Pictured on the next page are adult and larvae of our two most common species of carpet beetles, the black carpet beetle and varied carpet beetle. Though closely related, they vary in overall appearance. The black carpet beetle is 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and elongate oval. Color is dark brown to black and the head is concealed from above. The varied carpet beetle is 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and nearly round or broadly oval. The body is marked with a mottled pattern of yellow, white and orange scales on a black background. A fresh specimen will be brightly colored while an old, battered specimen may be nearly all black.
Carpet beetle larvae are found wandering in the vicinity of the infestation source almost as often as the adults. Black carpet beetle larvae are 1/4 inch long, have a golden brown color, a tapered shape and a long tuft of tail hairs. Varied carpet beetle larvae are 1/4 inch long and brown in color with alternating light and dark bands across the top of the abdomen. They are stout larvae, widest at the middle or posteriorly. There are several tufts of short inconspicuous hairs on the tail end.
See also the Iowa Insect Note on carpet beetles .
|Black Carpet Beetle||Varied Carpet Beetle|
This article originally appeared in the April 28, 1993 issue, p. 51.