chance of discovering a concealed breeding area.
Remember to thoroughly empty and clean out the container after use. Since they may survive the suction, you want to ensure they are put in a secure garbage bag and thrown out immediately.
Call A Professional
Sometimes a pest infestation is too big of a job for the homeowner, and it’s time to call a profession. They can better assess the situation and figure out the best removal method.
You might notice that cleaning your furniture is too big of a job to do alone and you need more help. Unfortunately, you may miss out on any eggs left behind.
We have a thorough network of professionals to check out if you are in the market for a new pest control company.
Wash (and Dry) Your Clothes
If you find carpet beetles on your clothes, put them in the washing machine at a hot temperature. You also want to consider having your clothes professionally dry cleaned to ensure they are beetle-free.
Even putting the infested clothing in the dryer in the hottest setting will help eliminate the problem.
Unfortunately, some items will have to be thrown out if the infestation got too bad.
Use Sticky Traps To Catch Carpet Beetles
Another way to eliminate carpet beetles from your home is to use sticky traps. For example, the Catchmaster Double-Sided Flying Insect Trap can be used around your home as a method to catch the beetles.
The non-toxic traps safely catch the carpet beetles and are easy to dispose of. To make it more efficient, do not throw the trap away until you’ve acquired several beetles.
If you’d some more options, take a look at our guide on the best carpet beetle sprays here!
Preventing Future Carpet Beetle Infestations
If you’ve had a recent infestation, you will want to know how to prevent it in the future.
Prevention is the key to success because, as you may now know, once carpet beetles invade your home, it’s not so simple to remove the small insects.
Carpet beetles have a slower life cycle in comparison to other insects. Since there is a longer life cycle, regular cleaning and maintenance will help prevent infestation.
Vacuum and Clean Regularly
Keeping a tidy house is the best way to keep it free of carpet beetles.
Household chores are not fun, but staying on top of your vacuuming will ensure there is no chance for carpet beetles to make a home out of your house.
You also want to make sure to clean any closets prone to dust and make sure places like baseboards and air ducts are free of hair and lint.
In addition, if you have pets, vacuuming often will pick up any hair that may attract carpet beetles. Don’t forget to get under the couch or any corner that is susceptible to collecting dust or hair.
Inspect Any Flowers or Plants
Before bringing any type of flower or plant inside your home, look it over thoroughly to ensure there are no beetles taking up residence.
You will want to wipe down the leaves of all plants and flowers before you bring them inside. When you water them, take the opportunity to inspect them for any new visitors that may have made their way inside.
Keep Food Sealed
In addition to ensuring pet food is stored correctly, you also want to do the same with your food. Carpet beetles will feast on flour and dried pasta, so it’s crucial to secure it every time you use it.
The Vtopmart Food Storage Containers do a superb job at keeping your food fresh and secure from any pests looking for a snack.
Seal Gaps in Windows or Door Frames
Carpet beetles aren’t giant and can fit through small cracks. So, take the time to inspect your home for any gaps that could use sealing.
Any door or window with the tiniest cracks is an invitation for carpet beetles to come on in. You will also want to inspect any screens with holes in them.
If you enjoy opening your windows in nice weather, you will want to ensure there is no damage to exterior screens.
Properly Store Susceptible Clothing
Since carpet beetles are attracted to animal furs, it’s essential to store any fur clothing appropriately.
You can either put clothing away in a plastic bin with a secure lid or look for a long-term storage solution. You want to take extra care if you store any items in your attic or basement.
As an additional tip, wash your clothing thoroughly before storing it for a season.
Wrapping Things Up
While this article might have you itching to check your house for carpet beetles, we hope you found it helpful in ridding your home of the tiny bug!
Remembering the things that attract carpet beetles into your home will help you manage the issue in the future!
- Fresh Cut Flowers or Plants
- Pet Food
- Animal Fur Products
- Stuffed Animals
- Food Crumbs
- Dead Insects
- Bird Nests
- Musical Instruments
We hope this article left you ready to tackle the carpet beetles that have taken up shop in your home! Remember, a licensed professional is only a phone call away if you feel like the problem is out of control.
Cranshaw, W. S. Dermestid Beetles (Carpet Beetles) (Doctoral dissertation, Colorado State University. Libraries).
Day, E. R. (2016). Carpet Beetles.
Gumina, M. E., & Yan, A. C. (2021). Carpet beetle dermatitis mimicking bullous impetigo. Pediatric Dermatology, 38(1), 329-331.
Peacock, E. R. (1993). Adults and larvae of hide, larder, and carpet beetles and their relatives (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) and of Derodontid beetle (Coleoptera: Derodontidae). Royal Entomological Society of London.
Sloderbeck, P. E. (2004). Carpet beetles.
Stanhope, J., & Weinstein, P. (2020). Note to chew on: insect damage to musical instruments. Pest Management Science, 76(11), 3537-3540.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
Download My Free E-Book!
Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.