Pests

About Carpet Beetles | Types of Carpet Beetles | Carpet beetles vs Bed bugs

Carpet beetles, as the name suggests, are beetles whose larvae destroy carpet and other fabric. They can survive anywhere and on any object in your home ranging from carpets and furniture to the places where the walls meet the ceiling.

Adult Carpet Beetles feed on plants and fly into your house through open windows and cracks during the summer season. They are of different colors like dark-colored, having colorful spots on solid color skin, which varies from species to species.

Female Carpet Beetles lay around 50 to 100 eggs at once and provide food rich in protein to the larvae. The larvae feed on carpets, clothes, human or animal hair, or on any natural material.

Types of Carpet Beetles

There are mainly 4 types of carpet beetles as mentioned below:

  1. Black carpet beetle.
  2. Varied carpet beetle.
  3. Common carpet beetle.
  4. Furniture carpet beetle
  5. Odd Beetles
  6. Hide Beetles

1. Black Carpet Beetle

Black Carpet Beetles are the most common and cause great damage to fabrics and products that contain ‘Keratin’.

The adults range from being 0.125 inches to 0.187 inches long and are found near flowers during spring and summer seasons. During their lifetime of three weeks, female black carpet beetles lay eggs that hatch into larvae within eleven days (in warm weather).

The larvae are carrot-shaped and their color ranges from light brown to dark black. They are found mostly near closets and carpets due to the presence of wool and other fabrics, and at other places as well like on walls and in kitchen sinks.

They are capable of creating large holes in food items as they feed on dead animals, fur, hair, hides, and horns and stay in the larvae stage for 9 months to 3 years depending on the environmental conditions. 

2. Varied Carpet Beetle

Varied Carpet Beetles are smaller than Black Carpet Beetles and can be easily identified from their yellow scale body pattern.

They are widespread across the United States and are also known as ‘Scavenger Beetles’ as they feed on dead animals, bird nests, insect pupae, woolen clothes, carpets, horns, feathers, rye meal, corn, and red pepper.

Their eggs take up to 18 days to hatch and molt several times in the larvae stage. The larvae are 0.25 inches long and have three tufts with their hair shaped like arrow-heads at the back of their abdomen. If inhaled or got in contact with skin, they can cause irritation which might cause serious medical problems.

3. Common Carpet Beetle

Common Carpet Beetles are spherical, gray, or black colored beetles having an orange-red colored scale in the middle of their black, along with other white and orange scales. The adult beetles feed on pollen and flower nectar.

Female Common Carpet Beetles lay around 40 eggs which hatch into larvae within 20 days. The larvae are 0.25 inches long and reddish-brown colored with black or brown hair and feed on wool, fur, and skin. They molt six times and become pupae which transform into adult beetle after 15 days.

4. Furniture Carpet Beetle

Furniture Carpet Beetles, as the name suggests, damage your furniture as they feed on wool, feather, cotton, rayon, jute, padding, hair, and carpets.

The adult beetles are round, black colored with yellow and white scales on their back, and yellow scales on their legs.

Female Furniture Carpet Beetles lay 35 to 100 eggs that hatch in to larvae within three weeks. The larvae are covered with hair all over and molt multiple times over a period extending as much as to six months before transforming into pupae.

The pupae are white-colored and transform into adults within twenty days which stay in pupae’s skin for over ten weeks.

Apart from these, there are two other types of beetles that are closely related to Carpet Beetles. They are:

5. Odd Beetles

Odd Beetles are native to Asia but widespread across North America. They feed on woolen clothes or dry animal matter and don’t survive for a long period due to the absence of food, and a suitable environment.

Female Odd Beetles do not have wings, have bigger antennas, and are stronger as compared to male odd beetles.

6. Hide Beetles

Hide Beetles are known as ‘Fabric Pests’ as they are found in warehouses, tanneries, and feed on furs, animal skin, feathers, and cheese.

Hide Beetles are further divided in to 3 categories:

  • Regular Hide Beetles
  • Larder Beetles
  • Black Larder Beetles

19 Facts About Carpet Beetles

1. How many kinds of carpet beetles are there?

There are three types of carpet beetles i.e. furniture carpet beetles, black carpet beetles, and varies carpet beetles.

