What are small flying beetles 1-3 mm that are dark with pale zigzag markings, they appear on window sills in bedroom and bathroom also conservatory. Although they can fly they don't seem to fly around very much on the sills. I would like to know what they are, where they come from each year and how to stop them, also do they do any damage to soft funsihings etc!
Thank you.

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They look to me like varied carpet beetles (Anthrenus verbasci), which are quite common household pests. They are often found at this time of year, as the adults emerge in warm spring weather and start looking for places to lay eggs. They are often found in houses, and can get in easily through window frames because they are so small. I am unfortunately familiar with them, as they are also common museum pests!

The adults themselves are not too destructive, but their larvae can be - they will eat most organic materials...wool, fur, feathers, leather, and even book bindings made with animal glue. They are unlikely to eat cotton garments, but wool clothing/carpets/rugs, feather cushions, etc. are all quite susceptible to attack.

In terms of control, you may need to look at improving the seals on your windows to prevent them getting in. Moth balls are a traditional household preventative for both moths and carpet beetles, but these are no longer recommended because they contain toxic chemicals. There are various other insecticides available to control carpet beetles. Cleaning is the best way to prevent them from causing damage - frequent vacuuming to remove hair/dead skin, etc. from carpets or rugs (and make sure to empty the vacuum cleaner after each use as it may contain live beetles or larvae), and make sure that food waste is regularly removed from the kitchen.

Here is a web page with come good information on the beetles and their prevention and control: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html

Hope this helps!

Last edited by Rachel Jennings (26th Apr 2011 20:30:08)