WSU Extension


Caption: Varied carpet beetle larva in saltine crackers
Photo by: M. Bush
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Carpet beetles

(revision date: 7/30/2015)

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful pest management.

These are small, elongate or oval beetles ranging from 1/10 to 1/3 inch long (for most species found in stored products) and varying in color and color pattern. They are most easily diagnosed as larvae which are often elongate and quite hairy or with distinctive tufts of hair, especially at the end of the body. The number of generations per year is variable. Under poor conditions, larvae of some species have been known to live for years. Adults are capable of flying, and of all the beetles that get into homes, these are the beetles most likely to fly in from outdoors. Although they are common pests of foodstuffs, carpet beetles are frequently seen as pests of animal products such as furs, woolens, feathers, and animal collections.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Find and eliminate the beetle's food source.
  • Vacuum and regularly clean carpets, rugs, drapes, furniture and locations where beetles may congregate.
  • Try not to accumulate and store large amounts of woolens or articles made of animal by-products.
  • Before long-term storage of items, make sure they are pest-free and clean. Store items in tightly-sealed containers or moth-proof bags.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Pesticide applications are not an effective way to solve the problem. Sanitation or location and elimination of the source of infestation are the only long-term controls. If pesticide applications must be made, contact a pest management professional.

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Caption: Varied carpet beetle larva in saltine crackers
Photo by: M. Bush
Caption: Larder beetle and three larvae collected in corner of restaurant kitchen
Photo by: M. Bush
Caption: Adult varied carpet beetle
Photo by: Art Antonelli