Black Carpet Beetle
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The Black Carpet Beetle is most abundant and widespread of the carpet beetles and is the species which causes the greatest damage to fabrics and other keratin containing articles throughout most of the United States.
Adults are shiny black with brownish legs, and grow to a length of 1/8- to 3/ 16-inch.
Body color varies from a light brown to almost black.
They are frequently found outdoors in flowers and are most numerous in the spring and early summer.
Carpet beetle larvae are frequently pests of insect collections and other museum specimens.
Since they are attracted to flowers, in the spring of the year the adult Black Carpet Beetle may fly into the house.
They lay eggs either indoors or outdoors, beginning 4 to 8 days after the adult emerges. Each female lays approximately 50 eggs over a period of about 3 weeks, after which she dies. Indoors, these eggs are deposited in accumulations of lint, in air ducts, underneath baseboards and other similar places. Eggs hatch in 6 to 11 days in warm weather.
They can develop under a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions, and are much less susceptible to environmental changes than are clothes moths.
Larvae may grow to 1/2-inch long over a series of 5 to 11 molts. They tend to avoid lighted areas, so are found most frequently in the lower parts of clothes closets, rolled up or wrapped into woolen materials, at the edge of carpeting under baseboards, or inside upholstered furniture. Mature larvae can wander rather widely, so may be found anywhere in a building. It is not at all unusual to find them in a bathtub, kitchen sink, or even crawling on walls and ceilings.
Black carpet beetle larvae are general feeders, feeding on dead animal materials, hair, fur, hides and horns, as well as the usual woolen products and many plant materials such as cereals, stored grain or nuts. They tend to be surface feeders on wool, usually eating the nap from fabric and leaving the base threads relatively unaffected. However, they are quite capable of eating large, irregular holes through any suitable food material. In fur, hairs are cut at the base with no injury to the hide. The hair then readily drops out leaving a bare appearance to the hide.
Black carpet beetle larvae frequently burrow through containers to obtain food, leaving small openings through which other insects may enter to cause additional damage.Cast skins and frass in the form of minute, irregular pellets are frequently found on infested fabrics. Black carpet beetle larvae may live as short as 9 months to as long as 3 years, depending on their diet and environmental conditions.
Larvae pupate in the last larval skin, with the pupal state lasting from 6 to 24 days.
L. Townsend, University of Kentucky Entomology
The larvae or immature stages of carpet beetles are about 1/4 inch long and densely covered with hairs or bristles. Only the larval stage feeds on fabric and causes damage. The adults feed on flowers, but are often seen indoors around light fixtures and windows, indicating that a larval infestation is present somewhere within the home.
Fabric damaged with no traces of silk-like threads. Much surface damage with various holes. Frass may be seen in minute, irregular pellets, many time in the color of the fabric. In fur: Hair cut at the base , hair drops out easily and hide may be exposed.