Carpet Beetle on Carpet

The Expert Guide on How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Yourself

Finding carpet beetles in your home can cause alarm and distress. These subtle invaders can cause significant damage to fabrics and textiles. In fact, carpet beetle larvae have overtaken the infamous clothes moth to become the largest individual pest threat to textiles in the UK.

Professional pest control services may offer carpet beetle elimination solutions. However, this can be an expensive option. Tackling a carpet beetle infestation yourself efficiently and affordably is possible. This is especially true when you act fast, use the right products and take advice from our team at

This guide provides a comprehensive approach to identifying, preventing, and eradicating carpet beetles. Moving forward you should be able to protect your belongings effectively and safely.

What Are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are small, oval insects whose larvae are known for infesting and damaging carpets and textiles. They can come in various colours - ranging from black to mottled patterns featuring brown, grey, cream, yellow white and orange colours.

Carpet beetles are often mistaken for clothes moths due to the damage their larvae cause and because they are difficult to spot. Similar to moth larvae, they enjoy feasting on natural materials such as wool, fur, silk, felt and leather. This is because they contain the digestible animal protein keratin.

Types of Carpet Beetles in the UK

Carpet beetle species in the UK include the Variegated Carpet Beetle, Fur Beetle, and the rarer Black Carpet Beetle.

The Variegated Carpet Beetle has a distinct mottled brown, grey and cream body which is sometimes confused for a sick ladybird. Fur Beetles are predominantly black with white spots on either wing.

Variegated Carpet Beetle

Carpet Beetle Behaviour

Understanding beetle behaviour is crucial for effective identification and targeting interventions. This is because they cause the most damage during the larval stage as this is where the actual fabric feeding occurs.

What is the Carpet Beetle Lifecycle?


Carpet beetle eggs are tiny, white or cream-coloured. They are laid in protected locations with abundant food sources. Examples include disused bird nests, and natural fabrics such as those containing wool, fur, felt, leather and feathers. Depending on the species and environmental conditions, female carpet beetles can lay dozens of eggs at a time. These typically hatch within two to three weeks.

Larvae (aka. Woolly Bears)

Carpet beetle larvae are commonly referred to as "woolly bears" due to their hairy appearance. Most active in autumn before hibernating, these larvae are small (around 4mm), worm-like creatures which come in a range of colours and are covered with bristly hairs.

Once hatched, they begin their search for food which is commonly found in their immediate surroundings. It is during this stage that they are able cause damage to your textiles and fabrics as they become part of their diet.

As they grow, carpet beetle larvae moult, shedding their exoskeletons as they expand. This moulting process can occur multiple times throughout the larval stage. It may last anywhere from several months up to a year and is heavily dependent on their environment and availability of food. They are rather resilient and go survive months with little or no food.

Carpet Beetle Larvae


Once fully developed, the larvae look for quiet, secluded spots to pupate. During this stage, the larvae cover themselves in a cocoon-like structure made from debris and their hair. This pupal stage is where they start a complete transformation, and the larvae metamorphose into adult carpet beetles. This process can take several weeks to a month, depending on conditions such as temperature and humidity.


The adult carpet beetles emerge from the pupae following the metamorphosis. Their primary goal is to reproduce. Adults are small, and round and are black or often mottled with colours such as brown, grey, cream, yellow, white and orange.

Unlike their larvae, adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar from flowers. They are typically more active during warmer months starting from late spring. During this time they will seek to exit homes to find suitable mates and places to lay eggs, thereby continuing the lifecycle. After mating, the lifespan of adult carpet beetles typically spans a few weeks to a couple of months.

What Do Carpet Beetles Eat?

Adult carpet beetles typically feed on pollen and nectar from common plants in your garden. They choose to lay eggs in undisturbed places for their larvae which include an accessible food source. This includes anything from old bird's nests to accumulated animal hairs to natural fibres such as wool, leather and fur. This is why the larvae not the adults are the primary culprits behind textile damage.

Carpet beetle eating

Identifying Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation

Infestations can often take place without you realising at first. They can also be confused with moth infestations due to the type of damage they cause to fabrics. It's important to be vigilant and look out for the first signs of a potential carpet beetle infestation which may include:

Initial Indicators

  • Shed Larval Skins: Look for these in dark, quiet, and secluded areas such as cupboards, under furniture, or in the corners of rooms.
  • Damage to Natural Fabrics: Carpet beetle larvae cause well-defined, round holes. This is particularly the case in natural fabrics like wool, silk, and leather.
  • Sighting of Larvae and Beetles: From spring to autumn, you may notice live larvae or adult beetles. Adults are small and often have distinctive, colourful mottled patterns. This makes them easily identifiable.

