carpet beetle larvae

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles and Carpet Beetle Larvae

A reader wrote to us a few days ago to ask about some larvae and beetles she found, sending us some excellent pictures of the creatures in question. She suspects she found carpet beetle larvae, an idea she wanted us to weigh in on, and she also found some sort of beetle that she wasn’t able to identify, which she also wanted our help with. In addition to the matter of identification, the reader wanted to know how to get rid of the carpet beetle larvae – or whatever they may be – that she is finding.

First, here are a couple of the photos that our reader submitted with her question. The first is of the larvae she found:

carpet beetle larvae

And the second is of the adult beetle:

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black carpet beetle

Carpet beetle larvae are by far the most common creature we write about. We’ve written about them dozens of times, and we seem to have the occasion to write about them at least once a month. Thus, we are fairly confident in identifying the larva in the above photo as a carpet beetle larva. For one, it looks like a carpet beetle larva, with its brown and stripped body, and in addition, carpet beetle larvae are common household pests, and of course one is more likely to find a common pest than an uncommon one. That our reader found carpet beetle larvae is also suggested by the fact that adult beetles were found around the reader’s house. We therefore think that the adult beetles are – what else? – carpet beetles, which carpet beetle larvae obviously grow into. More precisely, we think our reader found black carpet beetles, one of the three common species of carpet beetle larvae.

Before moving on, we should briefly note that our reader didn’t seem to draw any connection between the larvae and the beetles, and this makes our identification of the adult beetle slightly less certain. Indeed, our identification of the adult beetle is largely premised one two assumptions: that she did in fact find carpet beetle larvae (which is very likely), and that the beetles are in some way related to the larvae (perhaps they were found in the same house around the same time, for instance). The overall context of the reader’s email implies that the beetles and larvae are part of the same problem, and we will go ahead and assume this, but if there is no connection whatsoever, we want the record to reflect that we are considerably less confident in our identification of the adult beetles. They do look like black carpet beetles, but this isn’t something we would have spontaneously said without the presence of carpet beetle larvae in the house.

As for getting rid of carpet beetles and their larval form, this is a topic we write about often. For instance, a few months ago we wrote about getting rid of the brown “worms” found under furniture, which is one of many times we have detailed the basics of getting rid of carpet beetle larvae. There are also some excellent external resources on carpet beetle removal, like the one published by the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management program. We won’t repeat in detail what we have written several times before, so we encourage our reader to check out other articles on All About Worms (or elsewhere) for removal advice. (There is the article linked to above, about carpet beetle larvae under furniture, and here is another piece about getting rid of carpet beetle larvae that infested towels.) At present, we will only note that getting rid of carpet beetle larvae is primarily a cleaning task. You are not only trying to remove the larvae, the beetles, and their eggs, thereby breaking the life cycle, but also the types of things that attract beetles and larvae to the house, like hair, lint, and various other fabrics and materials. It is also important not to invite the beetles into your house, which can be done by making sure that openings to the outside world (windows, doors, vents) are sealed to the extent that this is possible.

So, to recap, we think our reader is finding carpet beetle larvae, and thus we think she is also finding carpet beetles – black carpet beetles, specifically. To address the problem, some serious cleaning is in order, ample guidance for which can be found on this website and elsewhere.

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Summary
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles and Carpet Beetle Larvae
Article Name
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles and Carpet Beetle Larvae
Description
A reader wrote to us a few days ago to ask about some larvae and beetles she found, sending us some excellent pictures of the creatures in question.
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4 Comments

  1. Pat

    I think Laura has a point. This is the third article I’ve linked through where the writer seemed exasperated that the person asking a question hadn’t already read the answer somewhere on the site. It is true that this article suggests “cleaning”, but I’m guessing the title of the article suggested a more detailed discussion. I’ll make up a response: “remove all bedding and retain samples of the worms/insects to confirm with a specialist that they are carpet beetles and not bedbugs, launder the bedding and run each item through the dryer for an hour beyond what it takes to dry. Next brush the exterior of the furniture until all visible creatures are removed. Then vacuum. Continue to check and vacuum daily until you have the species determined by an expert. If they are bedbugs, discard the furniture if you cannot bake it at 200 degrees for at least an hour or 140 degrees for 6 hours. If they are carpet beetles, continue the vacuum regimen for 11 days and you should be fine.”

    You’re not obliged to give any response, let alone a detailed one. But I believe the link to link to link of articles suggesting the detailed answer was already given is what she meant. But I’m just guessing. Hope that helps!

  2. When I pulled the blankets back on my bed last night (bed was unmade as I have mobile disability) I found about a dozen small, 1/8 to 1/4 inch brown pupae like critters. They don’t seem to move, have a plated (like an armadillo) body.
    I saw three at first and thought they were something from my cat’s paws-litter or dirt particles until I pinched them and they squashed.
    This morning, I was getting up, sitting on the edge of the bed and my kitty jumped up to greet me. There were three more of those things on the edge of the bed, only those three.
    My husband had none in his bed.The bedding was changed last week.
    Another reason my bed wasn’t made is I often lie down during the day and am dressed in clothing that I usually wear for two days before they go to the laundry.I wear night clothes to sleep in at night for a week or less.
    We have no carpet in the house. We live in the country.The cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. We have Alpacas. My housekeepers were here yesterday.

  3. Dear Laura,

    First, we never complain about any question; in the case of carpet beetles we simply point out that it’s the most often asked question, so people know that there is no shame in it, and that they are not alone.

    Second, we absolutely *do* answer the question, in nearly every single article: you need to *clean*, and *vacuum*, and depending on where you find them, do your laundry, and dryclean.

  4. laura

    I have clicked on several links in your site to tell me how to get rid of carpet worms/beetles….and every single link is just another article about someone asking the same question and your writers actually complaining that this topic is the most common of all and we whould all know the answer! Then there is a link to the same story w slight variation….BUT U NEVER ANSWER THE QUESTION!

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