Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus spp

Varied-carpet-beetleThere are three common species of carpet beetle:

Anthrenus verbasci, the varied carpet beetle (see pic left)
Anthrenus museorum, the museum beetle
Anthrenus scrophutanae, the common carpet


The carpet beetle is one of the most common pest species in Britain, surpassing the clothes moth in the amount of damage it causes.

The larvae can be destructive pests of woollen materials, furs, leather and carpets. Damage can also occur to furniture where there are fabrics and materials of animal origin used in their construction. Occasionally stored food products are attacked. In common with other insects bearing hairs, skin contact with the larvae may cause irritation.

Controlling Carpet Beetles

Treatment consists of identifying the extent of infestation and then treatment of affected areas with a residual insecticide. At CSS we also make thorough checks to ensure that old bird nesting material or similar is not harbouring infestation.

If your carpets are to be treated then we will take great care to use an insecticide which will not stain or otherwise damage the carpet. So if you have or think you might have a problem with carpet beetles use the experts in beetle control – CSS Pest Control. Just call for free advice on 0800 254 5003.

We service Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and surrounding areas of the East Midlands.

Key features

The adult beetles, which are around 3 mm in length 
have a speckled appearance, which arises because
 of the many scales, which cover the elytra and the 
prothorax. These scales are black, white and yellow / brown in colour on the upper surface and they give the 
beetle a variegated appearance, hence the common name, and a white appearance on the lower surface. 
As the beetles age these scales are often partially or totally rubbed off and the beetles then take on an even
 more mottled appearance. The antennae have eleven distinct segments with a three-segmented club.

The larvae of Anthrenus have a characteristic appearance, being covered in well-developed hairs
 arranged in many tufts positioned at the intersegmental folds, giving rise to the common name for these
larvae “woolly bears”. At the posterior end of the larva there are three bundles of golden coloured hairs. The hairs, when inspected closely, can be seen to be segmented and have a sharp arrow-like head at the end.

The larvae grow from around 1mm when they first emerge from the egg to around 5mm when fully 


The female beetles lay around 35 to 100 eggs in batches within the larval foodstuff. The eggs are small
 (0.2 to 0.5 mm long), white and are frequently “stuck” by a secretion from the female accessory glands to
 the fabric of the material in which they have been deposited. The larvae emerge from the eggs and start 
feeding. They are repelled by the light and as a result burrow deeply into their food. As they
 grow they moult and the cast skins are frequently found amongst the feeding larvae and this often gives the impression that a larger population is present.

Larval life is greatly dependent upon the quality of the food it is feeding upon. If the larvae
have had periods in which they have fed well, they are capable of surviving prolonged periods without food – many months in fact.

Once fully grown the larvae pupate within the last larval skin and from the pupa emerges the 
adult. There is often a gap between the development of the adult in the larval skin and the emergence of the adult; this can often extend to a month.

When the adults emerge they feed on the pollen of garden plants such as roses, viburnum and many other bushes. Indoors, adults may be found on windows from March to September.

Larvae may live in the nests of birds, insects and mammals.

In common with other insects, development times are influenced by temperature, relative humidity, content, quantity and quality of food. The following figures are therefore only a guide.

Number of days spent as:
Egg 14-31
Larva 220 – 320
Pupa 10-30
Adult male 14-30
Adult female 15-45

Egg to adult at room temperature averages 250 – 350 days

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