Anthrenus flavipes, are slightly larger and rounder than the varied carpet beetle adult. Coloration and markings of the adult are highly variable, but they generally have a mottled appearance due to white and dark yellow to orange scales interspersed with black spots on their elytra; if these scales have been worn off, they may appear solid black. Their undersides are white.
Damage is caused by the larval stage of dermestid 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 do not feed on synthetic fibers. Also, carpet beetle larvae leave brown, shell-like, bristly looking cast skins when they molt. These skins and the lack of webbing are usually good clues that the culprits are carpet beetles.
Biology & Life Cycle
Adults lay eggs on the larval food source, such as furs and woolen fabric or carpets. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks and the larvae feed for varying periods, depending upon species and environmental conditions. They prefer dark, secluded places. When ready to pupate, the larvae may burrow further into the food or wander and burrow elsewhere. They may also pupate within the last larval skin if no other shelter is available. Larvae do not make webs as clothes moths do, but their shed skins and fecal pellets, which are about the size of a grain of salt, make it obvious where they have been feeding. Larvae are white at first but darken to dark red or chestnut brown as they mature. In contrast to larvae of the varied carpet beetle, these larvae are broader in front and narrower at the rear. Larvae of the furniture carpet beetle feed on the same types of items as larvae of the varied carpet beetle.
Habitat & Food Sources
Adults do not feed on fabrics but seek out pollen and nectar. They are attracted to sunlight and are commonly found feeding on the flowers of crape myrtle, spiraea, buckwheat, and other plants that produce abundant pollen. Be careful not to bring these pests into the home on cut flowers—with their rounded bodies and short antennae, carpet beetles somewhat resemble lady beetles in shape.
Traps placed throughout a building can show where beetles are coming from; the traps are also useful for monitoring the effectiveness of control applications. Check traps once or twice a week. Sticky traps are also available without a pheromone; these traps can be placed on window sills to trap adults that fly to windows. Plain sticky traps are available in retail stores. Eliminate accumulations of lint, hair, dead insects, and other debris that serve as food for carpet beetles. Throw out badly infested items. Cleaning is always the best strategy; however, areas or articles that cannot be dry cleaned or laundered can be sprayed with an insecticide. Do not use insecticides around open flames, sparks, or electrical circuits. Do not spray them on asphalt or tile floors. Use only lightly on parquet floors. On linoleums, first spray a small inconspicuous area and let it dry to see if staining occurs.