The most common carpet beetles to be found attacking various fabrics of animal origin (eg, wool and leather) are the black carpet beetle (Attagenus unicolor) and the variegated carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).
As well as carpets, they can be found in woollen goods, fur, silk, upholstery and stuffed animals.
Infestation usually occurs in undisturbed areas, such as below items of heavy furniture or the edges of carpets. It is possible for the carpet beetles to attack synthetic carpets, particularly if they are heavily soiled with organic food debris or urine. Many synthetic and woollen carpets are now treated with insecticides at the manufacturing stage making them resistant to carpet beetle attacks.
The adult female beetle lays her eggs in dark undisturbed areas. The eggs hatch into reddy-brown coloured larvae or grubs covered with tufted hairs. It is this larval stage that causes the damage to fabrics, rugs, underfelts and carpets. When they are fully fed, the larvae change into an immobile pupal stage and after several weeks, turn into adult beetles. The adult beetles usually fly to exterior areas where they are often attracted to white flowers. The adult beetles cause no further damage but often infest homes by their presence in birds' nests or by being brought in on cut flowers.
In view of the varied routes into the house, and the many potential and inaccessible hiding places, control of these pests is often very difficult and may need a number of treatments.
Control is usually achieved by attention to thorough vacuuming of the infested areas followed by the application of residual insecticide spray to cracks and crevices. Treatment can be carried out professionally by the Bury Metro Pest Control Unit.