What Causes Carpet Bugs? | Facts and Control Guide

Carpet bugs are one of the household pests. They belong to the family Dermestidae which is translated in Greek as ‘to eat’ and ‘skin’.

Therefore, the members of this family have an appetite for fur, hair, hides, and feathers. On the brighter side, finding a few carpet bugs doesn’t always mean infestation. But you may wonder about how they get inside a house.

What causes carpet bugs? The larvae of carpet bugs get nourishment from dried protein. Thus, they’re after hair, dander, dead insects, silk clothing, woolen clothing and rugs, wool blankets, wool carpeting, furs, felts, leather, and upholstered furniture. Also, the larvae consume dried meat, seeds, and seed products.

Adult carpet bugs have a different diet as they feed on plants’ pollen and nectar. They are strong fliers that enjoy the warm sunlight outdoors. They sometimes fly and enter a house or building.

Moreover, they can stick to clothes, items, and pets that go indoors. Some people may bring flowers with carpet bugs inside their house.

Apart from knowing the diet and some habits of carpet bugs and their larvae, other reasons make them common household pests. This article will tell you why.

Carpet Beetles | Identification and Habitat

Carpet Beetles - Identification and Habitat

The larvae of carpet beetles are small and hairy with a reddish-brown color. Their development to adulthood occurs in a dark, secluded location. It will take a year for them to become adults.

You may have figured out by now that they’re the ones causing damage based on the introduction.

You’ll see adult carpet beetles in oval shape and covered by hairs, specifically called ‘scale-like seta’. They prefer to live outdoors as they love the warmth of the sunlight. Their diet of pollen is another reason to stay outside.

It’s difficult to find their exact location so controlling them is challenging. But possible areas are revealed, like the carpet’s edges, where dander and hair pile up.

You may find them in wall voids as some dead insects get trapped there. Some of these beetles may have risen from nests of wasps, bees, rodents, and birds that are inside or beside your house.

What Are the Common Bugs in the Carpet?

Scientifically called Anthrenus scrophulariae, the common bugs in the carpet are these blackish carpet beetles that can be found everywhere. They’re rampant in the northern side of the United States though.

Can Carpet Bugs Harm You?

Can Carpet Bugs Harm You

Adult carpet bugs and larvae are not inclined to bite humans. However, their small, sharp spiny hairs can harm humans, especially sensitive ones.

When these hairs accumulate over time, they turn out to be airborne, so they come to eyes, skin, and even airways.

The hairs of carpet bugs can even reach your digestive tract. How does it happen? They can contaminate the food that you eat.

Once this hair disturbs your system, fever-like symptoms, such as redness and itchiness of runny nose, and watery eyes. In addition, people experience localized rash, itchy skin, systemic hives, gastrointestinal distress, and inflammation.

To sum it up, it can cause dermatitis when the shed skin of the larvae gets in contact with human skin.

Some people can counter these symptoms, but sensitive individuals won’t. The symptoms alleviate when the larvae cast their skin, and the debris is gone.

What Causes You to Get Carpet Beetles?

The larvae of carpet beetles get nourishment from animal-based materials like feathers, felt, fur, leather, silk, and wool.

Thus, they would cling to blankets, coats, rugs, sweaters, scarves, down pillows or comforters, decorative items, taxidermy mounts, toys, and upholstery.

The larvae would likely get into them if these things are not used frequently, or they’re just stored for a long time in boxes, closets, and chests. Infestation also occurs on the edges of carpets and rugs.

They won’t adhere to items that are used regularly. The same thing goes with the carpets and rugs that are well-maintained.

What Are the Signs of Carpet Beetles?

What Are the Signs of Carpet Beetles

The carpet beetles may be seen as hairy worms inside a house. These worms are the larvae that sometimes crawl on bathroom floors. Larvae go through molting and shedding of exoskeleton before they can reach the pupa stage.

Therefore, cast skins can be spotted easily. These are the signs of past or current carpet beetle infestation.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Bugs?

When getting rid of carpet bugs, you should start finding the infested items. Remember that the larvae stay in dark, undisturbed places.

