Varied Carpet Beetles - What Are They?
Varied Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) are very small beetles resembling dull coloured lady birds, no larger than 4mm long, with an almost spherical shape.
Carpet Beetles are among our most common household pests, remaining active in our heated properties throughout the year, but are most often seen on window sills in late spring and summer, attracted by the abundance of UV light available. Once on the window sill they very quickly dehydrate and perish.
Mistaken for bed bugs because they frequent the dusty areas around bedroom furniture and beds, they enter buildings in the warmer months in search of food. They are also brought into our homes both on and in, furnishings and effects.
Like carpet moths, their larvae don't just feed on our skin flakes and carpets, but also on the dead birds, rodents, bird's nests and wasp nests found in the cavities and unoccupied spaces of almost all properties.
Common points of entry into our homes include: air bricks, open doors, roofs, windows and vents etc, allowing the varied carpet beetle easy access into attics and under floor spaces where the female beetles lay their eggs on the bodies of dead birds and rodents etc.
Varied Carpet beetles live for about a month, during which they mate and the females lay around a hundred eggs.
The carpet beetle larvae or woolly bears will then hatch from the eggs (growing to roughly 4 - 5mm in length) and devour the textiles or other natural products on which they were laid, over a period of almost a year before pupating and developing into adults.
Beetle larvae complete their development, emerging as adults after as long as two years, having fed on animal based products such as woolen carpets, skins, hides, and stored food products like nuts and grains.
When affected carpets, etc are removed or temperatures drop, the larvae can enter a form of hibernation, referred to as diapause in which they will remain dormant until conditions or food availability becomes favorable again. This highlights the importance of using residual insecticides for the effective control of these beetles.
What Damage Do Carpet Beetles Create?
Varied carpet beetle larvae will feed on a broad range of food sources, such as furs, carrion, bird nests, wasp nests, carpets, rugs and clothing with damage to property costing thousands. In many cases, the elimination of infestations will only be achieved with professional methods and chemicals.
Do Carpet Beetles Bite?
No. The adult carpet beetles do not have biting mouth parts!
Do Carpet Beetle Larvae Bite?
No. Carpet beetle larvae feed purely on your carpet and have no biting mouth parts that can effectively penetrate human skin. Never, say never - but we have seen no documented cases of bites from these larvae.
Do Carpet Beetles Fly?
Yes. carpet beetles do have the ability to fly and this is a key reason they can access the vulnerable roof voids of our homes as well as enter through open windows, etc.
Are Carpet Beetles Harmful?
In small numbers they are nothing to be concerned about because regular and effective housekeeping should quickly eliminate them. In large numbers the damage caused can begin quite discreetly and then become serious, so proactive control is always recommended
Sprays, steam, traps, fumigation and many other methods of control are available, but a thorough inspection by a professional in advance of any control will almost always tender the very best results going forward.