When you see patches of your carpet that look like they’ve been eaten through, your carpet has been attacked by carpet beetles.  These beetles’ diet is not just limited to carpets though.  When indoors, they also feed on upholstery, linen and clothes, anything made from animal fibres.  Carpet beetles are actually difficult to locate until the problem becomes an infestation.

Here’s what you need to know about these pests.

Life Cycle of A Carpet Beetle

Egg – Larvae – Pupae – AdultCarpet Beetle Life Cycle

The entire life cycle of a carpet beetle varies from two months to a few years.  There are several species of these beetles but in Australia, we most often encounter the variegated carpet beetle, whose life cycle is between 9-12 months.  Adult females lay at least 100 white or cream-coloured transparent eggs which hatch in 14-28 days.  These larvae resemble beetles with stiff red-brown or dark bristles.  They moult several times during their larval stage, which can last as long as 9 months in good conditions.  They can also survive for weeks without food.  On the final moult, the larvae transform into pupae and stay that way for about 14-20 days.  Once they emerge from their cocoons as adults, they fly and start to breed within 10 days.  They look like ladybirds but are coloured brown, grey or black and they move very slowly.  Adult carpet beetles live for around 20-40 days.

Why They Are Pests

Adult carpet beetles’ main sources of food are pollen and nectar from plants.  However, they become indoor pests when they settle and breed rapidly inside the home.  Larvae can cause the most damage to your carpet and furniture as materials made from animal fibres are their preferred food.  They prefer the dark and hide under floors and furniture.

Signs of an infestation

Aside from holes in your carpet, look for droppings, cocoons and cast skins from moulting, in your carpet’s fibres.  Lift the carpet and inspect the backing.  Go through the linen you’ve stored in your cupboards and likewise check for holes, insect droppings and cocoons.  You may also find adult carpet beetles on window sills as they’re drawn to UV light.

Prevention and Treatment

Once you have a carpet beetle infestation, it’s best to call professional exterminators and let them take care of your problem.  They will have the necessary products and equipment to properly purge your home of pests.  To keep carpet beetles from entering your home, remove bird nests in your roof space.  Adult carpet beetles tend to live in these.  Vacuum your carpets weekly or every few days.  Be sure to lift heavy furniture and vacuum under these, as well.

In the case of this pest, knowledge is your best weapon and prevention is better than cure.   Regularly clean your home and be on the lookout for possible insect infestations.  With the right knowledge and practices, you can protect your carpet and upholstery from carpet beetles’ damage.