The most damaging species of carpet beetle found in the UK is the varied carpet beetle. Adult beetles resemble small ladybirds. They are covered with grey and gold scales and identification of the species is based on the pattern and shape of these scales.
The eggs hatch into short, fat, hairy larvae, often referred to as ‘woolly bears’ When the larvae first hatch they are extremely small, less than 1mm long, and they can gain entry to cupboards and drawers through very small cracks. As the larvae grow, they leave empty hairy, cast skins or husks which are often the first sign of carpet beetle attack.
The larvae are voracious feeders which will rapidly make holes in woollen textiles, carpets and clothes. The damage is often mistaken for clothes moth larvae attack.