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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

  4. In my experience cleaning offices and homes, I have only seen several cases of carpet beetle allergies, but they were not pleasant at all for the sufferers. Having your carpets regularly deep cleaned and deep vacuumed along with extermination treatments will eventually end the misery for those afflicted with this horribly unfortunate allergy.

  5. I have carpet beetles in my house for two years. I moved and brought them with me. The house that we rented was vacant for three years, and they came from the vents and attic. The property management company and landlord refused to do anything about it. I have severe itching, bites, and rashes. My son suffers, as well with horrible itching, welts, bites and rashes My husband is not affected at all. We both have super sensitive skin, and I have keratosis and severe dry skin.. The keratin attracts them, as well as my dog’s hair. However, we have had the dog for six years and never had this problem before. Out of numerous exterminators, only 2 of them treat carpet beetles. They have not rectified the problem. I have purchased over 50 products, including prescription anti-itch medications. But, to no avail. I asked my psychiatrist for Saphris, which I found with extensive research, and it worked, but I gained 25 lbs. and it made me fall sleep after have restless leg syndrome. Washing the clothe with super hot water, hot dryer, bounce and borax and other laundering insecticides doesn’t work. Putting clothes on to go out, is hell. I can’t work, because I scratch all day and am too uncomfortable. I have tried all of the suggestions that I have found on the internet, including natural oils, repellents, sprays. They are so resistant. We get Xolair shots once a month for the allergy.That hasn’t helped. They don’t just come in the spring and summer, they are all year round. I wipe down with wet paper towels all day long. I even get them on me outside. I’ve had a biopsy for an infection from a bite. I’ve also had infections, which required topical antibiotics that didn’t aid, either. I hired a lawyer, but he said he doesn’t think that we have a case and his fee was $3,000, which I don’t have. Another resort is to get a tent to fumigate the house, which also costs 3 grand. But, there’s no guarantee that it will work. I have been to the emergency room three times, along with many trips to doctors. Noone is knowledgable of these insects. The Department of Agriculture doesn’t no what to do, nor the dept. of Health or poiison control. The only thing that helps me psychologically, is reading and about the other people that suffer from the same infliction and going to therapy weekly. I am on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. I’m at my wits end. I live in Las Vegas and never had an infestation like this in the other states that I’ve lived in. Diatromaceous Earth and IGR’s don’t work. So, please don’t suggest them. Forget about dawn or white vinegar of swiffering the walls, vacuuming daily or soaking in epsom salts, bleach, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda. You name it I’ve tried it. My acupuncturist told me to soak in apple cider vinegar everyday, for one month. I’m going to try that next. I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to get rid of these annoying pests. It’s a nightmare. I didn’t find out that they were carpet beetles until a year ago. The Dept. of Agric. sent the report to the wrong email address and my lawyer didn’t see it on the bottom of the report, nor did he send it to me. When I went to see him, seven months later he gave it to me and I saw it at the bottom of the page. The first bug that was detected was a smoke tree sharp shooter, which the exterminator had never heard of. I had second and third specimens tested, before I knew what they were, that showed lint, hair and plant fibers. BS. The University of Cornell, in NY said that I should seek psychiatric help, when I thought they were black pepper mites. Nice! Thank you for having this site, so I can vent to people that understand. I could say more, but I know I’ve said a lot.

  6. This has been the nightmare of my life for a year now. I have finally have achieved 97% recovery from this plague of Dermestid/Carpet Beetle larvae. I wasted a lot of time trying to save clothing and furniture. I spent tons of money on dry cleaning clothes that I ended up having to throw away. Once the Carpet Beetle hairs are in the clothing, unless it is thin cotton or synthetic washing will not get rid of them. Same for furniture. Antique wooden furniture is not exempt..beetles will infest wood. If you have to keep it dust it with boric acid in a tarp and seal it up for a few days. Boric Acid is the only pesticide that will work. Carpet Beetles will eat moth balls…and survive. You can make a decontamination chamber to kill larvae with a Rubbermaid container and Boric Acid for items that you must keep…however it will not get rid of larvae hairs…so if it will touch your body you may want to get rid of. I threw away many beautiful and expensive things…but I didn’t care…I was ready to burn down the house. Throw away your curtains, carpets and heavily upholstered furniture. Carpet Beetles love paper so get rid of what you don’t need and buy cheap Target jumbo size ziplock type bags and put some boric acid in and shake it up…and store. After being at the brink of exhaustion from cleaning my advice is to call a junk removal service and remove all non impervious items that you ‘can’ live without. I wish I had done this 5 months earlier…I don’t miss any of it. I replaced all mattresses and two bed frames. When I replaced the sofa I bought inexpensive vinyl on Wayfair with legs. I have very little in my house that I cannot clean underneath. New mattress covered with impervious allergy covers and pillow covers. Throw all pillows away and buy new cheap ones. Live simply until this is resolved. I washed bedding daily until my symptoms were better…now about every four days using a lint roller (pillow cases daily). We bag dirty clothes in trash bags…all clean clothes are stored n ziplock bags or hangup vinyl bags. Clean laundry goes into clean white trash bag until processed. Storing clothing and bedding in rubbermaid containers works for a short time but you may have to regularly rewash. We bleach the floors weekly. I put boric acid on Swiffer pads and dusted walls and ceilings. I wear a disposable painters suit with hood, dust mask and goggles for major jobs. Everything in your house must be processed if you want to get rid of this nightmare…if you have a bad infestation. Please note the pest control company that dumped me thought my house was clean at the onset of this. On my body: I shower twice a day with Neutrogena Salic Acid Grapefruit body wash and T-sal shampoo…then I use PanOxl Benzoil Peroxide face wash on my hair and body and use Amlactin body lotion. For a while I also used T-gel shampoo. I use a leave in conditioner on the ends of my hair…if you are having scalp papule problems don’t put conditioner on your scalp. I dry off with Bounty paper towels…we stopped using towels. Bag everything! These beetles love anything with dander or skin cells on it. If this all sounds terrible I will say that I am still standing and I am finally getting to rest…and things are starting to get back to normal. If you still have stinging and biting after all this you should buy Richard Kuhns book “Moregellans: Get Your Life Back” and follow the King Diet in the book because you probably also have a fungal infection. I am not a doctor or a medical professional but I survived! I have wasted so much money trying to get rid of this hell. I hope I save you time, money and peace of mind. Stay strong!

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