Carpet beetles are widely distributed and cause damage by feeding on animal based materials in homes and other buildings. There are four that are the most prevalent. The variegated carpet beetle, the furniture carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle are all introduced species. Only the Australian carpet beetle is a native.
Adult carpet beetles are small with their head and legs hidden beneath their compact, oval bodies. Variegated and furniture carpet beetles are mottled yellow, white and black and are 2-3 mm long. The Australian carpet beetle is the same size but dark with light markings. The black carpet beetle is a more elongated shape, black obviously with brown legs, and larger than the others at 3-5 mm. The larvae of the carpet beetle are 4-7mm long depending on the species, are brown in colour, move slowly and are covered in bristles.
Adult females lay up to 100 white eggs near food sources which hatch 8 to 15 days later. The larvae feed off these food sources for up to six months. As they grow the moult, leaving cast brown skins before they emerge as adult beetles. The complete life cycle of the carpet beetle is nine to twelve months.
The adult beetles live outside in urban areas, forests and woodlands and fly readily on warm days. They are attracted to light and so they invade homes, lay their eggs and it is these larvae that feed on the animal products in the carpets and furnishings.
Because their natural habitat is outdoors, adult beetles feed on nectar and pollen. This is why they are often seen on the inside of windows as they try to get outside to feed. The larvae feed on dry materials on animal origin such as carpets, rugs, under felt, wall hangings, wool insulation and clothing.
Detrimental Effects to Humans and Property
The variegated and black carpet beetles are the most widespread and the most damaging, although the others can be just as destructive. Carpet beetle larvae feed deep in the carpet pile in the undisturbed areas of a room such as under furniture and in dark corners. Unless carpets are regularly vacuumed and cleaned, they can remain undisturbed for years. Significant damage occurs if a population is able to breed and multiply over two or more generations.
Apart from regular cleaning and vacuuming as a constant control measure, eradication of a large infestation requires the use of chemical treatments which are best handled by experts.
The team at Bob Gunn Termite Solutions are trained, experienced and licenced to advise on the best method for eradicating carpet beetles, and will offer a solution that suits each individual circumstance.