In many ways, the adult carpet beetle is a prettier species of beetle. Around 4mm in length, the adult has a mottled body of black, white and yellow colours. There are some species that also have orange as part of this colouring.
Larvae, on the other hand, are light brown to black and covered in dense hairs. They are also larger than the adult beetles.
Carpet beetles tend to be active during the day and are attracted to light at night. The larvae, on the other hand, are more elusive and difficult to spot.
Long Term Infestations
In some cases, the infestation is not new to a property because, depending on the climate, humidity and food source, the larvae can take years to develop into adult carpet beetles.
In spring, the female adult beetle will lay between 25 and 100 eggs. Within two weeks, the larvae will hatch out. Brown, and covered in coarse hair, they measure about 2.5cm in length.
As the larvae grow, they shed their brown skins – a sign of a possible infestation. Have you found any?
The larval stage is the most destructive stage. Adult beetles feed on seed, plants and flowers while larvae consume natural fabrics and fur.
In fact, if you have noticed several adult carpet beetles cluttering on window sills, rather than having just flown in through the window, they may have just emerged as adults from under your upholstered sofa and chair, from carpets etc. Have you come across this in your home?
Carpet beetles will feed on a variety of materials – carpets, feathers, leather, silk, wool, felt and fur – and because the signs of a carpet beetle problem go unnoticed for so long, by the time it is discovered, the damage can be significant.
Signs of a Carpet Beetle Infestation
- Have you spotted any beetles flying to lights or crawling on surfaces?
- Have you spotted any brown, furry larvae crawling in carpets or on surfaces?
- Have you spotted holes in clothing, carpets or stored upholstered items etc.?
- Have you come across any ‘shed skin’, brown in colour?
Carpet beetles don’t carry germs or bacteria so they don’t present a danger to your health. BUT, a carpet beetle infestation can lead to damage in all kinds of upholstered items and materials, making it an expensive infestation to deal with.