Adult carpet beetles are small oval shaped, and rounded bodies, they are 2-3mm long and range from 2-3mm and are dark in colour, normally black. Out of all the species in the world the Australian carpet beetle is the only one that’s native to where it is. The legs aren’t easily sighted, the larvae move slower and are 4-7mm long. They are widely distributed and are often found in homes and buildings where food is available. Adult beetles lay eggs near food sources and larvae feed often for 6 months on the surface or inside the material.

Life Cycles

All of these beetle species have a complete life cycle–egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adults can mate and reproduce without feeding. Females can lay from 30 to 100 eggs, depending on the species. Eggs are laid in lint, behind and under baseboards, in floor cracks, or other dark and protected locations. Eggs hatch in one to three weeks. Larvae develop over a 3 to 36 month period and can molt (shed their skin) from 5 to 12 times. The pupal stage lasts 6 to 24 days, but the adult may take up to three weeks before it emerges.

Type of Damage

The larval stages cause damage to a variety of material. Their preferred food varies with the species, but all carpet beetle larvae can feed on wool carpets and other wool products, furs, hides, horns, feathers, hair, and silk. They will also feed on linen, cotton, and rayon if these fabrics are soiled with juice, food, or animal excreta. They can be pests in cereals, stored grains, nuts, meal, Indian corn, red pepper, and similar products. Carpet beetle larvae are frequently pests of insect collections and other museum specimens.