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Often an infestation of Carpet Beetles Anthrenus Verbasci is first noticed by the presence of these active little beetles crawling around the shadier areas of a carpeted room, as damage most often occurs underneath furniture infestations can build upon unnoticed and seriously damage your carpets.
They are quite small and active as adults, if you find the odd carpet beetle you may not have an infestation, they are capable fliers and can enter homes by open windows in summer. The adults themselves do not damage carpets; it is there larvae known as ‘Wolly bears’ (kind of a small ugly hairy caterpillar) which cause the damage.
Initial infestations are often linked to bird nests in lofts and even dead rodent bodies in cavities and under floors.
As their name implies these textile pests are most often the culprits for damaged carpets. As the adult varied carpet beetles seek out places to lay their eggs away from direct sunlight they most commonly occur under rarely moved furniture. The Wolly Bears (varied carpet beetle larvae) eat proteins which are in the material of the carpet and quite literally eat holes into carpet.
Unfortunately it is not just carpets these beetle larvae eat, they will also lay their eggs on any suitable material – which could be clothing, particularly leather goods, furniture and all sort furnishings.
Treatment is typically a thorough residual insecticide spray of all carpeted areas of the property paying particular attention to affected areas as well as all the floor/wall junctions.
The larvae stage can last an entire year so a comprehensive treatment is necessary to ensure complete eradication. Fortunately the adults are quite active and will come into contact with the residual insecticide.
A follow up treatment is advisable as it is difficult for insecticides to penetrate the egg cases.
The lifecycle of these textile pests begins with an egg. Eggs are always found near a suitable food source for the larvae when they emerge, this can be carpets, clothing and furniture but also birds nests and decaying rodent bodies in lofts.
From egg to adulthood may take years during which the larvae (Wolly Bears) may moult over a dozen times increasing in size each time. Eventually the last moult of the Wolly Bear will occur and its next life stage will be pupation. The time required to pupate varies according to environmental factors and may last over winter ready to hatch out into adult form in the spring.
The adults are accomplished aviators flying long distances to find suitable food (adult beetles require nectar and sugars to power themselves) and breeding sites. They will often appear through an open window.