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Carpet beetles feed on a protein called Keratin. This can be found in textiles including wool, silk, animal hair, leather and feathers. It is the larvae of the carpet beetle which cause the visible damage. Adult beetles only feed on nectar and pollen. If left untreated, carpet beetles can cause considerable damage.

All species of carpet beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval and pupal stages before developing into adults. Most carpet beetles develop up to four generations yearly, while varied and black carpet beetles develop only one. The life cycle of a carpet beetle ranges from two months to several years in length. Larval food sources play a significant role in determining the duration of a carpet beetle’s growth cycle.

The life cycle of the carpet beetle begins when an adult female lays her eggs. Carpet beetles can lay their eggs indoors, although they may also infest the nests of birds, mice and other insects. After mating near sources of light, females can lay more than 100 eggs at a time, which will hatch into larvae within seven to 35 days. Adults are capable fliers; therefore, carpet beetles can move from room to room, allowing for rapid infestation.

Apart from damage, other visible signs of carpet beetles also exist. Carpet beetles larvae tend to concentrate damage in one main area. Live or dead adult carpet beetles are found gathered around windows and are also an indication of an infestation. Damage is often caused to natural fabric items such as carpets, rugs and upholstery. Check for signs of damage on pillows, mattresses, cushions and furniture with fillings such as feathers or horse hair. These will be concentrated in the source area of infestation.