These small beetles feed on a wide range of animal and plant products, being severe pest problems in stored foods as well as on wool, hides, furs, feathers, or other materials with animal hair origins. They feed commonly on dead insects, and this may be the attraction to structures, where the beetles find leftovers in wasp nests, ant colonies, termite colonies, or bee hives, as well as accumulations in window sills. They are destructive to collections of insects or animals in museums. The length of time from egg to adult varies greatly, depending on food quality, temperature, and humidity, ranging in some studies from 150 to 420 days, with some larvae molting as many as 29 times.
Control of carpet beetles begins with storing susceptible food or fabric materials in containers that exclude the adult insects. Prevention also centers around removal of abandoned insect, rodent, or bird nests that may contain leftover skins, feathers, or hairs that the carpet beetle larvae feed on. If the infestation is in progress a thorough inspection to determine the source is needed, prior to the application of any pesticides. Pheromone traps exist that may facilitate the inspection and monitoring process.