Adult varied carpet beetles are about 1/16 to 1/8 inches long, and generally oval in appearance. The back of these insects are spotted with grey-yellow, brown, and white scales, which aids in beetle identification.
The larvae are 3/16 to 1/4 inches long, and wider at the end of the body than at the head. They are covered with a series of light and dark-brown stripes that run across the body. Carpet beetle larvae have three dense tufts of bristles at the rear end.
Female carpet beetles lay about 40 eggs in a lifetime. The eggs hatch in 10 to 20 days, and the larvae develop in 222 to 323 days, remaining as pupae for just 10 to 13 days. There is one generation of carpet beetles per year. Adults live from 14 to 44 days.
Carpet beetle larvae feeds on a wide variety of foods, including carpets, woolens, skins, furs, stuffed animals, leather bindings on books, feathers, silk, and plant products. Adults feed on pollen, are good fliers, and infiltrate homes through open doors and windows.
The initial step in battling a carpet beetle infestation is the correct identification of the pest, followed by a thorough investigation that targets and eliminates the carpet beetle infestation source. Infested food should be discarded, and carpets, rugs, and clothing should be brushed or cleaned. Application of a residual insecticide in cracks, crevices, and the immediate areas around the infestation may be necessary depending on severity.
Carpet beetle prevention can be accomplished through frequent vacuuming and secure storage of fabrics, silks, and wool.
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