Home / Insect Stings and Bites / Carpet Beetle Allergy
Carpet Beetle Allergy

Carpet Beetle Allergy

Many people are not aware that they have a Carpet Beetle allergy. They will often see the symptoms of the allergy and assume that a Bed Bug bites are to blame. Frequently the allergy will only affect one member of a couple and not the other. It can take weeks or even months of expensive doctor visits before it becomes apparent that what they have is a Carpet Beetle larvae rash.

This kind of problem is particularly insidious because it is difficult to diagnose and treat. Many doctors are unaware of the symptoms of a Carpet Beetle larvae rash or varied Carpet Beetle bites. This is why it is recommended that anyone who thinks they have a type of bug bite to consult a pest control expert rather than a doctor. Not only is the conversation free, but it will save a lot of time and irritation. They can tell a person whether the bite is from a Bed Bug or Carpet Beetle.

Many people with a Carpet Beetle allergy are certain that they have been bitten. But can Carpet Beetles bite? No. What the beetles are doing is something that most people would never think of. They are simply walking across the skin. It is true that for many people this causes no reaction, but for those with a Carpet Beetle allergy this can be so bad and so pervasive that they will actually move out of their home. Worse, if special care is not taken, they will bring the carpet beetles with them to their new home.

This article examines all facets of Carpet Beetle allergy symptoms. The reaction, the treatment, the varied Carpet Beetle bites and the steps to take will all be discussed in explicit detail.

Carpet Beetle Allergy — Carpet Beetle Reaction

Contact with carpet beetles can cause a number of symptoms in those with a Carpet Beetle allergy including itching, rashes and pruritus, which is an itchy sensation that give the constant urge to scratch.

Some people have a Carpet Beetle reaction to beetle hairs or insect blood, also known as Hemolymph.

Commonly, Carpet Beetle bites cause an intense itching sensation as well as a rash. Some people with a strong Carpet Beetle allergy also have breathing problems and eye irritation.

It has been proven that those who have been exposed to carpet beetles for years eventually become immune to the allergic effects, but not before years of discomfort and suffering.

Often the symptoms begin as an itch on the ball of the foot. To those allergic to Carpet Beetles, it might feel like a mosquito bite and scratching it does not make it go away.

The sensation will spread to the toes and after a few days, red swollen “bite” marks will develop. Eventually they fade, but the process continues to repeat itself.

Carpet Beetle bites can also appear on the the hand, leg, shoulder or back. Often more than one “bite” occurs at the same time. The area around the bite might throb similar to a spider bite. In some cases the itching can be almost as bad as chicken pox.

In certain people with a severe Carpet Beetle allergy, the itching can be quite painful. Some report that their whole arm will twitch and it will be difficult to sleep.

Extreme cases of Carpet Beetle Dermatitis can last for 3 months and need a carefully-monitored steroid treatment program.

It is important to keep in mind not to get stressed out over the Carpet Beetle larvae bites. They are annoying, but they are not life-threatening.

Allergic reactions are actually affected by stress levels and can worsen due to it.

Do Carpet Beetles Bite?

There is a lot of talk about bites and allergic reactions, but the truth is that carpet beetles do not bite – Bed Bugs bite.

Carpet Beetles eat fibers, flowers, feathers and blankets. The marks left on the body are from a Carpet Beetle larvae walking on the skin.

That is why the sores will be in a line or path. It is basically the trail that the beetle took across a person’s skin. Static electricity causes the hairs to pierce the skin.

Bed Bug or Carpet Beetle?

There are still many people who believe that Carpet Beetles bite humans. Part of the reason for this is that Bed Bugs and Carpet Beetles are frequently confused with one another.

Carpet Beetles do no not have a mouth that can bite skin, as they are designed for plant matter.

A Carpet Beetle is half the size of a Bed Bug and they have white and yellow shells, along with hair on the larvae. There are other types of carpet beetles including furniture carpet beetles which have yellow, white and brown shells. Black carpet beetles are all black. Some might wonder, “do Black Carpet Beetles bite?” No, and neither do furniture carpet beetles.

A Bed Bug is brown and shaped like an oval. Bed Bugs come out at night and can only live in certain confined areas. Bed Bugs generally live within 7 feet of the people they feed on. They can be found in or under a bed, in clothing, drawers, or in the floor or walls.

