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National Pesticide Information Center

npic@ace.orst.edu

1.800.858.7378

Understanding and Controlling Carpet Beetles

carpet beetle

Carpet beetles thrive in homes, museums, warehouses and other places where food exists. The young beetles look like tiny, hairy worms, and they like to feed in dark, undisturbed places like behind baseboards, under furniture, and in closets. They are often confused with other pests like bed bugs and fleas. Proper identification is key. Depending on your location, one type of carpet beetle may be more common than others. Consult your local cooperative extension service for help identifying your pest.

As the name suggests, carpet beetles are important pests in wool carpets and rugs. In addition to wool, carpet beetles can feed on silk, hair, feathers, and fur. They may also feed on plant materials, including books, grains, spices, and pet foods. They do not eat man-made materials but they have been found in items that have both man-made and natural fibers.

Consider these tips for prevention and control of carpet beetles:

  • Routine dusting and vacuuming of carpets, furniture, and pantry shelves can reduce the number of breeding sites and food sources.
  • Store attractive items like opened foods, fur coats and leather in sealed, airtight containers.
  • Check flowers and used furniture for the presence of any pest before bringing them into your home.
  • Sunning fabrics can make the larvae leave the fabric in search of a dark place to hide.
  • Dry cleaning will kill carpet beetles on clothing. A hot dryer can also be effective.
  • If carpet beetles keep coming back after treatment, consider looking in air ducts for dusty debris and in the attic for animal nests or carcasses.
  • If you decide to use a pesticide, always read and follow label directions and make sure the pesticide is intended for treating carpet beetles.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

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Last updated October 11, 2012