Adult carpet beetles are oval and approximately 1/8 inch long. The black carpet beetle is uniformly dark brown or black in color and shiny. Other common carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, and common carpet beetle) are covered with colored scales of various patterns. Carpet beetle larvae are elongate, reddish or light brown, and covered with short hairs.
Carpet beetle larvae prefer to feed in dark, undisturbed, protected places. such as under baseboards, in and under upholstered furniture, dresser drawers, air ducts, stuffed animal trophies, stored cereals, bird nests under eaves, rodent nests, wasp nests in attics, dead birds or rodents in wall voids, woolens, clothes closets, furs, etc
Occasionally, severe infestations can occur in food products, stuffed animals, woolen fabrics, feathers and other items of animal origin. The name “carpet beetle” comes from their former importance as a pest of woolen carpeting. Most carpets today are made using synthetic fibers and carpet beetles do not feed on synthetic fibers.
Carpet beetles are attracted to night-lights, and may enter through an open window or door. Some may be brought in accidentally on cut flowers or in used furniture.
Carpet beetle larvae are common household “pantry pests” and feed on a wide variety of stored food items. Different species tend to utilize different basic groups of food items. Some carpet beetles species feed on animal and plant substances such as wool, fur, feathers, hair, hides, horns, silk, and velvet. While some species prefer seeds, grains, cereals, cake mixes, red pepper, rye meal and flour. Other substances that they often feed on include powdered milk, dog and cat food, leather, book bindings, dead insects, and even cotton, linen, and rayon.
Lifecycle and Reproduction
All carpet beetles pass through the egg, larva, pupa and adult stages. Females deposit up to 90 eggs in cracks and crevices in or near a food source. The eggs hatch in 10 to 20 days and the newly emerged larvae search for food. Depending on the quality of the food and the temperature, the larvae become full grown in two to 11 months.
The larval stage is the carpet beetle’s destructive stage. Carpet beetle larva can cause considerable damage to clothes, wool, leather, silk etc.
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