Are Carpet Beetles Invasive?

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into carpet beetles, an invasive pest in Alabama and the rest of North America.

What Are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are insects of the Anthrenus genus and verbasciare species. 

What Are Carpet Beetles Like in Each Life Stage?

As a “true insect” with a metamorphic life cycle, each carpet beetle has four stages of life: egg, pupa, larva, and imago (adult). Their entire cycle of life lasts ~150 to 420 days. Let’s break down the appearance, duration, behavior, and more about carpet beetles in each life stage:


Days Spent in this Stage: In a warm environment, future carpet beetles can gestate inside eggs for three to four months, but can take over a year to hatch if suitable temperatures are scarce.

Shape: Oval

Unique Features: Spiny apparatuses at one end  

Coloring: Cream-colored, slightly translucent or “milky” 

Size: ~¼-½ mm, or 0.94 inches. Carpet beetle eggs are so small that they are hardly perceptible to the human eye. This can be troublesome since female carpet beetles in the imago stage can lay up to 100 eggs.

Behavior: Mostly dormant before hatching 


Days Spent in This Stage: ~65 to 320 days

Segmentation/Shape: Unlike the larvae of many other insects, carpet beetle larvae have distinct segmentation between the head and their worm-like bodies. They can appear fluffy or furry due to bristles.

Coloring: Carpet beetle larvae are tan, brown, or a mix of both.

Size: Larvae are approx. ½ inch in length, making them a bit longer than in the adult stage.

Diet: Fibers of plants (fibers, nectar, and pollen) and by-products of animals (fur, wool, silk, feathers, shed skin, shells, eggs, oils, etc.). If carpet beetle larvae make it into your home, their enormous appetites can obliterate anything and everything you own made of natural textiles, such as your clothes, carpets, drapes, rugs, fabric-covered couches, and the lint from them.


Days Spent in This Stage: ~10 to 15

Shape and size: Almost the same as the final days of the larval stage, but slightly larger due to the protective outer layer of skin shrouding them during their transformation from larva to adult.

Coloring: White/cream/tan—they look like desiccated versions of larva.

Size: Somewhere between the larva and adult size, which isn’t drastically different.

Diet and Behavior: Pupa are dormant and cannot eat. They eat so much in the larval stage to prepare them for fasting in this transformative time.

Imago (Adult)

Days Spent in This Stage: ~15 to 55

Shape: Oblong

Coloring: Carpet beetles in the imago stage have black and brown bodies swathed in brown, black, white, orange, and/or yellow blotchy-patterned dorsal and egg-yolk-yellow ventral scales. Sometimes, these patterns fade away in the adult stage, leaving only the dark base color behind.

Size: Adult carpet beetles are tiny—about ⅛ inch on average—so they can easily sneak into your home through tiny cracks and crevices in doors and windows. Although they’re shorter than their larvae, adults are stouter.

Diet: Carpet beetles are in a subtype of herbivores called palynivores because they solely consume pollen and nectar (and are not destructive to your property like larva).

Breeding Conditions/Habitat: Outdoors in the spring, residing in the nests and burrows of bugs, rodents, and birds.

Egg Laying Behavior: Once carpet beetles are inside your home, getting them out can be painstaking—especially without professional pest control services. Carpet beetles aren’t picky about where they’ll lay their tiny eggs; they’ll leave them on anything they can land on.

How Do Carpet Beetles Get into Homes?

Light attracts carpet beetles to homes, and they are small enough in every stage to sneak into your home through the tiniest nooks and crannies. Carpet beetles in adult, egg, and larval stages can also find their way inside as passengers on plants, pets, and people.

Which Creatures Prey On Carpet Beetles?

Spiders, ants, and other small carnivorous creatures will prey on carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and imago.

Are Carpet Beetles and Bed Bugs the Same?

No. Carpet beetle larvae and bed bugs look similar; however, they are not the same insects. Pest control methods and advice for the two are very different, so if you need more information on bed bugs, check out this previous blog.

Are Carpet Beetles Harmful to Pets, People, or Property?

Carpet beetle rash

Although carpet beetles don’t bite or have anything like venom or poisonous secretions, the little bristles left behind by their larvae can cause an allergic reaction for some people, typically as a rash. Most of the time, it’s difficult to deduce that these little hairs cause an allergic reaction because they are so small.

Property destruction

As mentioned before, the larval stage of a carpet beetle’s life is when their appetites cause significant damage to your carpets and clothes—this is just how it goes with moth larvae. Carpet beetles in the imago stage do not eat these textiles, so their main offense is ferrying the eggs that become destructive larvae into homes.

How Do I Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?

Prevention/Small-Scale DIY Extermination 

When it comes to any kind of pest control, prevention is the key to success. Here are a few tips for prevention and potential extermination (not a guaranteed solution) that you can implement at home:

  • Thoroughly vacuum regularly, especially if you have pets that shed a lot of fur, which carpet beetles and larvae love to hide in
  • ​Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (a larva desiccant) or boric acid (a common insect poison) anywhere you see signs of carpet beetles and leave it for a week before vacuuming.
  • Launder bedsheets, clothing, and other fabrics with the hottest washing and drying settings when you suspect carpet beetle infestation. This is effective because carpet beetles can only survive for up to 30 minutes when exposed to temperatures of 120° or more. 


Our Experts’ Recommendation

Although prevention is powerful, and the above suggestions can effectively eliminate a smaller presence of carpet beetles, it does not guarantee it—especially if there’s an infestation. The only way to ensure your home is entirely free of carpet beetles is with the help of professional pest control experts. 


Our Vulcan Termite and Pest Control team in Alabama can tackle your carpet beetle problem with our effective pest control solutions and implement effective prevention methods so they won’t return! 


Don’t let carpet beetle larva destroy your clothes, carpets, and drapes—it could cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to replace everything. Call us at 205-663-4200 or contact us to learn more about our services that work and save you money!


Thanks for reading! Check out our pest blog to learn more about the pests and other creatures found in Alabama.