Fabrics and Textiles

  • Visible Holes in Fabrics: Inspect your wool, silk, and fur garments for small, shaped holes, especially along seams and hidden areas.
  • Animal-Based Materials: The larvae prefer materials such as felt, fur, wool, and leather. Check behind and beneath leather furniture and shake out feathered items in sunlight to dislodge and identify larvae.

Larval Sheds and Adult Beetles

  • Shed Larval Skins: As larvae grow, they moult and shed their skins, which can accumulate in infested areas. These are often found alongside damaged fabrics.
  • Adult Beetles: While less likely to cause fabric damage, seeing adult carpet beetles in your home can hint at a broader infestation.

Preventing Carpet Beetles

Preventative measures are key to managing carpet beetles and reduce the chances of infestation. Here are several effective strategies to safeguard your home:

  • Regular Vacuuming: Maintain a consistent routine of vacuuming carpets, floorboards, airing cupboards, shelving, upholstered furniture, and curtains. This should be at least once a week if possible, if not more. If possible lift up carpets and clean underlay too. Focus on less disturbed areas, such as under furniture and along skirting boards. These are places where carpet beetles like to hide and lay eggs. 
  • Immediate Removal of Nesting Materials: Inspect your attic and any other less visited areas. Look out for old birds' nests, dead birds or rodents, or accumulated animal materials. Remove these immediately as they can serve as ideal breeding grounds for carpet beetles.
  • Proper Storage of Textiles: Ensure that all natural fibre textiles, such as wool, silk, and fur, are cleaned before storage. Use airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags as they prevent beetles from accessing and damaging them.
  • Check and Seal Entry Points: Examine your home for potential entry points, such as cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and pipes. Seal these areas to stop adult beetles from entering and laying more eggs.
  • Use Protective Covers: Use for items that are susceptible to beetles, but unsuitable for airtight storage. This includes large, upholstered furniture whose covers can be regularly removed and cleaned.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels: Carpet beetles thrive in humid environments. Maintain a low humidity level in your home to deter their presence. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas and ensure good ventilation throughout your home.

Use these preventative actions regularly and take action to reduce the risk of a carpet beetle infestation. By doing so you are also protecting your valuable textiles and other susceptible materials from damage.

Vacuuming living room

Natural DIY Carpet Beetle Control

It's always preferable to stop pest infestations by using natural products before trying out chemical options. Natural products and scents are considered more environmentally friendly. They are also considered better for your health compared to pest infestations. Several non-chemical methods can help manage a carpet beetle infestation:

  • Freezing: Small items can be placed in a freezer for at least two weeks to kill any larvae.
  • Cedar Oil: A natural repellent, cedar oil can be sprayed on affected areas to deter carpet beetles.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This powder can be applied to areas where beetles are frequent to dehydrate and kill the larvae.
Cedar Oil to Stop Carpet Beetles

Chemical Solutions for Carpet Beetles

When you've tried natural solutions and don't see progress, chemical interventions may be necessary.

Before buying any of these products, you may want to educate yourself on the ingredients being used, and what the side effects may be. Read the instructions and follow them carefully when using the product.

  • Insecticides: Choose sprays or powders specifically designed for carpet beetles - this should be clear from the label. Treat affected areas including below carpets, in the gaps between floorboards, cracks, and other potential hideouts or places where fluff might accumulate.
  • Insect Growth Regulators: These chemicals disrupt the beetles' life cycle. This prevents them from sexually maturing and reproducing.

Cleaning and Repairing After Carpet Beetles Infestations

After addressing the immediate infestation, thorough cleaning and repair are vital:

  • Deep Clean: Vacuum and steam clean to remove any lingering eggs, larvae or food sources.
  • Repair or Discard: Damaged items should be repaired if possible, or discarded if the damage is severe.

When to Use Professional Pest Control Services for Carpet Beetles

If the carpet beetle infestation persists despite your best efforts, it may be time to call in professionals. Pest control services can offer more potent solutions and customised advice. This may ensure that your infestation is handled quickly and effectively.

Final Thoughts

By implementing the essential strategies outlined in this guide, you can maintain a carpet beetle-free home. This will preserve both your peace of mind and the integrity of your fabrics. Remember identifying an infestation early and taking action as soon as possible are key.

Regular and thorough cleaning as well as the removal of potential nesting sites are important first steps. In addition, seal entry points, keep your fabrics safe and keep humidity in check as carpet beetles thrive in humid conditions.

If you do identify an infestation take action immediately. You can try DIY methods, however read instructions and side effects before using chemicals. At the end of the day, don't be afraid to call in the professionals either if you don't think you can manage.

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