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Types of Carpet Beetles

There are a few different kinds of carpet beetles in the Mid-Atlantic states that you should be on the lookout for at your home and business. They aren’t just a nuisance, either. These beetles can eat through fabrics and pantry items. We don’t know about you but that cuts into our budget!

What Do Carpet Beetles Look Like?

Adult carpet beetles, which are small, dark in color, and oval-shaped, may show up outside during the spring and summer to feed on pollen. They are pretty small, too, coming in at about 1/10 of an inch long. We don’t even have something to compare that to! It’s just tiny. No wonder they can go unnoticed. Not only are the adults small, but their larvae like to hide in structures behind baseboards, in closets, and under furniture while they eat wool, leather, furs, and other animal products. Most homes have them and it’s no wonder why – only a trained eye can spot them! Carpet beetles can cause real damage to fabrics and pantry goods if left unchecked.

Black Carpet Beetles

close-up image of a black carpet beetle
Black Carpet Beetle
Photo courtesy of K.S. Matz

Black carpet beetles are a common species in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Adults are black or reddish-brown and about one-eighth to one-quarter inch long. Black carpet beetle larvae are dark brown to gold in color and roughly half an inch in length, featuring a distinctive tail covered in long hairs. Why do they even have a tail? What is it for anyway? No matter – tail or not, you don’t want them in your home.

Varied Carpet Beetles

varied carpet beetle next to a matchhead for scale
Varied Carpet Beetle

Another carpet beetle species often found in the Mid-Atlantic region is the varied carpet beetle. Adults have round, gray bodies that are roughly one-tenth to one-eighth inch long. Their backs often have flecks of white, brown, and yellow or irregular black stripes. Varied carpet beetle larvae are about one-quarter inch long and brown with eggplant-shaped bodies. The only eggplant we want in our house is parmigiana or rollatini, ok?

Common Carpet Beetles

close-up image of a common carpet beetle
Common Carpet Beetle

Common carpet beetles are another species prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic area. Similar in size to varied carpet beetles, their short adult bodies are gray to black with a band of reddish-orange scales across their back. Larvae are elongated, brown, and oval-shaped with dense dark hair. With the size of all of these beetles, seeing their different colors (or even a tail) is difficult.

Prevention & Control

The easiest way to prevent a carpet beetle infestation is to keep it clean. Regularly dusting and vacuuming to remove any debris or organic matter that attracts pests will help with not only with beetles but with plenty of other pests that enjoy crumbs and spills (we’re looking at you rats, mice, flies, and cockroaches!). You can inspect dark areas and upholstery to check for carpet beetle larvae and the empty skins they shed to try to catch them early in the process. Underneath the woven or sewn edges of area rugs are favorite spots for larvae while the beetles are often found on windowsills. If you think you have a carpet beetle problem, call in an expert pest control company to do a free inspection and provide a comprehensive removal plan.

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