The Variegated Carpet Beetle is 1.5-4 mm in length. Its body is oval and strong. The antennae are very short and club like. The Variegated Carpet Beetle thorax and wing cases are covered in colour (white, yellow, brown and black).
The adult female lays about 100 eggs singly on larval food (woolen carpets, clothing, furs and museum pieces). The eggs hatch in about 10 days to 1 month. The larvae are about 5 mm in length and have a banded appearance covered in short bristles. They are known as “woolly bears.” The woolly bears grow several times by molting before pupating inside the last larval skin. Even the newly formed adult remains inside this skin with larval food for a few days, before fully emerging and flying away towards pollen/nectar source.
There is usually only one generation per year, the adult females returning to buildings in the autumn for egg laying. In cold conditions the larvae will hibernate and return feeding in the spring.
The adult beetle flies freely feeding upon nectar/pollen during the summer months. The larvae need a high animal protein (keratin) this can be found in things like birds nests, woolen carpets and garments made of natural fibers.
When are Carpet Beetle are a problem?
Variegated Carpet Beetle is commonly found throughout Europe. The larvae occur naturally in dry birds nest as they contain a large source of keratin. They appear in domestic situations infesting carpets, clothes, animal furs and skins. This species and its relatives are of particular significance in domestic properties where they will damage the fibers of carpets, bedding and clothing, furs and leather goods. In other situations they will frequently eat and damage stuffed animals and insect specimens in collections.