Carpet Beetles live out in the open in houses, carpets, and food containers. Typically they like to live wherever dead bugs of other types are found. Carpet Beetles feed on carcasses of insects and even mice. It is common to find the empty shells of Carpet Beetles in certain areas of the home. They are attracted to sunlight and prefer to feed on flowers when possible. That means that their true preferred habitat is plants. Those with potted plants indoor should exercise extra caution.

Where Carpet Beetles Come From

Carpet Beetles can get into the home in a few different ways. Most types can fly and will often infest a home in the spring and summer time. Most often, beetles are actually brought into the home via contaminated food. Beetles can be found in dry pet food, fish, cereal, spices and corn meal among many others. Grain products in particular attract carpet beetles.

Carpet Beetles are attracted to CO2. That is what often draws them to humans in the first place.

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Some people think that they get Carpet Beetle Larvae bites, but just like the adults, they don’t bite.

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Carpet Beetles go through four metamorphic stages including the egg, larvae, cocoon and adult forms. Larvae are very small, usually under 3 millimeters. They ingest any kind of fabric, which is why they are often found in a bed, curtain, carpet or even hair. They often feed on shed pet hair, which can be difficult to sweep up on a consistent basis.

The size of carpet beetles and larvae make detection very difficult. They are so small that the larvae and pupal casings are barley larger than motes of dust.

Carpet Beetle Dermatitis

In some cases, a house becomes infested and some residents and even their pets end up with extreme itching.

Even after the home is sprayed, the hairs remain and continue to cause an allergic reaction. The true biological cause of Carpet Beetle Dermatitis is yet unknown.

Carpet Beetle Bites Treatment

Treatment depends on the effects of the “bite”. If the bite is itchy and similar to a mosquito bite, sting swabs are recommended. Sting swabs give relief from itching and promote healing in the area.

If the bite is more like a sore than a mosquito bite, using calamine lotion tends to soothe the area and speed up healing.

Topical Benadryl cream and cortisone are also effective. These ointments and others like them can end the itching and heal the sores.

Some patients report that using a cold compress on an itchy area offers great relief and would eliminate the itching sensation for a number of hours. The bumps would fade to a light pink color. A typical outbreak will last for about a week. The problem is that with an infestation, there may be more bites as the old ones fade.

Dermatologists can offer steroid shots and prescription strength lotion to ease the itching and battle the allergens. This would be the most effective Carpet Beetle bites treatment, if insurance covers it.

Carpet Beetles bite humans, but they go for dogs, too. Carpet beetles eat hair and fur, making canines attractive to them. Dogs with a Carpet Beetle Allergy can be helped with a good bath. Melaluca shampoo is said to be very effective, as is oxy me itch relief, a topical ointment.

Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles

The main thing to do when receiving a bite is to eliminate the infestation. The reaction is sometimes simply from being close to carpet beetle allergens. Eliminating the infestation will eliminate the symptoms.

The first step is to find out where the Carpet Beetles are. Prime indicators are shed skins and feces. Holes in curtains, couches or clothing are signs of carpet beetles. They generally dwell in dark areas like closets, basements, and in walls. They can also be found under furniture and carpets.

Cleaning Carpets

Carpeting is a major issue with these creatures. Insects and larvae can get quite buried into a carpet and can be very difficult for an exterminator to reach.

Once the Carpet Beetles are located, they need be vacuumed. The beetles can be sucked right into the machine. It is important to get the larvae as well. They look more like caterpillars but they are the true source of the problem. Using certain carpet treatments can be very beneficial. Allethrin and chlorpyrifos are especially effective. Look for dusts or sprays that are specifically designed to deal with carpet beetles.

Many experts recommend removing carpeting in cases of extreme infestation. In addition to housing carpet beetles and larvae, carpets sometimes contain insect feces and allergens that can cause a variety of other issues.

To prevent an outbreak or a reoccurence, it is recommended that a strong, effective vacuum cleaner is purchased. Carpets should be treated on a regular basis, not just when there is an outbreak. In general, other insects replace the ones that are exterminated. The most effective way to ward them off is to continue to treat the carpet for up to one year after the infestation.

Cleansing Fabrics

Once the carpet situation is dealt with, the next step is to wash fabrics in soap to get rid of Carbet Bettle eggs and larvae. Carpet Beetle eggs are very stubborn and difficult to destroy. Hot water or a steam cleaner will take care of them. If a garment is infested, it is best to just throw it out. Keeping clothing is not advised because it is very difficult to ensure that there aren’t any tiny larvae or eggs on the cloth. It doesn’t take much for an infestation to reoccur.

