Are Carpet Beetles Harmful to Humans?

Carpet beetles are annoying little pests. They aren’t poisonous nor do they carry any disease-causing germs. But the questions still arise, are carpet beetles harmful? Should we take action against these pests invading our house?

a black carpet beetle on the rug

Black Carpet Beetle by Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

The answer to the question “are carpet beetles harmful?” is a definite YES! Despite their non-toxic nature they can still pose harm to you, and your home in several ways. They are the most dangerous type of beetles. Here are some of the ways they can be hazardous for you.


Are Carpet Beetles Harmful in Damaging Household Items?

Carpet beetles live outdoors, but prefer to live indoors to avoid the harsh weather outside. And once they’re inside your home, they will eat away literally anything that’s available.


Carpet beetle larvae are even more dangerous than adult carpet beetles.

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The larvae feed upon a wide range of household items with fabric being on top. They mostly eat animal-based materials including:

  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Carpets
  • Blankets
  • Leather
  • Fur
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Animal hair
  • Natural cotton
  • Pure clothing items
  • Beddings
  • Lint
  • Food crumbs
  • Dead insects

A carpet beetle infestation in your home puts all of your clothing at risk. They can eat away and create holes in curtains, clothes, leather or other natural fabrics in your house. 

If carpet beetles have invaded your home, then you’ll start spotting holes in fabrics. These holes are generally bigger than those created by moths. This will help you identify which pest is exactly invading your home.


Where Do Carpet Beetles Live?

Carpet beetles live in dark and shady places like cracks, crevices, cupboards, drawers, and attics. There they feed upon dead insects, insect nests, rodents, and more. Adult carpet beetles aren’t so much problematic as they feed upon pollen and nectar. 

Larvae though feed upon the pure fabric, so adults lay eggs in such places as inside carpet fur, blankets or closets storing clothing where they will have access to food sources.


Carpet beetle larvae won’t eat synthetic clothing, but oil stains, perspiration or food particles on synthetic fibers may invite them.

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So, your stained tablecloths, kitchen covers or unwashed clothing items are at risk of being eaten by carpet beetle larvae.


Are Carpet Beetles Harmful in Spreading Infection?

Carpet beetles do not bite people, but long-term exposure to them can cause carpet beetle dermatitis. This is a medical condition with symptoms like itching, pruritic rashes, and papulovesicular rashes. 

These bumpy rashes cause severe irritation. They are also sometimes mistaken as bed bug bites, but it’s an allergic reaction towards blood and hairs of carpet beetle larvae.

As carpet beetle larvae usually hide in carpets, blankets, clothes and upholstered furniture, they can come in contact with human skin quite easily. Prolonged contact with larvae’s hair fibers on its body can result in carpet beetle dermatitis. Some people also suffer from eye irritation, and respiratory tract irritation caused by airborne fibers of carpet beetles.


carpet beetle larva on the floor

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Eating Human Hairs

Another shocking eating habit of carpet beetles is that they like to gnaw on human hair. Sometimes while chasing down hairs they will crawl into bed with people, and while they are sleeping.


Due to the scent of essential oils, people may have applied to their hair; carpet beetles will nibble on their hair.

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Pantry Pests

Adult carpet beetles are also pantry pests. They will crawl or fly to get into your pantry items. While in there they lay eggs, which then hatch into larvae, and feed upon pantry items lying around like seeds, milled products, pet food, food crumbs, etc.

Pests in your home is never a good thing, even if they are less harmful like carpet beetles. Even though they don’t pose serious health risks, they are can still damage your household items. 

So, the moment you spot a carpet beetle infestation, take immediate measures to protect your home and loved ones from any unfortunate outcomes. Contact a professional pest control expert to help you eradicate this nasty pest as soon as possible.

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