Carpet beetles can be pests in homes, museums, and warehouses, where they feed on food such as fabric, wool carpet and rugs, stored food, and natural animal products including furs, feathers, bone, silk, and preserved specimens.
Adult carpet beetles don't feed on fabrics but instead feed on the pollen and nectar of outdoor plants. However, once they find their way indoors-- which could be through an open door or on cut flowers brought inside-- adults lay their eggs on a food source and within two weeks, their eggs hatch and begin to feed. Larvae feed in dark, secluded places and as they feed, the larvae shed skin and produce small fecal pellets.
Carpet beetles are difficult to control because of their small size and ability to find and feed, undetected, on a wide variety of natural fibers and products. The best way to successfully control carpet beetles is to use a combination of methods:
- eliminate food sources like lint, hair, feathers and other debris.
- regularly vacuum or clean carpets, drapes, and other upholstered furniture
- store unused items in airtight containers or with moth balls
- dry clean or launder clothes
- check screens on doors and windows and examine cut flowers for carpet beetle adults before bringing flowers inside.