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carpet beetle on cloth

Introduction

Varied carpet beetles get their name from the “rainbow” pattern of colors that they exhibit on their backs.  They are a stored product pest that feed on a variety of fabrics and animal bi-products.  They have a world-wide distribution and are a common household pest.

Recognition

Varied carpet beetle adults are 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long and have an oval body.  They are black, with an irregular arrangement of beige, yellow and white scales on the upper part of their thorax and over their wing covers. The underside of their body is covered with grayish-yellow scales. The head is bent at a downward angle, and when viewed from above it is almost completely concealed.

The larvae are 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long, dark brown to black. They are covered with brown hairs and have rear-facing tufts of hairs arising from the sides of the rear end.

Biology

In the spring female varied carpet beetles lay approximately 25 to 100 eggs each.  The eggs hatch within a 2-week time period.  The larvae molt 7-8 times, feed, and develop over a period of a year or more depending on environmental conditions.  Then they move to the pupal stage which lasts for about 10-13 days after which they emerge as adults.

Adult female carpet beetles live for about 14 to 44 days, while males live for a shorter period of time, only 13 to 28 days.

Habits

Inside homes, these “fuzzy” bugs are often found on the floor or around baseboards, in closets, beneath upholstered furniture and on the undersides of carpeting.  The larvae feed on things like animal furs, feathers, human hair, pet hair, silks, book bindings, and other like items.
 
Adult carpet beetles will feed on seeds, plants, and flowers during their short lifetime and frequently enter into homes and buildings from the outside.  They enter through small cracks and openings around windows, doors, and in exterior walls.  They will also use the spaces around electrical lines, above-ground pipes and other utility entrances that lead into a home.
 
Carpet beetle larvae are covered in bristles and if they come into contact with a person they can cause a minor skin irritation.

Prevention

The best way to prevent problems with varied carpet beetles is to make changes around your home to help prevent them from gaining entrance into it.  Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation of your home, seal spaces around utility lines entering into your home, repair or replace damaged window or door screens.  It is also helpful to regularly vacuum, dust, and store clothing and other items in plastic containers with tight fitting lids.

Control

The most effective way to control varied carpet beetles around your property and in your home is with assistance from a professional pest control expert.  At Rottler Lawn & Pest Solutions a trained technician will inspect your home and find all the areas where they are hiding, breeding and living.  We will then provide control services through our year-round home pest control services.

If varied carpet beetles are noticed in your Missouri home, call the pest control experts at Rottler today!

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