Carpet beetles belong to family Dermestidae (Order Coleoptera) and are widely known for the damage they may cause to a variety of materials of animal origin. A number of species are active in Australia, but the more commonly encountered ones are the variegated carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle. The distribution of carpet beetles is more widespread than that of clothes moths, probably owing to their higher tolerance of lower humidity. Only the larval stage is destructive to various materials.
Adult carpet beetles are typically small (up to 5 mm long) and oval or elongate-oval in shape. As with all Dermestid adults, the femur of the hindleg slots into a ventral recess. Larvae are usually red-brown in colour and endowed with stiff bristles over the body surface.
Like clothes moths, carpet beetles have a marked preference for materials of animal origin, but they do seem to attack a wider range of materials than clothes moths. Carpet beetle larvae may feed on or in wool, fur, hair, silk, clothes, fabrics, carpets, rugs, under felts, felts, fibre-type insulating material, dried insect specimens, animal carcasses, bee and wasp nests, and stored foods, including dried meats, seeds, grains and cereals. The presence of flying or crawling adult carpet beetles may indicate the presence of an infestation. Sighting of damaged materials, sand-like larval dropping, bristly cast skins and perhaps live larvae will confirm their activity.