Beetle Fact Sheet

Infestation Identification:

There are approximately 4,000 species of beetles in the UK, the most common species are; Biscuit, Carpet, Death Watch, Furniture and Larder Beetles.

Biscuit Beetles are oval shaped with a humped thorax, between 2mm and 3mm in length and they are a reddish-brown colour covered in yellowish hairs. Their wing covers have distinctive grooves. Larvae are covered in yellowish hairs and are a creamy white colour with a brown head and legs.

Carpet Beetles are approximately 2mm to 4mm and oval shaped, their patterns vary but they are usually mottled brown, cream, yellow and grey in colour. The larvae are 4mm to 5mm long, a creamy white colour and covered in brown hairs.

Death Watch Beetles are 5mm to 7mm in length and are dark reddish brown in colour with creamy flecks.

Larder Beetles larvae are 10mm to 12mm long, their colour is initially white and turn brown soon after, they are also covered in bristly hair. Adults are 7mm to 10mm in length, they are oval shaped with very dark brown bodies with a distinctive creamy coloured band across the wing cases.

 

Common Names:

Stegobium Paniceum (Biscuit Beetles)

Anthrenus verbasci (Carpet Beetles)

Xestobium Rufovillosum (Death Watch Beetles)

Dermestes lardarius (Larder Beetles)

 

Diet:

Biscuit Beetles feed on flour, biscuits, cake mixes, cereals, nuts, spices, dog food and many more. They have often been known to feed on books, fur and leather also.

Adult Carpet Beetles feed on pollen and nectar, the larvae feed on feathers, fur, hair, wood and fabrics.

Death Watch and Woodworm Beetle Larvae feed on wood timber

Larder Beetles and the larvae feed on scraps of food, such as; meats, dairy products, dried pet food and dead insects and rodents, they will also feed on insultation, fur, feather and books.  

 

Habitat:

Biscuit Beetles will be found wherever there is a food source, they after also often found in old bird nests in the loft or eaves of your property.

Carpet Beetles will be found around the house on carpets, sofas, bedding and in airing cupboards where there is a food source or where adults can lay their eggs.

Death Watch and Woodworm Beetles will be found in lofts, cupboards under the stairs, wooden flooring and wooden furniture.

Larder Beetle larvae will be found along skirting boards, lofts, bathrooms, in cupboards and behind cookers and fridges and in birds nests. Adults will usually be seen in summer months flying around the home and outside.

 

Prevention:

Most species in the preventable by hoovering, dusting and cleaning on a regular basis. It is recommended that food stuffs are placed into sealed containers and that any food waste is disposed of daily in an external bin and any crumbs cleaned up. Also removing any old bird nests from gutting, eaves and lofts will prevent beetles from laying their eggs in them.

 

Life Cycle:

Female Biscuit Beetles lay between 20 and 110 eggs in cracks and crevices or food stuffs, once hatched the larvae emerge, this stage lasts for up to 5 months then they form a cocoon to pupate. The pupate stage lasts 12 to 18 days, after this, they are adults, their life expectancy is up to 9 weeks.

Carpet Beetles lay approximately 40 eggs into fabrics, fluff, carpets and old birds nests, these eggs hatch after 2 weeks and the larvae emerge. The larvae will feed for 7 to 10 months before it pupates for approximately a month, emerging as an adult. Adults usually live for up to 6 weeks.

Death Watch and Woodworm Beetles lay eggs on or close to timber, laying between 40 and 70 eggs, once hatched the larvae will burrow into timbers and feed on the wood until they have grown enough to pupate, this stage can last from 1 year to 12 years, after pupation they emerge as adults and die after a few weeks.

Female Larder Beetles can lay over 100 eggs, after approximately 2 weeks the larvae emerge. The larvae will feed for up to 50 days before pupating, which is usually into wood or similar materials. After emerging from the pupation stage, the adult will live for up to 3 months.

 

General Information:

It the beetle larvae that cause the damage to wood, furniture, books, textiles, carpets, sofas, food and other such like items because these are their food source. Most beetles only live for a few months but can cause a considerable amount of damage if the infestation is not eradicated quickly.  

 

Treatments:

There are amateur used products which can sometimes be effective if the infestation is caught early enough. You will need to spray or coat all affected items such as; clothing, fabrics, wool, carpets, floors and sofas with the product, this will need repeating several times usually. If the treatment is not effective, you will need to have a professional pest controller carry out a treatment. Fully trained pest controllers are licenced to use very strong chemicals which will fully eradicate the moth infestation.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Biscuit Beetles are often confused with Woodworm because of the appearance and the bore holes they make.

  • Biscuit Beetles are strong fliers.

  • Most adult Beetles are attracted to light.

  • Carpet Beetle larvae are commonly called Woolly Bears.  

  • Woodworm Beetle larva will bore through timbers for 1 to 12 years.

  • Death Watch and Woodworm Beetles are seasonal and emerge in the warmer months.

  • Beetles often lay eggs in old bird nests.

  • There are approximately 4,000 species of beetles in the UK.

  • Larder Beetles are scavengers.

  • Adult beetles usually only live for a few weeks.

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