The black carpet beetle is a small insect ranging in colour from black to reddish brown and is a common household pest throughout North America. It is frequently found in carpets as well as pantries and kitchen cupboards.
Black carpet beetles do not bite or sting, so they present no direct danger to your health. But they can cause significant damage to fabrics and carpeting as they feed on natural fibres.
Some people might suffer allergies from cast skins or dust when living with a carpet beetle infestation; this is the greatest health risk presented by carpet beetles.
Many households contain just a few carpet beetles that do not cause major problems. Frequent sightings of beetle larvae--which are long and thin with a "ponytail" of hair extending from their back end--are a surer sign of infestation.
Clean infested areas thoroughly and dispose of any fabrics or other objects that cannot be salvaged. Use pesticides if necessary. Silica aerogel and diatomaceous earth can be very effective with minimal side effects; they will dry out and kill insects without causing significant environmental hazards.
Use of insecticides can be far more dangerous than the carpet beetles themselves. Be sure to read all labels carefully and follow directions.