Black Carpet Beetles
- Latin Name: Attagenus unicolor or Attagenus megatoma
- Size: 3/16” long as an adult and ½” long as larvae
- Color: Black carpet beetles are black and shiny as an adult; brown as larvae.
- Shape: Oval as an adult, carrot shaped as larvae
- Found in: Northeastern United States
- Overview: The Black Carpet beetle is one of many species of beetles that are found in the United States. The eggs of a black carpet beetle are white. The larvae are varying shades of brown. The adult black carpet beetles are brown or black.
Origin: Black carpet beetles originated from Europe in the 19th century.
Climate: The black carpet beetle can be found all over the United States, but most frequently is found in the Northeastern states where the temperatures are lower and the humidity is less of an issue. In high humidity states, black carpet beetles’ eggs have become moldy.
Favorite Foods: Adult black carpet beetles prefer sweet food like nectar or pollen. Larvae eat carpet, lint, hair, fur, leather, dried food, cereal or dead insects. Wool clothing with food stains or perspiration stains excite black carpet beetles in the larvae stage.
Family: A female black carpet beetle typically lays about fifty eggs during her lifetime. Once the eggs turn into larvae, they do not stay together. They wander to find food and if they are unable to find a food source they can survive for months without anything. In the larvae stage, the black carpet beetle is carrot shaped, up to a half inch long with coarse hair and has a tuft of curly hair near their tail.
Unique Facts: A larvae may shed his skin up to twenty times. The common black carpet beetle larvae will shed his skin five to twelve times. Adult black carpet beetles typically only live for one to two months.
Signs of a problem: Finding the skin of black carpet beetle larvae is the first sign of a problem. The larvae prefer dark private areas where humans will not bother them. Adult black carpet beetles are easier to spot and may be transported into your house on fresh flowers or through an open window.
Do they attack humans? No, black carpet beetles tend to stay away from humans, but they will do damage to garments, furniture and carpeting.
Stopping an infestation: In order to stop an infestation, remove all food sources from the black carpet beetle. Proper storage of clothing is necessary. Be sure to dry clean your items before you store them for the season, instead of waiting until you are ready to wear them again. If you suspect an issue with black carpet beetles, tell your drycleaner, as they may be able to apply heat or freezing treatment to the article of clothing. Clean clothes should be stored in plastic bags or on cedar hangers. Unlike cloth moths and some species of carpet beetles, mothballs are not good repellent for black carpet beetles. Remove any pet hair or lint by vacuuming frequently. Double check any fresh flowers you bring into the house for black carpet beetles before setting them out to enjoy. If after a deep cleaning, you still have a problem, call a pest professional for assistance.