The Varied Carpet Beetle is an introduced pest species. It is a small beetle with rounded body patterned with dark brown and white blotched bands. The beetle can be a serious household pest. It feeds on natural fibers and can damage carpets, furniture and clothing. Infestations can be prevented by regular cleaning and using naphthalene balls (moth balls) in closets. Serious infestations may need pesticide treatment.
Adult 2mm - 3.5mm long
The Varied Carpet Beetle larva feeds on natural fibers and can cause damage to carpets, furniture and clothing.
Adult beetles lay their eggs in undisturbed places such as cupboards, under furniture, or under floorboards . The larvae hide and feed on organic material such as furniture, clothes and carpets. It is a common pest in museums
The Varied Carpet Beetle is an introduced pest species. It is a small beetle with rounded body patterned with dark brown and white blotched bands.
Carpet beetles feed on a wide range of animal-based items, including silk, leather, fur, wool and animal hair. As a result, carpet beetles may infest carpets, upholstered furniture, blankets, coats, comforters, wool, pillows and clothing. While carpet beetles rarely attack synthetic fabrics, they may feed on these items when they are soiled by perspiration, oil and food. Infestations can spread quickly.
Adult carpet beetles feed on pollen and nectar outdoors. The larvae may eat seeds, animal food and other milled products in the pantry or kitchen. Although adult carpet beetles can thrive inside or outside, females prefer to lay eggs where larval food sources are abundant. Carpet beetles enter homes through doors, windows and other openings, although they may be brought in on cut plants and flowers, as well. Some carpet beetles make their homes inside the nests of birds or other animals and can live in walls or chimneys, feeding on dead insects and animals.
Both adults and larvae prefer to feed in dark, undisturbed areas. As a result, identification of an infestation can prove difficult. Because an infestation can go unnoticed until it is widespread, treatment is best left to pest control professionals.
Black, varied and furniture carpet beetle larvae migrate from room to room in search of food. As a result, an infestation can spread quickly throughout several areas within a home. Infestations are typically found near dead insects, debris from air ducts and animal skin or hairs. In addition to carpet, clothing and furniture, larvae may infest attics, basements and other dark or hidden areas. An infestation can be identified through discovery of damage to fabrics, shed skin, as well as visible larval movement.
Because carpet beetle larvae feed on lint, dust and animal hairs, strict housekeeping procedures may help to keep an infestation at bay. Dry cleaning is suggested, as carpet beetle larvae thrive on stained clothing. However, lint and dust deposits in air ducts and upholstered furniture are not easily removed. Larvae may thrive despite housekeeping efforts.
Carpet beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval and pupal stages before developing into adult insects. Varied or black carpet beetles produce only one generation each year, while other species are capable of producing up to four generations per year.
Adult carpet beetles lay their eggs in warm seasons over a period of several weeks. Each female produces approximately three batches containing 20 to 100 eggs. Although carpet beetle populations can thrive outside, female adults can lay their eggs indoors, where food sources are abundant. Inside, eggs hatch often within five to 20 days, depending upon climate conditions and species.
Carpet beetle eggs are white or cream in color and measure 1/4 to 1/2 mm in length. Eggs have spine like projections visible at one end and are distinguished by their oval shape. They can be found near upholstered furniture, closets, air ducts and lint buildups. Because they blend into their environments, carpet beetle infestations are rarely identifiable before the larval stage.
Damage occurs during the larval stage of carpet beetles. Larvae feed in dark, undisturbed locations on a variety of dead animals and animal products such as wool, silk, leather, fur, hair brushes with natural bristles, pet hair, and feathers; occasionally they feed on stored products such as certain spices and grains. They don’t feed on synthetic fibers.
It’s not always possible to tell from the damage whether clothes moths or carpet beetles caused it, but in general carpet beetles are more likely to damage a large area on one portion of a garment or carpet while moth damage more often appears as scattered holes. Also carpet beetle larvae leave brown, shell like, bristly-looking cast skins when they molt. These skins and a lack of webbing are usually good clues that carpet beetles are the culprits.