A 2.8 to 5 mm long beetle, black to reddish brown and covered with short, sparse pubescence. The first segment of the tarsi of the hind legs is much shorter than the second segment. The last antennal segment of the male is twice as long as that of the female.
The larvae of the black carpet beetle, which may reach 12.7 mm in length, are very different from other carpet beetles’ larvae. They are elongate, carrot-shaped, golden to chocolate brown, and have a tuft of very long, curled, golden-brown hair at the tail end of their body.
Damage to materials can be blamed on the larval stage of this fabric pest. Known as general feeders carpet beetles feed on animal and plant substances such as wool, fur, feathers, hair, hides, horns, silk, velvet, felts and bone as well as seeds, grain, cereals, cake mixes, red pepper, rye meal and flour. Other substances include powdered milk, dog and cat food, leather, book bindings, dead insects, bird and rodent nests, and even cotton, linen, rayon, and jute, especially when stained with spilled food and animal excreta.
The black carpet beetle is found throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.