Each of them has the same life cycle, which consists of four stages – egg, larvae, pupal, and the adult stage. 

Furniture carpet beetles are generally larger than the varied carpet beetles. Their wings have scales that are dark yellow or orange in colour. These kinds of beetles generally feed on  wool fabrics. 

Black carpet beetles are about 1/8 inches long. They have a dark brown or shiny black skin. They have brown legs. Black carpet beetles generally infest on stored food. 

Varied carpet beetles are about 1/10 inches long. They are black in colour. Their wings have yellow scales on them. Varied carpet beetles generally feed on dried flowers. 

2. Where do carpet beetles hide?

As they are not capable of fighting predators, they hide in places where they are hard to locate.

Inside your house, they will be mostly hiding underneath baseboards, under carpet edges, in and under upholstered furniture, around door casings, and in materials such as carpets, rugs, slippers, blankets, and soft objects. 

Outside your house, you can spot them on the blossoms of crape myrtle, spiraea, queen anne’s lace, wild asters, and other flowering plants with abundant pollen. The larvae stage of carpet beetles feeds on pollen grains of flowers.

3. Where do carpet beetles lay eggs?

The adult carpet beetles generally lay eggs on food resources such as woolen fabric and carpets. They generally lay eggs in dark and secluded places. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks under proper room conditions only i.e. 25-26 degrees celsius.

The females need the nectar and pollen of flowers to lay eggs. Each female lays around 50 eggs. Once they have laid the eggs, they die and the adult males take care of the eggs. The adults then wander in search of food for the larvae.  

4. What are carpet beetles attracted to?

Carpet beetles are generally attracted to light, warmth, and food. If your home is warm, comfortable, and has a proper supply of food for them, then it’s a dreamland for them.

Animal protein like feathers, silk, wool, and carpets are the kind of feeding they crave for, because it contains oil and food spills in them. The larvae are attracted to seeds and pet food, which is the reason females will mostly lay eggs near your kitchen. 

5. What eats carpet beetles?

There are certain ant species that feast on carpet beetles, like the black garden ant, the Argentine ant, and the pavement ants.

The predators generally hunt down the larvae, as they are small and easy to hunt down. Carpet beetles don’t have a specific set of predators, they are hunted down by any insect or animal that is bigger in size than them.

6. How long do carpet beetles live?

The carpet beetles live for about 4-8 weeks. There are four different stages in a carpet beetle’s life cycle, and each of them has a different life span.

The females lay around 50-60 eggs in one go. These eggs take 9-16 days to hatch. The larvae stage lives for around 70-94 days, before pupating. Then they remain as a pupal for 14-17 days before turning into an adult. These adult carpet beetles live for 4-8 weeks.

7. What do carpet beetles eat?

Going by their name, it should be very clear what they like the most. It’s like their honeymoon place to stay, due to the presence of oil and spilled food.

Apart from the carpet, they eat a lot of stuff. They like animal products like skin, furs, feathers, wool, hair, and dead insects. They also eat cotton sometimes.

They are often known to eat holes in yarns, these are blends of wool and synthetic fibers. If they live outside a house, then they feed on seeds, plants, and flowers. The larvae feed on the pollen grains of a flower. 

8. When are carpet beetles most active?

The carpet beetles are most active in the months of April, May, and June. They come out during this time to find sites for their females to lay eggs, which may vary from 25-100 eggs per female.

The adult males find a suitable spot for laying eggs, as once the females lay eggs, they die, so it’s entirely on the males to take care of the eggs. They wander out in search of food during the daytime and spend the entire night in their nest.

9. How long do carpet beetles live as larvae?

Larvae is the first stage of a carpet beetle’s life after hatching from its egg. The larvae stage remains for about 2-3 months. During this time, they molt themselves several times.

During this stage, they have a huge appetite therefore the adult males need to wander in search of food for them. Pollen grains of flowers are their favorite food. They also eat organic materials during this stage, along with dead insects and feathers. 