You can go over the things that are stored in your closets, such as scarves and hats that are composed of wool and fur.

To solve your problem with carpet bugs, chemicals are not the first option, but it’s sanitation. After you go through the possible things where an infestation can happen, you can proceed to these steps:

  1. Get your vacuum to collect spilled food, pet hairs, and lint.
  1. You can launder or dry clean clothes, blankets, beddings, and sheets.
  1. Discard spider webs, dead insects, and nests of wasps, bees, birds, and rodents that are inside and outside of your house.
  1. Check the flowers that you brought into your house if there are any carpet bugs.
  1. To exterminate carpet bugs, put the items of infestation under the heat with the temperature of 120°F for half an hour. You can also put them in a freezer with a temperature of 0 or minus-degree Fahrenheit, but you have to let the items stay at this temperature for 10 to 14 days.
  1. If the problem with carpet bugs persists, you have to investigate the possible infested areas further and thoroughly. Clean your carpets and rugs. It’s also the time to apply insecticide like Ortho Defense Home Max. You may choose to fumigate your stuff. Pest control professionals can take care of this infestation if you think it’s beyond your ability.

How to Prevent Carpet Bugs?

Larvae of carpet bugs are after materials made of animals’ fur or hair. Since the larvae bring damage and troubles, you have to focus on them.

Items made of wool, fur, and other related materials should be dried clean before you store them for long periods. You may also store these things in plastic bags and containers for assurance.

Cleaning properly doesn’t only remove the perspiration odor that attracts pests. But it can also eradicate eggs and larvae of carpet bugs.

If you choose to use mothballs, crystals, or flakes, read the labels carefully for instructions. The amount of naphthalene may be hazardous if not utilized properly.

There’s a certain amount that is enough to deter pests like carpet bugs. Sealing the items that can be infested can help in this concern.

Don’t just scatter mothballs, and you have to make sure that kids and pets won’t have access to them. You may also use a safer option, which is the Reefer-Galler No Moth Closet Hanger.

You may also get cold vaults to keep your clothing with fur. These vaults are offered by department stores and furriers. They’re better than chests and closets made of cedar as the volatile oil of this wood can’t repel fabric pests.

Can You Have Carpet Beetles Without Carpet?

Can You Have Carpet Beetles Without Carpet

You can have carpet beetles without carpet as they can feed on animal-based materials used to make clothing and beddings.

Should You Worry About Carpet Beetles?

You should worry about carpet beetles as the larvae can damage your belongings, such as the following:

  • Natural fabrics namely cotton, wool, silk, and linen
  • Clothing, upholstered furniture with soiled or stained fabric, carpet, and rugs
  • Stuffed animals
  • Animal’s hide, fur, feather, and hair
  • Dried animal products (bow hair on instruments, dried meat, and fresh meal)
  • Dried cereals, spices, and grains
  • Dead insects

Fabric, textile, and carpet can have irregular holes due to infestation.

Will Carpet Beetles Go Away on Their Own?

Carpet beetles can go away on their own. When they become adults, they prefer to live outdoors, where they can feed on plants and bask under the sun.

Does Every House Have Carpet Beetles?

Two-year-old houses would normally have these carpet beetles.

How Do You Find the Source of Carpet Beetles?

You’ll find the source of carpet beetles from what the larvae like to feed on. Inspect the clothing or beddings that you kept for a long time and other things that you have in the basement. Check the edges of the carpet or floor covering. Lifting the furniture is necessary in some cases.

You’ll also need to check cracks and crevices where lint can be collected. Also, you’ll need to remove the nest of some insects, birds, and rodents as carpet beetles can find their food in it.


Animal-product materials like wool, fur, and more cause carpet bugs to stay in your house for a long time. The larvae find sustenance from these things. They’re also attracted to dried food.

The best way not to allow them to take residence in your house is to clean your stuff thoroughly and regularly. Not everyone can stay passive about the sharp hair of the larvae, as sensitive individuals can suffer from fever-like symptoms.

List of Sources

Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetle Dermatitis

Common Carpet Beetle

Carpet Beetles