Carpet Beetle Control
Do Carpet Beetles Bite?
Carpet Beetles and carpet beetle larvae do not bite. The insects are entirely harmless to humans so should are not considered carriers of disease.
Carpet Beetle FAQ’s
In Bristol Carpet Beetles or Varied Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) are tiny beetles with several similar species belonging to the family Dermestidae.
Beetle larvae or “woolly bears” eat a wide variety of products, especially woollen textile products.
The beetles resemble dull-coloured, spherical ladybirds, no larger than 4mm long. Colour varies between these beetles but shades of brown and black are most dominant.
Other pests closely associated with textile destruction include clothes moths and carpet moths. Another insect pest you might want to consider is bed bugs. To the untrained eye, woolly bears are often mistaken for bedbugs and vice versa.
Where Are Carpet Beetles Found?
Beetles of this species are common household pests in the UK, remaining active in our heated homes throughout the year.
The first time we often see these insect pests is on window sills in late spring and summer.
Adult beetles are easily attracted to ultraviolet (UV) light, making windows a perfect place to find them. Once on the window sill they very quickly dehydrate and perish.
How Do Carpet Beetles Enter Homes?
Seasonal Activity: Buildings become attractive to beetles in the late spring and summer. Beetles enter homes in search of suitable food for their young.
Cross Contamination: They also arrive on and in, furnishings and effects people bring into their houses.
Diet: Like carpet moths, the beetle’s larvae don’t just feed on mammalian skin flakes and woollen floor coverings.
Alternative foods include desiccated dead birds, rodents, bird’s nests and wasp nests found in the cavities and void spaces of almost all properties.
Entry Into Homes: Common points of entry into our homes include air bricks, open doors, roofs, windows and vents, etc.
These access points allow beetles easy access into attics and under-floor spaces where they enter the occupied areas of your home.
Carpet Beetle Larvae (Woolly Bears)
The Carpet Beetles Lifecycle
Varied Carpet beetles live for about a month, during which they mate. The female beetle will lay around a hundred eggs.
Beetle larvae: hatch from the eggs (growing to roughly 4 – 5mm in length).
Large numbers of larvae devour the textiles or other natural products, over a period of almost a year before pupating and developing into adults.
Beetle larvae complete their development after as long as two years!
Emerging adults will have fed on animal-based products such as woollen carpets, skins, hides, and stored food products like nuts and grains.
When you remove affected materials or temperatures drop, the larvae can enter a form of hibernation, referred to as diapause.
During diapause, larvae remain dormant until conditions or food availability becomes favourable again.
The state of diapause highlights the importance of using residual insecticides to eliminate beetles once diapause ends.
What Damage Do Beetle Larvae Cause?
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.
Damage to property quickly runs into hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
In many cases, elimination of infestations using professional methods and chemicals is the only way to be sure to abate the problem satisfactorily.
Do The Beetles or Larvae Bite?
No. The beetles have no biting mouthparts and larvae feed purely on your carpet and also have no biting mouthparts that can effectively penetrate human skin.
Never, never say though, because we have seen no documented cases of bites from these larvae, does not mean it cannot happen!
Do The 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 openings that include windows.
What Harm Do Carpet Beetles Cause?
Reports suggest these beetles and larvae have been implicated in allergies relating to both our skin and respiratory tract.
No reports of bites have been noted, but clearly, a topical allergic reaction to either acute or chronic exposure underlines the importance of taking the control of these common pests very seriously.
This might be especially true for people with existing skin or respiratory conditions who might find themselves to be more susceptible to these insects.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles
Small numbers 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 increasingly more 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 is vital to success.