Carpet beetles, like many household pests, are prolific egg-layers and can cause significant damage to your carpets, rugs and clothes. It's the larvae that actually cause the most damage, and they are attracted to natural fibres, such as leather, wool, feathers, silk and even human or pet hair. Synthetic materials that are infused with human or animal perspiration or oil are also at risk of damage from carpet beetle larvae. Adult carpet beetles can enter your home through small gaps, such as around the edges of your windows, and they also seem to enjoy eating pollen, so they can be brought into homes in cut-flower bouquets. 

Identifying Carpet Beetles

Adult carpet beetles are only a few mm long and have an oval-shaped body. They range from black to brown in colour, often with a variegated pattern. The larvae look like small grubs and have bristles covering their body. They can be a few millimetres longer than an adult beetle and are brown in colour. Carpet beetle eggs are white and under a millimetre in size, so they are very difficult to see unless you come across a cluster of them.

Signs Of An Infestation

Carpet beetles will gradually work on an area of carpeting or other soft furnishings, so you may either notice the thinning of material or complete bald patches and holes depending on the severity of the infestation before you pick up on it. Moulting larvae leave behind bristle skins that you spot around damaged areas. You may also spot adult carpet beetles around windowsills, as they are attracted to light and will be seeking out pollen.

Treating A Carpet Beetle Infestation

Due to their prolific egg-laying capabilities, carpet beetles can do a significant amount of damage to your home in a relatively short space of time. An infestation needs to be brought under control quickly, and you must be sure the eggs and larvae are completely eradicated or the infestation will continue. It's best to have a pest control company carry out treatment to ensure nothing is missed. They will carry out an assessment, confirm it is indeed carpet beetles in your home and apply a suitable insecticide designed to kill them at each stage of the lifecycle. Once your home has been treated you can steam clean your carpets and other soft furnishings and the pest control company will return in a couple of weeks to ensure your home is pest free.

If you've noticed damage to any of your soft furnishings or clothing, contact your local pest control company for advice.