10. Why can’t carpets beetles fly?

Carpet beetles can only fly once they have reached adulthood. The previous two stages of their life cycle i.e. larvae and pupal don’t have a proper set of wings, so they are not able to fly.

Once they have reached adulthood, they have a shiny hard casing that they can move to reveal a set of wings underneath. 

11. What plants attract carpet beetles?

They generally crave the flowers that have both nectar and pollen grains. Flowers like crape myrtle, spiraea, buckwheat, and other plants that produce loads of pollen grains for the larvae to feed on.

The females need nectar for breeding and laying eggs. In the first stage of a carpet beetle’s life cycle, larvae crave on the pollen grain of a flower.

12. What smells make carpet beetles hate?

The carpet beetles hate strong scents. There are certain smells or scents of a plant that are too strong for then and are hence used as insect repellents.

Plants like eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella have such strong smells i.e. insect repellent properties. There are many essential oils that are made for such purposes, whose smell will keep the carpet beetles away from yourself and your house. 

13. What is the difference between bed bugs and carpet beetles?

Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between a bed bug and a carpet beetle, but they have physical differences between them. 

The larvae of the carpet beetles have white and yellow scales on the back of their abdomen, while the bed bugs are reddish brown colour similar to that on an apple. 

Bed bugs feed on blood, while the carpet beetles feed on woolen fabrics and stored food as well. They are often known to eat holes in yarns, these are blends of wool and synthetic fibers.

If bed bugs live outside a house, then they feed on seeds, plants, and flowers. The larvae feed on the pollen grains of a flower. 

Bed bugs hide in your clothing, mattress ribbing, behind your headboard, behind the baseboards, and wall coverings.

While the carpet beetles hide in materials such as carpets, rugs, slippers, blankets, and soft objects. Outside your house, they hide in the blossoms of crape myrtle, spiraea, queen Anne’s lace, wild asters, and other flowering plants with abundant pollen. 

14. Where do carpet beetles nest?

The carpet beetles make their nest generally near their food resources. Like in your carpet, as it contains oil and spilled food. They do this so that the male carpet beetles don’t have to wander so much in need of food, and keep the female exposed to predators.

They also make their nest inside the nest of birds or other animals. They can also live in the walls of your chimneys, feeding on dead insects and animals. 

15. What leaves do carpet beetles feed on?

Carpet beetles crave for nectar and pollen grains to feed themselves. They like the plants that have nectar and pollen grains in abundance.

Flowers like crape myrtle, spiraea, and buckwheat are a few of the flowers whose leaves are fed on by the carpet beetles, as they have loads of nectar and pollen grains.

16. How long can carpet beetles live?

The adult female carpet beetles can live about 2-6 weeks, while the adult male carpet beetles can live upto 2-4 weeks. This  lifespan varies for different conditions. They can live their full lifecycle only under indoor conditions.

They like to live in warm areas. Once it starts getting cold, they either freeze to death or go away. In winters, they generally are not able to finish their lifecycle. 

17. What fabrics do carpet beetles eat?

As the name suggests, it’s clear what’s their main motive, to destroy your carpet. But apart from that, carpet beetles also ruin many other things at your home.

They can damage your clothes as well because they also like cotton to some extent. They are also known to eat holes in yarns that are blends of wool and synthetic fibre. 

18. What temperature do carpet beetles die at?

To kill the carpet beetles, the temperature must be held at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a week. You can use freezers capable of reaching minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, they are capable of killing the carpet beetles at any stage of their life within 72 hours.

Carpet beetles can only survive if their surrounding is warm enough for them to breed and nest.

19. What time of year do carpet beetles go away?

As soon as the winter approaches, carpet beetles go away to places that are warm enough for them to live. In cold weather, they cannot survive, and eventually will freeze to death.

This makes these insects motivated to go away from the cold. That is the reason behind them living under your stairs, balcony, and other exterior structures so that when it starts getting cold, they could leave the place as soon as possible, and for the same reason, they climb down your chimney as well. 

Conclusion:

It can be concluded that the various types of carpet beetles feed majorly on wool, fur, skin, and animal matter; therefore, are found near carpets and closets.

Each beetle type has a different duration for each stage of the life cycle and can be identified from their unique colors.

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