Possibly European in origin, but now found throughout the world
These small beetles feed on a wide range of animal and plant products, being severe pest problems in stored foods as well as on wool, hides, furs, feathers, or other materials with animal hair origins. They feed commonly on dead insects, and this may be the attraction to structures, where the beetles find leftovers in wasp nests, ant colonies, termite colonies, or bee hives, as well as accumulations in window sills. They are destructive to collections of insects or animals in museums. The length of time from egg to adult varies greatly, depending on food quality, temperature, and humidity, ranging in some studies from 150 to 420 days, with some larvae molting as many as 29 times.
Carpet beetles in general are patterned in mottled, checkerboard, or wavy lines with black, white, gray, brown, or orange colors. They are only around 2 to 3 mm long, flattened from top to bottom, oval in shape, and very compact, with no separation between the prothorax and the elytra. The Furniture Carpet Beetle is identical to the Varied Carpet Beetle, with the typical coloration and “checkerboard” pattern, but where the elytra meet there is a small concave notch, or “V” at the juncture. The larva is typically Anthrenus, being brown and very hairy, and it is wider at its head end than its tail end.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Control of carpet beetles begins with storing susceptible food or fabric materials in containers that exclude the adult insects. Prevention also centers around removal of abandoned insect, rodent, or bird nests that may contain leftover skins, feathers, or hairs that the carpet beetle larvae feed on. If the infestation is in progress a thorough inspection to determine the source is needed, prior to the application of any pesticides. Pheromone traps exist that may facilitate the inspection and monitoring process.