Bug infestation in homes skyrockets with the arrival of spring and lasts till late summer and fall.
And one of those bugs is a tiny brown and white striped bug. You come across them either as a type of beetle or a worm.
This guide will reveal what these small striped bugs are, how they enter homes, the risks they bring, and how to eliminate them.
Let’s dive in.
Carpet Beetles – The Tiny Brown And White Striped Bug In The House
The tiny brown and white striped bugs you come across in your home are carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles are tiny oval-shaped beetles with brown and white patches on their bodies.
Because of their spots and patches, these specific types of carpet beetles are known as varied carpet beetles.
They’re 1/10 inches long with a haphazard zig-zag pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow stripes on their wings and wing pads.
They also have a pair of antennae on their head.
However, these stripes and patches wear off with age, and the varied carpet beetles become dark brown or black.
Carpet beetles are pollinators, and hence they’re beneficial garden bugs. Outdoors, the carpet beetles feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers.
But they enter homes for one reason. And that’s to lay eggs.
So, what’s the carpet beetle season? And why do they prefer human homes to lay their eggs?
Let’s solve the mystery.
Carpet Beetle Season
Carpet beetles are active starting from the late spring. And their activities are at their peak in the summer months till late fall.
During this period, carpet beetles mate and lay eggs.
Carpet beetles are common across the US, especially on the west coast and the south.
However, these beetles aren’t active in the frigid zones.
Carpet beetles hibernate during winters. Many of them die, especially when they can’t find a place to hibernate.
The most peculiar behavior of carpet beetles is that they sneak inside homes to lay eggs.
And that’s despite being outdoor bugs.
Adult carpet beetles can sneak inside your home in significant numbers and can lay hundreds of eggs.
And why do they invade homes?
There’s a compelling reason for them. Let’s find it out.
Carpet Beetle Invading Homes
The adult beetles invade homes to lay eggs.
And they’ll lay their eggs on products made of animal matter or in the stored food in your kitchen pantry.
The carpet beetle larvae feed on the protein, known as keratin, present in the animal products.
These tiny brown and white striped bugs will look for natural fibers like wool, fur, feather, silk, and leather to lay their eggs.
So, woolen carpets and rugs, silk fabric, taxidermies, and even leather shoes and couches are their targets to lay eggs.
The adult carpet beetles can even sneak into your bedroom, closets, and wardrobes looking for fabric made of animal matter.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on these fabrics and materials.
That results in damages apparent in chunks of chewed portions on your expensive clothing and furnishings.
The larvae don’t damage fabrics made of cotton, polyester, or nylon unless they’re blended with natural fabrics like wool and silk.
Hordes of carpet beetles can sneak inside your home to lay their eggs during the carpet beetle season.
That leads to a severe carpet beetle infestation in your home when the larvae hatch out of their eggs.
However, there’s an interesting point.
After laying their eggs, the adult carpet beetles don’t remain in your home. They fly out.
That makes the adult carpet beetles harmless. They don’t cause any damage inside your home.
However, the main culprit here is the carpet beetle larvae that damage your clothing and furnishing.
So, what do the carpet beetle larvae look like?
The Carpet Beetle Larvae
The carpet beetle larvae look like a tiny worms with hairy bristles on their bodies.
The carpet beetle larva is tiny. It grows only up to 5 mm (0.2 inches) in length.
Like the adult varied carpet beetles, the carpet beetle larvae also have patches on their bodies.
But those stripes are brown and yellowish.
These larvae remain in the larval state for 220 to 600 days before they form a cocoon to lock themselves up.
This cocoon stage is the pupae stage in a carpet beetle’s life cycle.
An adult carpet beetle emerges from the cocoon, ready to mate, within 13 days of wrapping itself.
During the larval stage, the carpet beetle larvae wreak havoc in your home.
They’ll damage all the clothing, fabric, and furnishing made of animal matter.
The larvae are tiny and can be hard to detect. However, if there are too many of them, you can find them in the most unlikely places.
And those places are your bed, laundry basket, and even on your walls.
The carpet beetle larvae also love dirty fabric with food stains on them.
Food crumbs and food stains on the bed and couches also draw the carpet larvae to these places.
That’s why carpet beetle larvae are one of the bed worms you find in your bed.
They’ll chew on the stained portion of your bedsheet, leaving behind irreparable holes.
Carpet beetle larvae are also one of the most damaging closet bugs.
Your closet is one of the favorite places for carpet beetles larvae to live and hide.
It’s because of the presence of expensive clothes made of wool, fur, silk, feather, and leather.
Carpet beetle larvae’s sightings on the wall and ceiling confuse many people.
But it’s not a strange occurrence. Why?
