There are hundreds of species of carpet beetles worldwide and adult carpet beetles have round oval shaped bodies covered in scales. In the UK the most commonly found adult carpet beetle has attractive black wing casing mottled with patches of white and pale yellow. There is also a less-common all black carpet beetle. The carpet beetle is up to 4mm long and is found outdoors from spring to early summer feeding on pollen and nectar before moving indoors to lay its eggs.
Centrally heated homes provide all year round warmth for larvae to feed and develop. Modern fitted carpets provide feeding grounds for the larvae who prefer darker, undisturbed areas such as along skirting boards and under furniture.
The larvae require a protein diet and are, therefore, to be found in birds’ nests, animal furs and skins and carpets where they feed voraciously. Carpet beetle larvae are approximately 5mm long and are colloquially known as “woolly bears” due to their noticeable covering of hairs (see photograph).
An adult female carpet beetle will produce up to a hundred creamy white eggs and deposit them in safe areas such as cracks and crevices. Within a month the eggs hatch and the larvae emerge to commence a feeding frenzy before pupating; the length of the larval life is normally around 2 months but this may increase or decrease depending on temperature, humidity and available food. The adult lives for up six weeks during which time it will fly off in search of pollen and nectar and for egg laying sites.
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