Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles and Carpet Beetle larvae
A pair of Black Carpet Beetles and two carpet beetle larvae

Four species of carpet beetles are of major concern in Maine. Most important is the Black Carpet Beetle (Attagenus unicolor), which is black in color (as its name implies), oval and less than 1/4 inch long. The beetles are good fliers and are attracted to light, so finding adult beetles on windowsills is often the first sign of an infestation.   Varied Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) are also attracted to light if they are from outdoor populations.  In the case of indoor populations of the Varied Carpet Beetle, however, there exists a negative attraction to light, with just one exception: indoor females nearing the end of their oviposition (egg-laying) period gradually become attracted to light.

The larval stage of carpet beetles is what does most of the damage, and even though they are called carpet beetles, the larvae feed on many other items besides carpeting.  Preferred foods include animal products, such as: skins, furs, feathers, wool, hair and dead insects, but they also eat cotton to some extent.  They are known to eat holes in yarns that are blends of wool and synthetic fibers.  The Larder Beetle, Dermestes lardarius, is another species of carpet beetle that is common in Maine.


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