Carpet beetles are some of the most common tiny bugs you find in the house. These bugs are not complicated to eliminate but they might be confused with other species which might require more attention.
Carpet beetles are small, colorful, and fuzzy. This means there aren’t many species exactly like them.
However, there are a few bugs easily confused with carpet beetles.
What do carpet beetles look like?
Carpet beetles are some of the smallest yet visible bugs in the house. Here’s how you can identify them.
Carpet beetles have a round dome-shaped appearance. These bugs have oval-shaped bodies and short antennae.
Carpet beetles grow to a size between 2 and 5mm. This is the equivalent of a maximum size of 0.1 inches, making them some of the smallest bugs indoors.
Carpet beetles have white, brown/orange, and black coloring. Contrasting colors make these bugs stand out.
Carpet beetles eat all types of animal-based materials inside the house. This includes wool, furs, leather, and silk. These are materials used in carpets, clothing, and upholstery.
Outdoors, and carpet beetles eat pollen and nectar.
Carpet beetles live on flowers rich in pollen and nectar. They can get indoors if you have flowers around the house. They can also get indoors by flying, typically attracted to light.
8. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius)
Bed bugs and carpet beetles often share the same habitat indoors. Similarly, in size and somewhat similar in shape, these bugs are often confused with carpet beetles.
Bed bugs also have an oval shape, just like carpet beetles. They have varying sizes between 1 and 7mm, which means they can get slightly larger.
These bugs have a brown color but their body is flattened.
Bed bugs are also limited to crawling without a flying capacity.
The most considerable difference between the species comes in the diet. If carpet beetles prefer all types of animal-based products, bed bugs are known to bite.
They bite both humans and pets around the house. They can bite any warm-blooded animal.
Only blood is seen as food for these tiny brown bugs.
Getting rid of bed bugs is a bit more difficult.
It turns out insecticides don’t kill bed bugs or they don’t kill all bed bugs. Vacuuming, sweeping, and throwing infested items out are the main eradication methods.
7. Drugstore beetles (Stegobium paniceum)
Size similarities are one of the main reasons to take drugstore beetles as carpet beetles.
Drugstore beetles grow to a size between 2 and 3mm being just slightly smaller than the average carpet beetle.
This species has dark brown coloring across the head and the body.
Bugs of this genus might make it anywhere around the house but they tend to congregate around food sources.
Bugs of this genus are known to feed on pharma products that inspires their name. The bugs also eat leather, paper, and anything else they find suitable having a much more diverse diet than carpet beetles.
Some people know the species as the Biscuit beetle. It will make its way onto dry biscuits, cookies, and other dry sweets which it eats away.
You can find drugstore beetles in the pantry, most of the time.
6. Brown-banded cockroach nymphs (Supella longipalpa)
Brown-banded cockroaches are a species of pests that has brown coloring with yellow or off-white bands.
The nymphs also have a yellow-orange section on the lower body which is similar in coloring to the yellow or orange coloring sometimes seen on carpet beetles.
Unlike adult brown-banded cockroaches, the nymphs are also a lot smaller. They can measure at least 5mm when they start to be seen in these color combinations.
Apart from being larger than carpet beetles, these nymphs can also be differentiated by their very long antennae. As adults, cockroach nymphs are among the bugs with long antennae that stand out immediately.
The oval shape of the species is only partly similar to the oval shape of carpet beetles. These nymphs have wider abdomens and female nymphs have even wider abdomens than male Brown-banded cockroach nymphs.
5. Fruitworm Beetle (Byturus tomentosus)
Fruitworm Beetles are also covered in short hairs that give them a furry bug-like appearance.
This species is slightly larger than carpet beetles and it has one uniform color.
Common Northern Europe and North America, Fruitworm Beetles are red-brown, dark brown, or black. They only come in one color that covers the prothorax and the wings.
As its name implies, this is a bug that feeds on fruits.
It can be found feeding on raspberry and other forest fruits. Its larvae grow inside these small fruits.
Frutworm Beetle’s pale larvae have no real predators as a result.
This species might make it indoors attracted to light. It will not survive more than a few days inside without fruit.
Adult Fruitworm Beetles are less dependent on fruit as they eat plant and flower leaves.
4. Domino Cockroach (Therea petiveriana)
Part of the Blattodea family, Domino Cockroaches are also known as the Seven-spotted cockroach.
This type of rare cockroach is native to Sri Lanka and India.
It has a black-dominant color and 7 white spots across its elytra while its head is all-black.
This species can make it indoors but it mostly lives in woodlands under leaf litter.
This species is only active early in the morning.
You can further identify the species by its oval-shaped body which is slightly flattened.
These bugs tend to hide under carpets when indoors.
3. Pill bugs (Armadillidium granulatum)
Pill bugs or roly polies are known as bugs that curl up.
Larger than carpet beetles, these bugs can make it indoors on rainy days as they love humidity.
Pill bugs have a dark brown color which may appear black in some cases.
These bugs don’t have any bright colors and they’re also known for their elongated body shape.
Pill bugs differ in the diet as well. While partly similar to carpet beetles, they feed on decaying organic matter.
On occasion, pill bugs will also consider living plants, stems, leaves, flowers, and even vegetables.
They’re seen as a major pest for corn, squash, beans, and other common legumes.
These bugs feed on wet legumes as they come out when it rains.
Pill bugs are also seen on carcasses, something that isn’t specific to carpet beetles which feed on pollen and nectar.
2. Bumble Flower Scarab Beetle (Euphoria inda)
This bug has a very similar coloring to carpet beetles. It has gray, light brown, and black coloring.
It also has a hairy body which makes these species even more similar.
These bugs can also have dark brown coloring with black spots.
Bumble Flower Scarab Beetles feed on ripe and overripe legumes and fruits.
They tend to infest tomato crops where they feed on decaying tomatoes.
Pesticides have limited control results against Bumble Flower Scarab Beetles. These bugs are most likely controlled by immediately picking ripe vegetables and fruits from the garden.
On crops, legumes can even be picked before fully ripe just to avoid large-scale Bumble Flower Scarab Beetle infestations.
1. Nut Weevil (Curculio nucum)
Red, brown, and yellow nuances characterize the multicolored body of nut weevils.
These bugs are larger than carpet beetles as they can reach a maximum size of up to 8mm.
However, they have a multicolored body which can sometimes confuse the species.
One of the easiest methods to tell the species apart is by the elongated snout of the Nut Weevil which helps with feeding.
As its name implies, this specie uses nuts as host plants.
Its larvae grow inside nuts. A small hole in the nuts is the first sign of an infestation.
Larvae grow inside nuts consuming the fruit.
Pesticides are successfully used against nut weevils which may only be found indoors by accident.
Nematodes are also used with some degrees of success against this species.