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Advice on How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Carpet BeetlesFact Sheet: Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)

Description: Adult beetles are 2-4mm long and variable black or brown with white or yellow markings. Larval forms, known as the ‘woolly bear’, can reach 4-5mm in length before pupation and can cause considerable damage to products such as wool, fur, leather, silk and animal skins, and occasionally to cereal based food products. The varied carpet beetle is a pest primarily in the home, food industry and in museums (where it poses a considerable risk to collections).

Biology: Mating occurs immediately after emergence from the pupal stage. The female produces up to 100 eggs over a period of two weeks. Larval development lasts for 10-30 days. Adult carpet beetles usually live outdoors on pollen and nectar, and thrive in situations where they remain undisturbed, such as under carpets, bird and rodent nests and animal remains.   

Control: Before treatment can begin, the first step is to trace the source of infestation such as old birds’ nests in lofts or rodents’ nests under floorboards. Where appropriate, remove old nests or other sources of infestation and treat locally with an insecticidal powder, or a chemical-free desiccant dust (e.g. diatomaceous earth or 0a2ki).  

Lift and treat the underside of carpets where possible, around skirting boards, window frames, pipes from roof spaces, disused fireplaces and other areas likely to be contacted by invading adult insects, with a residual insecticide such as Protector C or Protector crawling insect spray, or with a non-toxic concentrate such as 0a2ki. The same insecticide may also be used to treat wider carpeted areas, especially where it is not possible to treat underneath with dust.  

Re-treat after 15-20 days in the case of established infestation. One-off incidental appearances between full treatments can be dealt with using Protector C, 0a2ki or other residual insecticide spray. 

Images from Wikimedia Commons, from top: Olaf Leilinger, André Karwath