Identifying Carpet Beetles
There are approximately 500 to 700 species of carpet beetles (Dermestidae) worldwide and they can range in size from 1–12 mm. Adult Carpet Beetles have round oval shaped bodies covered in scales.
In the UK the typical adult carpet beetle has attractive black wing casing mottled with patches of white and pale yellow, is up to 4mm long and is found outdoors from spring to early summer feeding on pollen and nectar before moving indoors to lay its eggs.
Central heating provides even heating and fitted carpets provide refuge for undisturbed breeding.
The larvae require a protein diet and are, therefore, to be found in birds’ nests, animal furs and skins and carpets where they feed voraciously. The larvae are approximately 5mm in length and are commonly known as woolly bears due to their characteristic covering of hairs (see photograph).
An adult female will produce up to one hundred creamy white eggs and deposit them in cracks and crevices. Within four weeks the eggs hatch and the emergent larvae start a continuous feeding frenzy before pupating; the length of the larval life is normally around 70 days but this may increase or decrease depending on temperature, humidity and available food. The adult lives for up six weeks during which time it will fly off in search of pollen and nectar and for egg laying sites.
It is important to first trace the source of the infestation. Check attics and under eaves for old birds’ nests and wool based lagging or other natural fibre based materials. Examine the cracks between floorboards around the edges of rooms and under skirting boards for accumulations of debris and check sheepskin rugs and all animal fur/skin clothing.
Infested nests should be removed and burned and the areas from which they have been removed thoroughly vacuumed paying particular attention to cracks and crevices.
The above should be complemented by treating using a residual insecticide to ensure that all larvae have been killed. MothPrevention.com have a selection of suitable treatments