Carpet beetles are a reasonably common pest problem and if left untreated can cause considerable damage to soft furnishings and clothing. They do not transmit or carry disease, but they feed on natural products such as silks and wools and often destroy carpets and curtains which are expensive to either replace or mend.
The typical adult carpet beetle are around 3mm in length and they have a speckled appearance. These scales tend to be black, white and yellow or brown in colour on the upper surface and they have give the beetle a variegated appearance. As the beetles age, these scales begin to rub off its body and the beetles take more of a motted appearance.
The larvae of the carpet beetle are well covered in developed hairs arranged in many tuffs positioned at the intersegmented folds, giving rise to the common name ‘wooly bears.’ At one end of the larvae there are three bundles of golden coloured hairs. Upon closer inspection, the hairs can be seen to be segmented and have a sharp arrow like head at the end.
The larvae grows from approximately 1mm when they first emerge from the egg to around 5mm when fully grown.
The female beetles lay between 35 and 100 eggs in batches within the larval foodstuff. The eggs are small, long and white and are often stuck to the fabric in which they have been deposited. The larvae emerge from the eggs and start feeding. The larvae is repelled by light and as a result cause deep burrowing in their food. As they grow they moult and the cast skins a re frequently found amongst the feeding larvae and this often gives the impression of a larger infestation of a larger infestation than in fact is present. Larval life is greatly dependent upon the quality of food present.
When th adults emerge they feed on pollen of the garden plants. Indoors, adults may be found on windows from March to September.
Controlling the pests is a relatively simple procedure. Firstly it is important that you find the source of the infestation. Inspect the area, paying particular attention to well hidden areas such as under TV cabinets, wardrobes etc.
Initially smoke bomb the room the room you are treating or use a Powerfogger smoke generator. This will kill al the adults in the room.
Then spray the area, focusing in the corners of the room, both on top of the carpet and underneath (where possible) If this is not possible spray more heavily on the surface of the carpet. Retreat in 14 days time.
For carpet beetles we recommend using a high residual insecticide. The best DIY insecticide to use would be the Lodi Digrain Insectaclear C insecticide based on cypermethrin.