How to Identify Carpet Bugs & Maggots

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Both of these pests cause extensive damage and reproduce quickly, so call a pest control expert for proper treatment as soon as possible. You will probably have to keep treating for a number of months; while chemical pest control substances will kill adults and larvae of both bug types they will not kill eggs. This means that eggs that hatch after the control has worn off will operate as if you never treated your home, so be consistent until all are exterminated. Maggots and flies can carry pathogens that can make you sick. Treat invasions immediately to avoid potential health risks.

Woman vacuuming floor

Home pests can cause a lot of damage to furniture, clothes and other fabrics while creating health hazards for people and pets living in the residence. Two major home invaders are the carpet bug, better known as the carpet beetle, and the maggot, which is actually a house fly larvae. Leaving these unsightly critters alone will only result in infestations, but failing to identify them correctly could lead to improper and ineffective treatment.


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Step 1

Man with feet on carpet

Look for holes in clothes and fabric-woven furniture to begin identifying these critters. Carpet beetles like to live out of sight and feed on the natural fibers in fabrics, even living off carpet fibers that are 90 percent synthetic. They tend to live inside fabric furniture or deep inside carpets, so look for damage to area rugs around the edges and to carpets along base boards. If possible, inspect torn or low-hanging fabrics such as those found on the underside of couches and mattresses. These are good indicators that you may have a carpet bug problem.


Step 2

Woman looking in closet

Inspect your clothing. Carpet bugs will eat through clothing, but they won't stay there like moths. They will move on as soon as possible, so if holes begin appearing in your clothes but you don't see moths flying in your closet, the problem is most likely carpet bugs.


Step 3

Woman feeding dog

Inspect carpets in out-of-site places like closets for small oval-shaped bugs slightly smaller than a lady bug. Their colors can vary from the common shiny black to a bright orange like a lady bug, so try to look at the size. These bugs have also been known to hide out in cereals and pet foods, so take a look through boxes in the pantry that haven't been touched in a while.


Step 4

Woman cleaning floor

Look for the carpet bug larvae. These are newly hatched carpet bugs that will be around 1/8 of an inch long and covered in coarse hairs, almost like a caterpillar. Don't ever skip looking for these, as evidence of adults also indicates probable presence of larvae.


Step 5

Woman cleaning house

Inspect the entire house and all the fabrics. Carpet bugs can fly and travel deep in the carpet, which means they can go unnoticed for quite some time. Just because you found what looks like the whole community in one spot doesn't mean you have found them all. As hatchlings mature, they can move off and start other groups elsewhere in the home.


Step 6


Look for adult flies in the house. Maggots are the larval stage of the common housefly and should appear in groups as eggs hatch. Rarely, will you see one of these insects at a time.

Step 7

Grandfather and grandson on carpet

Inspect the area in which you have found the insects. Flies lay their eggs on organic matter that can feed the larvae once they hatch, which typically means you will find these pests in your garbage, in potted plants or on dead animals such as birds or mice in the backyard. In addition, these critters enjoy moist climates and are less likely to appear in a very dry area.


Step 8

Woman looking through magnifying glass

Compare the features of these insects. The group should look relatively similar to one another. They should be white, legless, hairless, insects that look like small worms with soft bodies.



Jennifer Simon

Jennifer Simon has been a copywriter since 2007, a copyeditor since 2004 and currently teaches English Composition at Full Sail University. Her edited articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "The Huffington Post" and "The Network Journal." Simon has a Master of Arts degree from Duquesne University with a focus in modern English grammar, linguistics and editing.