Mature Larvae are rarely more than 1/4-inch long and bear two pairs of hair tufts on the back end of the abdomen.


AdultsPattern of white, brown and yellow scales on the upper surface of their wing covers, or elytra.

Varied carpet beetle larvae are scavengers. They are quite common in nests of birds and spiders, on dead animals, in insect collections, in attics, Oriental carpets, tapestries and wood-based wall-to-wall carpeting.

Fabric pests such as carpet beetles, although not particularly dangerous, can sometimes cause irreparable damage to personal belongings. These beetles are able to digest animal hairs and, therefore, feed on almost any item made of natural fibers, particularly wool and cashmere.

They feed on variety of animal products, such as woolen fabrics, hides, feathers, hair silks, horns, bone and insect pupae. They will feed on dead insects such as flies and have also been found in drywood termite workings after fumigation has killed the termites, or even subterranean termites galleries after soil or bait treatments have done likewise.

Varied carpet beetles feed on dead insects, but also feed on upholstery and carpet, so they can damage those materials. They can also damage clothing fabric.

Carpet Beetle Prevention Tips

  • In closets, store natural fiber clothing items by covering them with individual plastic covers.
  • Use mothballs to help deter fabric pests, but be aware that they may leave an odor that could require dry cleaning.
  • Prior to storage, clean woolen and natural fiber clothing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider storing clothing in large zippered plastic units.
  • Do not store boxes of clothes in the attic, garage or basement, if possible.
  • If clothing stored in boxes, boxes must be clean thoroughly before storage and seal all corners and openings with tape.

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