Carpet Beetles

Biology

The adult beetle is approx 4mm in length, oval in shape and dark brown or black in colour with mottled yellow or white patches. Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar and are therefore harmless. The more destructive larvae feed on fabrics, woollen carpets, clothing etc.

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Egg – larva – pupa – adult.

Eggs – up to 100 per female, laid singly on larval food of animal origin (woollen carpets, clothing, furs etc).

Larvae – up to 5mm, banded appearance covered in short bristles. Known as ‘woolly bear’ 5 moults, several months to develop.

Pupae – inside last larval skin among larval food, usually in spring. Development time approx 10 days.

Adults – 2 – 3mm, active fliers.

Widespread and common throughout the UK. The carpet beetles natural habitat is bird nests and the larvae usually feed on dead birds or feathers.

The larvae are troublesome in properties with a high percentage of woollen carpets. Usually, the damage is not discovered until an item of furniture is moved and the tell tale bare patch is exposed. The larvae normally start eating carpet fibres in the corner of a room and can usually be found under an armchair or similar.

There is usually only one generation per year, the adult females return to buildings in the autumn for egg laying. In cold conditions, the larvae will hibernate and resume feeding in the spring.

The cause of the infestation should be sourced. Check the loft for old bird nests and remove them. Make sure the nest is inactive before touching it as it is illegal to damage nests in use.

Infested areas should be vacuumed thoroughly to remove larvae and debris from cracks and crevices. An application of certain crawling insect treatments available from hardware stores and the like are useful in treating this pest. Please read and follow the instructions exactly as stated on the packaging.

If the infestation is serious and widespread, consider using the services of a qualified pest control contractor.