What Causes Carpet Beetles? All You Need to Know

by Jeremy Hayes

Finding holes in carpets, furniture and clothing can be frustrating. Carpet beetles are often the culprits. Do you wonder what causes them? Are you interested in knowing the reasons carpet beetles are attracted to your house? This blog post will answer all your queries regarding these pests that chew away from your household materials.

Carpet beetles are caused because they find food for their larvae in your house. Their larvae food includes all types of animal products such as skins, silk, wool, hair, etc. Most of the time they find such products because of poor cleaning, stained carpets and/or mishandling of animal-based products.

This post will only cover the reason why Carpet Beetles appear. If you'd like to know more about Carpet Beetles overall, I'd encourage you to check one of the following posts:

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles. Everything You Need to Know!

Do you think you might have Carpet Beetles? Act quickly! This ultimate guide will teach you about the different carpet beetles types, how to remove them and how to make sure they never infestate your carpet!

Are These Carpet Beetles or Bed Bugs? 5 Main Differences

Did you find a bug in your house and don't know what it is? This guide (with pictures!) will help you identify if it's a bed bug or a carpet beetle. Easy! And what to do next to get rid of them!

What causes carpet beetles?

Carpet beetles are tiny pests that infest a variety of household items. They breed quickly and vastly. Most of the damage is caused by the larvae.

You usually first notice them when you see that they literally ate part of your carpet. I know... That’s just awful. Believe me, I've been there. Carpet beetle infestation is a problem almost every other house in the neighbourhood has. However, Relax. Breathe. You do not need to throw away your expensive carpets.

It is very important to identify the materials that carpet beetles are attracted to if you want to understand what causes them. Their favorite food includes products based on animal protein like leather, wool, feather, silk, and hair. Due to this kind of feeding habits, furniture and clothing get effected.

They also gnaw on synthetic materials that are stained by oil and contain food remnants. That is why carpets and curtains are also infested. A few key reasons behind the cause of carpet beetles are mentioned below.

A carpet wih bare areas from a carpet beetle infestation

But let's narrow it down a little bit. Let’s walk you through the main reason why carpet beetles thrive on some houses (and why they don't on others).

1. Stained fabrics

As mentioned above, animal-based products are carpet beetles' favorite food.

Synthetic materials aren’t themselves included in the food preference of carpet beetles. But wait! Why do they make holes in your synthetic carpets and clothes then? That is because food particles are often dropped on your carpets. Clothes have oil stains.

Carpet beetles can feed on any synthetic fiber as long as it contains food remains and oil. If these aren’t cleaned immediately, the little nibblers will not shy away from using them as feeding grounds.

A sofa stained by oil

2. Poor cleaning

Lint and dust are two of the biggest attractions for carpet beetles. You are allowing dust to blow from the vents on to the floor if the air filter in front of the vent isn't changed regularly. Procrastinating in vacuuming gives rise to the formation of lint. Both of these contribute to causing carpet beetles.

3. Inappropriate storage of animal-based products

It is risky to store animal-based products casually. It encourages carpet beetle growth. Materials such as leather, fur, silk, feather and wool should be in air-tight containers.

It is beneficial to get rid of the scent of these items. Dry cleaning is effective for this purpose. Another method is to wash them with hot water.

4. Lack of light

If you are a person that loves dim lighting, I would advise you to change this habit. It’s for your good. Carpet beetles love dark places. A minimally lit home is an ideal habitat for them.

That is why it is viable to open your curtains during the daytime. Let the natural light in. In evening times, turn sufficient lights on according to your feasibility.

Sunlight coming in from windows

Where do carpet beetles come from?

Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar. They can naturally be found in flowery plants that you might bring in your home. They also cling on to animals’ fur. You should make sure your pets are groomed regularly.

Carpet beetles can also fly in your home through windows, doors, cracks or any kind of opening. Once they are in, your expensive chandeliers, fancy wall and ceiling lights are likely to attract these six-legged invaders. You ask why? Because they mate near light sources.

The females then lay eggs in places where food is in abundance. A carpeted home is an irresistible option for them. Larvae hatch and stay in undisturbed places. You might think they are hiding but actually, they aren’t. They are just too small to be seen.

Carpet beetle larvae have a long life span ranging from 9 months to 3 years. No wonder they can cause silent chaos for quite some time.

Look Out

An infestation can be pointed out by two signs:
1. Visible holes or bare areas in infested items.
2. Traces of skin that carpet beetle larvae shed as they grow.

How do carpet beetles spread?

Once carpet beetles mate inside your home and the females lay 35 to 100 eggs at once, larvae are hatched. That’s when their party starts. They crawl from room to room, infesting your carpets. You won’t be able to notice them until you spot visible damage.

Furniture carpet beetles are specifically named so because of their ability to digest keratin. They dwell in your upholstery. I don’t think you would like to use a sofa that is being eaten by pests from inside.

Another thing worth mentioning is that carpet beetles also munch on dry food or grains. That is why your pantry is a high-risk area. Pests near food? GROSS. Their tiny size, massive number and feeding habits make it easy for them to spread.

If you want to learn more about the spread of carpet beetles, we have a post dedicated to this subject.

How do Carpet Beetles Spread? 5 Tips to Stop them!

Are you wondering how Carpet Beetles enter your home and spread everywhere so quickly? This post will show you how they fly inside your home and much more!

Carpet beetle control

It’s human nature to be frustrated by trouble-making pests. I understand how badly you must want to safeguard your precious carpets.


The Two Ps

It will take the two Ps, Patience and Persistance to get rid of carpet beetles yourself. Don't let frustration get the better out of you. Calmly and smartly, you will be able to prevent their infestation.

First and foremost, spray insecticide on all the entry points outside your home. For preventive measures indoors, regular vacuuming is essential. It may be exhausting but fruitful.

Don’t let stained clothes lay around unwashed. You might be thinking about how tiring it is to do laundry every other day. I agree. It is a huge task. But it pays off big time.

Store all your food items in air-tight containers. Scan any flower or furniture you bring in your home. Those might be infested by carpet beetles already. I believe you are capable of eliminating carpet beetles from your home.

If you want to put an end to this pest problem, our blog post, How to get rid of carpet beetles? will help you.


That’s pretty much it. Now you know what causes carpet beetles. That means you are ready to eliminate them.

Making new cleaning habits, managing stained fabrics properly and careful storage of animal-based products will give you an advantage over carpet beetles. Also keep your home lighted.

The key is to act smartly against these pests. They do spread quickly and unnoticeably but I am positive your time and efforts will seal the deal for you. More like seal your doors for carpet beetles.

Jeremy Hayes Picture

By Jeremy Hayes

Pest Control

Hello, I'm Jeremy. I used to own a blog about pest control until Jimena found me and asked me to join the Carpet and Rug World team. I'm passionate about carpet beetles, bed bugs, moths, etc. A lot of people don't understand how that's possible. I always say that the smile on a person's face when they get rid of the problem is worth it!

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About us

Jeremy Hayes Picture

Jeremy Hayes

Hello, I'm Jeremy. I used to own a blog about pest control until Jimena found me and asked me to join the Carpet and Rug World team. I'm passionate about carpet beetles, bed bugs, moths, etc. A lot of people don't understand how that's possible. I always say that the smile on a person's face when they get rid of the problem is worth it!

About Us

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