The adult carpet beetles can also lay eggs inside the wall cracks and crevices, especially when those cracks have dead bugs inside them.
The larvae may steer away from their food source in these cracks, and hence you see them crawling on the walls and ceiling.
Outdoors, the adult carpet beetles will lay their eggs on dead insects, rodents, and inside bird nests. The larvae also feed on the carcasses.
Similarly, the cracks on the baseboards, walls, and ceiling can be the source of carpet beetles’ larvae if there are dead bugs in those crevices.
The adult carpet beetles will not shy away from laying eggs in the stored food in your kitchen pantry.
They’ll sneak inside the loosely bolted or cracked food jars and containers storing food.
And they’ll lay their eggs inside them.
The carpet beetle larvae are also one of the most nuisance pantry pests your kitchen can ever have.
They’ll feed on the stored food and defecate on the food.
The larvae make the food stale and damage the stored food. You’ll notice chunks of whitish carpet beetle larvae feces in the stored food.
How To Get Rid Of These Tiny Brown And White Striped Bugs
The best way to get rid of a carpet beetle infestation in your home is to stop the adult carpet beetles from entering your home.
You can do it by installing window screens with fine mesh on the windows and vents of your bathroom, living room, and kitchen.
Using a chimney cap to close the chimney in the summer till late fall also prevents adult carpet beetles from flying inside your home.
Light attracts carpet beetles too.
The light from your home, patio deck, and doorways can draw these bugs inside your home.
These bugs gather on the windows trying to make their way inside the house.
To deal with them, install bug zappers in your outdoor areas.
Also, use bug-repelling light bulbs on your patio, doorways, and near windows. The light from these light bulbs doesn’t attract the flying bugs.
Spray peppermint spray in the entry points (windows, doorways, cracks on the walls, and vents) of these carpet beetles.
The peppermint smell repels many bugs and rodents from sneaking inside your home.
How To Get Rid Of The Carpet Beetle Larvae?
Insecticides like raid can kill carpet beetles and their larvae. However, there are non-toxic ways.
The best ways to get rid of the carpet beetle larvae in your home is by using heat, thorough cleaning, and washing fabrics in hot water.
Use a steam cleaner to clean your furnishings like the bed mattress, couch, carpets, and rugs.
On top of cleaning, the heat from the steam cleaner will kill any carpet beetle larvae. It will also destroy any eggs the adult carpet beetle has laid.
Wash bedsheets and fabric stained with food stains in hot water to remove any carpet beetle larvae in bed and bug eggs.
And avoid eating on the bed. That leads to stains and spillovers of food crumbs which attract bugs like ants, roaches, and spiders.
Thoroughly vacuum clean your home, especially your wardrobe, bedroom, closet, upholstered furniture, and kitchen.
Ensure that your kitchen, especially your kitchen pantry, is clean.
If there are pets in your home, keep the pet food in sturdy sealed containers and ensure no pet hair lying around on the floor.
Carpet beetle larvae also feed on pet hair and broken nails.
Do not leave behind any food or grain spillovers on the kitchen pantry shelves and kitchen cabinets.
These spilled foods draw many bugs like ants and roaches.
Also, use sturdy food jars and containers to keep store your food.
Many pantry pests like rice weevils and flour bugs can chew through weak containers to access the stored food.
To ensure that there is no carpet beetle larva stuck on the clothes in your fabric, wash them in hot water.
And dry clean your expensive clothing made of leather, silk, fur, and wool to eliminate any chances of carpet beetle larvae hiding in them.
To prevent cloth bugs like clothes moths and carpet beetle larvae from sneaking inside your closet, dresser drawers, or wardrobe, keep cedarwood blocks in these places.
Cedarwood blocks repel cloth bugs and protect your clothes from damaging fabric pests.
You can also use peppermint spray in your bedroom, closet, and kitchen to repel bugs and worms as a second layer of protection.
The carpet beetle larvae don’t bite. However, the hairy bristles on their bodies can cause skin rashes if they crawl on you.
These hairy bristles can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive people like children, the elderly, and asthma patients.
The tiny white and brown striped bugs are common household bugs in the house. They’re the varied carpet beetles.
They enter your home to lay eggs. The larvae that hatch out of these eggs are damaging pests.
Whereas the adult carpet beetles don’t cause any damage inside your home. They’re nuisance pests that fly out from your home after laying the eggs.
This guide revealed why and how these tiny beetles enter your home.
There are also hacks and tips to prevent carpet beetles from entering your home.
Plus, there are natural methods described in this post to get rid of the carpet beetles and their larvae.
You can get rid of carpet beetles and their larvae without hiring professional pest control or pesticide or insecticide sprays.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.