Key Features of Carpet Beetles
The variegated Carpet Beetle is 2 to 4mm long, like a small, mottled brown, grey and cream ladybird. The related Fur Beetle is black with one spot on each wing case, and there is also a rarer Black Carpet Beetle. The larvae of carpet beetle are small (about 4mm long), covered in brown hairs, and tend to roll up when disturbed.
As the grubs grow, they moult and the old cast off skins may be the first signs of an infestation. The adult Carpet Beetle feeds only on pollen and nectar of garden flowers but lays its eggs in old birds’ nests, felt, fabric or accumulated fluff in buildings. It is the larvae from these eggs that do the damage.
They feed on feathers, fur hair, or wool and have been known to wander along the pipes from birds nests in roofs into airing cupboards, which house the clothes and blankets, which constitute a food source. The life cycle takes about a year and the grubs can survive starvation in hard times for several months.
Adults are often seen in April, May and June, seeking egg laying sites whilst the grubs are most active in October before they hibernate.
The grubs of the carpet beetle are known as “woolly bears”. These have outstripped the clothes moths as the major British textile pest. Carpet Beetle damage consists of fairly well defined round holes along the seams of fabric where the grubs bite through the thread