Varied Carpet Beetle


Actual Size: 2 to 3 mm

Characteristics: Blackish in the center with an irregular pattern of white, brown, and yellow scales.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and they can fly.

Habitat: In homes, will infest attics feeding on insect remains, then moving down into the home to infest Oriental rugs, wall hangings, and wool-based carpeting.


  • Carpet beetles eat natural fibers. 
  • Carpet beetles are scavengers.
  • Larvae are more destructive than adults.

Varied Carpet Beetles in Wisconsin

The varied carpet beetle, which gets its name from the various colors on its back, is considered to be the most common carpet beetle in Wisconsin. Carpet beetles are small insects that eat carpet and other natural fibers. Carpet beetle larvae are usually the first to catch a homeowner’s eye, as they are frequently striped and are covered in bristles, causing them to appear furry. As these larvae mature, they will shed their “shells,” which is another common way that carpet beetle infestations are identified.

Varied Carpet Beetle Habitat

Outdoors, female beetles search out spider webs, bees, wasp, or bird nests as locations to lay their eggs. These nests and webs contain dead insects, beeswax, pollen, feathers, or other debris that can serve as larval food. Varied carpet beetles are present in many homes without being noticed. In small numbers, they can actually be beneficial to your home in the sense that they are good at breaking down old organic matter and “cleaning up” after other insects. Adults usually appear in spring or early summer; indoors, you’ll often find them near windows.

Varied Carpet Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Carpet beetles are scavengers. In homes, particularly large, old homes, this species commonly becomes entrenched in attics feeding on dead insect remains; it then moves down into the home to infest Oriental rugs, wall hangings, and wood-based wall-to-wall carpeting. The varied carpet beetle has been recorded feeding on a great variety of animal and plant products such as carpets, woolen goods, skins, furs, stuffed animals, leather book bindings, and dead insects and spiders. If a varied carpet beetle infestation occurs, contact the beetle control experts to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.