Carpet Beetles

What are Carpet Beetles?

The carpet beetle is a major textile pest of the home where central heating provides a welcome uniform heating and fitted carpets provide harbourage for undisturbed breeding. The Carpet Beetle is 2 to 4mm long and is dark brown or black, mottled with patches of white or yellow scales and resembles a ladybird.
The adult beetle lives from 7-14 days.

Adult carpet beetles seek the light and live out doors on plants but can be found roaming and flying indoors. The larvae (sometimes called woolly bears) are brown and hairy with three bunches of golden hairs on their abdomen. They normally reach a length of 4-5mm. They tend to avoid the light and, when disturbed, curl up into a ball. Larvae are often found in bird’s nests in the eaves. They usually spread down in to the property via the airing cupboard.

Adults are often seen in April, May and June, seeking egg-laying sites; and the grubs are most active in October before they hibernate.

What Damage Do They Cause?

Whilst adults feed on flowers, the larvae require food of animal origin. They can cause considerable damage to carpets, clothes, wool, leather, silk etc, but will not attack man-made fibres.

Are there any Health Risks?

Carpet beetles neither carry germs nor do they spread disease hence their presence does not constitute a risk to health. However, the activities of the woolly bears will cause considerable damage.

How Can I Prevent Getting Carpet Beetles?

The best way to prevent a carpet beetle problem is to:

  • Vacuum regularly (especially in areas under storage heaters or at the skirting junction.
  • Old bird nests, animal remains and dead insects are sometimes the cause of infestation and should be removed if found.
  • Destroy any pieces of old carpet or similar material in lofts or roof voids.

How Do I know if I have a Problem?

  • Holes appearing in pullovers and similar clothing.
  • Tufts of carpeting coming away when vacuum cleaning.
  • However, if you see “woolly bears” crawling on walls, carpets and clothing then you know you have a problem.

How Do I Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles can be difficult to treat. This is partly due to the fact that the area where damage has been done may not be the extent of the infestation, and partly due to their life cycle, which offers some protection against treatment.

A Pest Controller Officer can provide advice on treatment or will visit your premises and inspect areas of concern. If you have an infestation, the area will be treated.