Varied carpet beetle

Insect drawing © Bayer 1964 and reproduced
by kind permission of Bayer.


  • Adult beetles are 2-4mm in length, round in shape. Colour does vary from species to species although most have a body made up of yellow, black and white.
  • The larvae are slightly bigger at 4-6mm in length. Nicknamed 'Wooly Bears' because of the hairs protruding from their bodies, it is the larvae that often cause damage by feeding on fibres in carpets, rugs etc. Their primary food source is Keratin, contained in natural fibres such as wool.

Image courtesy of The Killgerm Group Limited.


  • Adults generally breed once a year but in warmer climates/mild years this can be twice.
  • Females lay up to 100 eggs which hatch after 2-4 weeks into the 'Wooly Bears.'
  • Full development into adults may take as much as 1 year, with the larvae hibernating during very cold winters.


  • A common pest in homes, these insects will often be found under furniture where they seek dark, undisturbed areas.
  • Larvae will often curl up into balls when disturbed in order to give the impression of being dead.
  • A common inhabitant of birds nests in attic spaces for example, the adults breed outside before seeking egg laying sites internally.


  • Short and long term monitoring/insecticide treatment can be required in order to prevent continuous infestation from this pest.
  • Single and multiple visits are required depending upon the extent of infestation.
  • Keritin natural fibres are a key food source requirement during the larval stage.


Leominster Pest Control

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