Pest ID: Carpet Beetle
Adults about 1/16″ – 1/8″ (2.0 – 3.8 mm) long; oval in shape. Body black, with a pattern of whitish and orange/red scales. Elytra (wing covers) with an orange to brick red sutral stripe down the mid-line and variable pattern of whitish and orange/red scales. Head more or less concealed from above with short, 3 segmented, clubbed antennae. Carpet beetle larva up to 1/4″ (4.5 mm) long; stout, widest posteriorly. Color reddish brown, covered with blackish and/or brown hairs; with tufts of spearheaded hairs arising from membraneous areas on sides of abdominal segments pointing toward rear and converging near center. See carpet beetle bug pictures on the page. Some carpet beetles are black.
Places Most Commonly Found:
Common carpet beetles feed on a wide variety of animal and plant materials. Animal origin materials include woolens, hair, bristles, horn, feathers, silk, furs, and insect collections. Plant origin materials include herbarium specimens (pressed plants), rye flour and wheat. Their favored foods are carpets, clothing and textiles. On fabrics, larva surface graze but often make irregular holes. On furs and bristles, them damage mostly the tips leaving uneven areas. Adults are typically found outdoors. Their breeding areas are diverse and may include obscure or unused places such as wall/ceiling voids where yellow jackets, etc. lived or where cluster flies, etc. overwintered. Rodent bait left in attic and behind baseboards where lint and hair accumulate are prime areas. Adults fly during the daytime. They are often brought indoors in dried or cut flowers.
Most Active Period:
Females lay 30 – 60 whitish eggs on/in larval food material, typically in May and June. The eggs hatch in 10 – 20 day. The larva pass through 6 instars with larval period lasting 60 – 80 days. The larva pupates in the last larval skin and pupation lasts 7 – 15 days. Development time (egg to adult) usually requires 77 – 110 days at room temperature, with a range up to 439 days to 2 years. Upon emerging, the adult beetle stays quiet in the old larval skin for about 18 days, and then becomes an active adult for 4 – 31 days. Outdoors or in unheated structures, about 25% overwinter as larva which feed again the following spring. About 75% overwinter as adults in the larval skin and will emerge to breed in the spring. In heated structures, adults may be active throughout the winter and the following spring.
Difficulty of Control:
Easy to control when identified. Some people ask, “what is a carpet beetle and how do I identify them?” Getting the most information and identification is important to treat correctly.