What are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles can cause serious damage to fabrics, carpets, furs, stored foods and other items derived from plants and animals. Carpet beetle larvae do not feed on synthetic fibers, but will feed on blends of wool and synthetics. Eggs, larvae, pupae and adults may be brought into the home and spread to such places as the lint collected behind baseboards, in air ducts, in the stuffing of furniture and in the bristles of old paint brushes. From these unsuspected places, carpet beetles may cause damage for a long time.

Black Carpet Beetle

The most commonly found species of carpet beetle in New York is the black carpet beetle. Larvae and adults are distinctly different from other carpet beetles. Adult black carpet beetles range from 1/8 to 3/16 inch in length. They are shiny black and dark brown with brownish legs. Full-sized larvae may be as long as 5/16 inch. They range in color from light brown to almost black. Larvae are shiny, smooth, hard and are covered with short, stiff hairs. They are carrot-shaped with a tuft of long hairs at the narrow end.

Varied Carpet Beetle

The second type of carpet beetle often seen in New York is the varied carpet beetle, which is about 1/10 inch long; the coloring is black with an irregular pattern of white, brown and dark yellow scales on its wing covers. Mature larvae are about the same length as adults, have alternating light and dark brown transverse stripes and are distinguishable from other carpet beetle larvae because they are broader at one end.

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