Carpet Beetle Infestation
Carpet beetles or anthrenus verbasci is a major British textile pest which can damage furniture, curtains and carpets and be present in food products. In young adulthood they cause most problems as they will feed continuously on fibres found in curtains, carpets and other household fabrics. Once grown to full maturity they generally make their way outside again.
How to tell if you have carpet beetles
The carpet beetle larvae, often known as woolly bears because of their distinctively hairy appearance, are stripy and approximately 9mm in length. You may notice them as they feed on feathers, fur, hair or wool, and are often found in airing cupboards where clothes and blankets are stored. They tend to roll up when disturbed. You may notice the cast-off skins as the grubs moult, or well-defined round holes along the seams of fabric.
Lifecycle of the carpet beetle
The lifecycle takes about a year with the grubs being most active in October before they hibernate. Adult carpet beetles are oval and vary from about 2mm to 4mm long. They feed on pollen and nectar from flowers, and lay their eggs in old birds’ nests, felt, fabric or accumulated fluff in buildings. Once hatched, the larvae from the eggs may wander into a house if the birds nest is in the rafters or roof.
How to get rid of carpet beetles
To get rid of carpet beetles, first of all a thorough investigation is required. The larvae tend to wander very widely. The source of the infestation should be removed and disposed of. It’s important to remove pet hair and fur regularly by vacuuming, to reduce food sources for the larvae. We offer a cost-effective insecticidal carpet beetle treatment which is only effective in conjunction with proper cleaning.
Prevention of future carpet beetle infestations
To prevent carpet beetles returning, make sure that any clothes are thoroughly cleaned before they are placed in storage. This should kill any eggs or larvae that may be resident on the fabrics. Ensure regular cleaning of fabric pet bedding, as this is a very common feeding ground for carpet beetles. They also feed on other fabrics, especially lint, so regular hoovering of carpets is essential.
Life cycle of the carpet beetle
The female lays her eggs indoors if possible, or in nests of mice or birds. She will lay up to one hundred eggs. The larvae will hatch in anything between one and four weeks. In this stage the larvae may travel around the house into different rooms, which is when the infestation can occur and carpet beetle treatment may be required. The larvae will feed on natural fibres where they can find them, but they can survive for weeks if they don’t find any food sources. They then pass through the pupal stage and into young adults, when they will eat voraciously. Once they are fully grown, adult carpet beetles will have a lifespan of up to six weeks.