The larvae (“woolly bears") of these small, oval beetles have outstripped the clothes moth as the major British textile pest.These fibre-attacking beetles do not carry disease and do not bite, therefore are not considered a risk to human health.
They are a nuisance pest as they can cause damage to textile products such as wool, fur, leather, silk and other natural fibres. Adults are often seen in April, May and June, seeking egg-laying sites, and the grubs are most active in October before they hibernate.
We sell a range of products that will effectively deal with any carpet beetle infestation
Signs of a carpet beetle infestation include
Sightings—you may see adult beetles or the larvae (woolly bears). Adults will sometimes be found in groups on windowsills as they are attracted to daylight
Damaged carpets and clothes—even textile products with a small % of natural fibre can get damaged. Check for damage on carpets around permanent furniture
An insecticide is needed to deal with woolly bears and affected items should be sprayed or dusted with a product labelled for carpet beetle control. Treat between floorboards, under carpets and underfelts and into crevices where fluff may collect and attract the insects.
The Variegated Carpet Beetle is 2 to 4mm long, like a small, mottled brown, grey and cream ladybird.
The related Fur Beetle is black with one spot on each wing case, and there is a rarer Black Carpet Beetle.
The larvae are small (about 4mm long), covered in brown hairs, and tend to roll up when disturbed. As they grow, they moult - and the old cast-off skins may be the first sign of infestation.
The life cycle of a carpet beetle ranges from two months to several years in length.
Larval food sources play a significant role in determining the duration of a carpet beetle's growth cycle.
The adult female can lay her eggs indoors, although she may also infest the nests of birds, mice and other insects.
After mating near sources of light, females can lay more than 100 eggs at a time, which will hatch into larvae within seven to 35 days.
Adults are capable fliers; therefore, carpet beetles can move from room to room, allowing for rapid infestation.
Carpet beetle larvae feed on feathers, fur, silk, wool and other natural materials.
Larvae can survive for several weeks without food.
The duration of the carpet beetle's pupal phase varies, and adult carpet beetles emerge in spring or summer.
Carpet beetle young develop into adults within nine months to two years, while adults survive only a few weeks.
Carpet beetles feed on a wide range of animal-based items, including silk, leather, fur, wool and animal hair.
As a result, carpet beetles may infest carpets, upholstered furniture, blankets, coats, comforters, wool, pillows and clothing.
While carpet beetles rarely attack synthetic fabrics, they may feed on these items when they are soiled by perspiration, oil and food.
Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar outdoors.
The larvae may eat seeds, animal food and other milled products in the pantry or kitchen.
Although adult carpet beetles can thrive inside or outside, females prefer to lay eggs where larval food sources are abundant.
Carpet beetles enter homes through doors, windows and other openings, although they may be brought in on cut plants and flowers, as well.
Some carpet beetles make their homes inside the nests of birds or other animals and can live in walls or chimneys, feeding on dead insects and animals.
Both adults and larvae prefer to feed in dark, undisturbed areas. As a result, identification of an infestation can prove difficult.
Vacuum regularly (especially in areas under storage heaters or at the skirting junction) and remove all fluff and debris from airing cupboards, shelves, floorboards, carpets and upholstery. Lift carpets and underlay and clean floor and carpet thoroughly.
Check the loft and eaves for old birds' nests or dead birds and remove them.
Avoid storing goods with a natural fibre content (like old carpets and clothing) in roof spaces as they are potential food sources