Boric acid will kill almost any insect that comes near it and it has no effects on humans. It does have a bleaching effect, so be careful using it on fabrics.

Exterminating Carpet Beetles

There are traps that are effective. Hormone-based glue traps can be set in dark areas where hair or dead insects can be found, or anywhere that there are signs of a Carpet Beetle infestation.

Glue traps will kill Carpet Beetles. The amount of dead insects will be an indicator of how large the infestation is.

It can be difficult to clear a house of Carpet Beetles. Often a professional pest controller or exterminator needs to be involved.

If there are any bird nests or bees’ nests near the house, those should be dealt with.

Carpet Beetles dwell in those nests, and it is a simple short flight for them into the home. The nests need to either be destroyed or moved as far away from the home as possible.

Moving Out

The Carpet Beetle allergy is so severe in some people that they actually move out of their home.

Unfortunately, the bugs sometimes come along. If a person is going to move, they may need to leave behind a lot of their furniture and clothes as that is where the carpet bugs dwell.

Some people hire bug-sniffing dogs to check their boxes before they move. Any boxes that the dog is alerted by should be thrown out. It is an expensive proposition, but for those with extreme allergic reactions it may be necessary.

Environmental Treatments

Many recommend using permethrin 10 or once a year flea granules, as they are proven to be effective. Granules are meant for fleas, but they dry out the carpet and make it impossible for most types of insects and larvae to inhabit the area.

Reducing Static Electricity

Carpet Beetles seem to be attracted to static electricity. In fact, static electricity is what causes the hairs of a carpet beetle to affect the skin of a human and creates what is often confused for a bite mark. This effect is powerful enough to actually pass through clothing like pajamas or shirts. Some people who have homes that are infested claim that they can feel a lot of static electricity on their leg or even slight muscle spasms.

The carpet should be misted with deionized water and then vacuumed. This will reduce a static charge that the vacuum might generate. In general, it seems that socks attract carpet beetle hairs and can bring them all over the house. Removing shoes and socks in the house has shown to greatly reduce allergic reactions.

Additionally, running a humidifier can reduce the static electricity effect and help you avoid Carpet Beetle allergy symptoms.

Steaming clothes, blankets and bedcovers is also effective at removing the static properties that help cause the outbreak.


  1. Hi, I have an infestation of carpet beetles. I thought I had morgellons disease but that proves not to be the case. I have seen many carpet beetles and shells in my home not knowing that the carpet beetles and the shells were related. My husband had 12 chickens in a chicken coop in our yard. Would that have attracted the carpet beetles to the house? Any way I am finding little balls of dust on my body, of course I have to look through a magnifying glass to see them. I think it is a high possibility that I might have swallowed some of the Larvae because I can see the hairs or Larvae in my feces and urine looking through a magnifying glass. I have told my doctors and they do not believe me, they keep saying its nothing to worry about. I am in the process of changing doctors but can you give me any advice about ingesting them into my body. Thank you Joanne Dumais

  2. I have a terrible carpet beetle infestation. I never noticed them until I steam cleaned my carpet this past December and woke up the next day with over 30 mosquito-bite looking welts all over my arms, back and abdomen. I found a nest of carpet beetle larvae behind my washing machine a few days ago. The larvae are much larger than the adult beetle, you would have known if you swallowed one. Your kidneys would not be able to filter larvae beetle hair, so that’s not what you’re seeing in your urine. They nest in anything organic (especially feces), so the chickens very well could have attracted them. I believe my cats attracted my not-so welcome little guests. I couldn’t even see hair on the larvae unless I held them in direct sunlight, but it is the hair that causes the allergic reaction. Static electricity causes the hairs to impale into your skin, in turn causing your immune system to think it’s under attack which then goes into survival mode, causing welts, bumps, itching, burning, even wheezing from breathing in the hairs. I have covered nearly every inch of my house in Diatomaceous earth, it’s not helping much. Benadryl doesn’t seem to help, Prednisone helps after a couple doses, but that’s a short term solution. Seriously considering just burning my house to the ground, the past 4 months have been an agonizing itchy nightmare. Good luck getting rid of them, I think I would rather have bed bugs…..

  3. what can I do to get them out out of hair, my cats furs and my house? Please help I’m a very clean person and a stray cat brought this in the mail I think years ago it started with making my cat sick and then to me losing my hair many doctor and dermatologist appointments with no answers until the other day I was saying black beetles flying from my wig

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *