A common source of problems in some homes is the carpet beetle. This small insect similar in size to the ladybird thrives on the proteins in natural fibres, like wool, causing damage to both carpets and clothing.
About 3mm in length, the beetles are oval in shape with short clubbed antennae. The body is dark brown or black, mottled with patches of yellow or white scales. The adult will live out of doors feeding on plants, but the female will lay eggs indoors on the larval food material which is always of animal origin.
The larval stage is commonly known as the ‘woolly bear’, and is dark in colour with segmental tufts of long, arrow-headed bristles. It will feed on and damage woollen fabrics, carpets and clothes, even those with a small man made fibre content, they will not however attack pure synthetic fibres. Infestations have been found in bird nests which may be the source of infestations in the home.
The infected area should be treated with a residual insecticide containing permithrin or bendiocarb. These sprays are readily available from garden centres, hardware stores etc. Remember to treat again after using your vacuum cleaner.