What Causes Carpet Beetles?

Kallie Johnson

Carpet beetles live in homes, feeding on things like carpet, clothing and bedding and causing damage. There are many different species of carpet beetles, but most adult beetles are small, oval-shaped insects measuring 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. They can be black, white, brown, yellow or orange in color.

Cleaning is one of the best ways to prevent a carpet bug infestation.

The adults can crawl and fly. Carpet beetle larvae measure around 1/4 inch long and are commonly covered with fine hairs or bristles. The larvae cause the most damage, as they feed while they are growing. If your home becomes infested, professional pest control is recommended.

Poor Housekeeping

Carpet beetle larvae feed on dust and lint. By frequently cleaning floors and carpets (mopping and vacuuming) to remove dust and lint, you remove much of the food supply for beetle larvae, preventing an infestation. Routinely change air filters in front of vents to prevent dust from blowing onto the floor from the vents.

Stained Clothing

According to Missourifamilies.org, carpet beetles are attracted to food and perspiration stains on clothing, especially clothes made out of wool blends, cotton, linen and synthetic materials. Do not let your dirty clothes sit out longer than a week if they have stains on them. If you must wait longer than a week, place the stained clothing in an airtight container, such as a giant zipper bag or storage tub. If you think carpet beetles may be on the clothing, wash in hot water or have the clothing dry cleaned to kill carpet beetles in any stage of growth.

Poor Storage of Animal-Based Materials

According to the University of Kentucky, carpet beetles are attracted to animal-based products such as wool, fur, silk, feathers and leather. If you are storing these items, wash them in hot water or have the items dry cleaned prior to storing to remove any scents that may be present. Then, place the items in sealable storage materials, such as zipper bags, storage tubs, zippered clothing garment bags, and zippered comforter bags.