Carpet beetles, as their name implies, sometimes infest carpets. Similar to clothes moths, the pests also feed on many other items composed of wool, fur, felt, silk, feathers, skins, and leather. Such materials contain keratin, a fibrous animal protein which the larvae are able to digest. Cotton and synthetic fabrics such as polyester and rayon are rarely attacked unless blended with wool, or heavily soiled with food stains or body oils. Infestations of carpet beetles can develop undetected, causing harm to vulnerable items.
Facts about Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are common in dwellings, and their damage is often mistaken for that of clothes moths. (For more information about clothes moths, see University of Kentucky Entomology Entfact-609.) The adults are small (1/16 to 1/8-inch), oval-shaped beetles ranging in color from black- to various ‘mottled’ patterns of white, brown, yellow and orange. Adult carpet beetles feed on flower pollen and do not damage woolens and other fabrics. In springtime, they often appear on windowsills, suggesting an infestation may be present inside the home. Female beetles lay about 50-100 eggs on or near vulnerable materials. While some breeding sites may be obvious (e.g., a wool rug stored in a closet), others can be subtle—for example, accumulations of pet hair associated with baseboards, air vents and ducts.