Pest Control – Carpet Beetle
What do they look like?
Carpet Beetles vary in colour from brown to black with distinct yellow or white patterned stripes on the dorsal surface (back). They are fairly small, measuring 1.5mm to 4mm in length and the body is strongly convex, similar to a ladybird.
The larvae of the carpet beetle are hairy brown with 3 bunches of golden hair on the abdomen.
Where do they live?
Adult Carpet Beetles live outdoors on pollen and nectar and can also be found on walls and windows. . If carpet beetles get into a household they can survive on natural fibres, such as carpets made from wool and mixed fibres. The eggs are laid by the female during spring and early summer on furs, woollens and any dried materials of animal origin.
The eggs hatch between 10-35 days depending on the temperature. The larvae can last up to a year depending on the quality of the food supply. The adult beetle lives from 7-41 days.
The most common species of carpet beetle is the varied carpet beetle, which is well known as a domestic pest, especially in southern parts of England.
What do they eat?
The adult beetles are attracted to light coloured flowers and feed on pollen and nectar. After mating, the females lay their eggs in bird’s nests, in roof voids and other suitable places this is usually how infestations occur. The Carpet Beetle larvae leave the bird’s nest and enter households under the eaves in the roof. From here they can enter the upper rooms of the house and spread throughout the household. The larvae feed on feathers and wool soiled with excrement and dead fledglings.
Carpet beetles do not carry disease or bite, so therefore are classed as a nuisance pest. The larval forms can cause damage to products such as wool, fur, leather and silk by leaving clean, irregular holes and in textiles these generally occur around the seams.
Infestations usually originate in bird’s nests where the larvae live on the soiled wool and feathers in the nest lining.
If materials are heavily infested with Carpet Beetles they should be removed and destroyed. Infested areas should be cleaned thoroughly using a nozzle vacuum cleaner, specifically concentrating on removing debris and larvae from cracks and crevices.
Application of residual insecticide can be made to the problem areas in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively if you want to employ a private company to treat the problem for you, you should try to ensure that they are members of the British Pest Control Association. Details of companies can be found in the Yellow Pages or Thomson Directories. These private companies will charge for carrying out any treatment.