Varied Carpet Beetles Identification and Biology

By DoMyOwn staff

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Physical Appearance

The adult form of the varied carpet beetle is oval-shaped with a pattern of various colors--usually black, yellow, brown, and white-covering its back. It is much smaller than the black carpet beetle. Varied carpet beetle adults can fly and are readily attracted to light. Larvae are no longer than ¼ inch long and have 3 tufts of hair on the tail end of the body.

Behavior & Habitat

The source of infestation for varied carpet beetles is usually a spider web, bird nest, or rotting animal carcass. They may also hide in oriental rugs and tapestries. Once inside, varied carpet beetle larvae like to feed in places that are dark, protected, and undisturbed. They move very slowly and leave behind cast skins. More active forms of an infestation may distribute themselves in places such as air ducts, behind baseboards, among furniture stuffing, and in the bristles of old paint brushes. Adults are drawn to the light and spend most of their time flying in windows.

Feeding Habits

Varied carpet beetle larvae are scavengers that feed on wood, carpets, feathers, bone, hair, silk, and insect pupae. They have also been found surviving in stored pantry foodstuffs such as rye, cereal, and pepper.

Life Cycle

The Varied carpet beetle may take 249 to 354 days to develop from egg to adult.


  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! - Vacuuming your home frequently helps to get rid of materials such as debris, pet hair, and lint that can support carpet beetle populations.
  • Always dry clean or launder woolens and other susceptible fabrics before storing them for long periods of time.
  • Store items made of wool or silk in tightly sealed garment bags with several fabric pest repellers (moth balls).
  • Infested articles should be immediately disposed of when found. Do not try to salvage infested items, the infestation will likely just continue to spread.

Professional Products for Varied Carpet Beetle Control:

For more detailed information on Carpet Beetle prevention and control, see How To Get Rid of Carpet Beetles


Try our Pantry Pest Kit to get rid of Cigarette Beetles.

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