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Varied Carpet Beetle

Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci

These are a small beetle approximately 2-4mm in length. They are oval in shape with a convex body (similar in shape to a ladybird), they vary in colour with patches of brown, yellow, white and black.

Life Cycle:

A female adult will lay between 30 to 100 eggs over a period of two weeks. The eggs are cemented to foodstuffs and cannot be dislodged easily by shaking etc.
The eggs hatch after about 10 days in ideal temperature conditions.

The larval stage is long and can last more than 300 days. The larvae moult 6-8 times during this period and are 4-5mm long and hairy, the common name for these are 'woolly bears'.

The larvae in domestic properties commonly inhabit wool, fur and leather, although they will also feed on dead insects. 

The larvae do not shed their final skin and remain covered when in the pupal stage. This lasts for 10-17 days after which the adult emerges.

The adult live outside and feed on pollen and nectar. They are able to fly and appear from commonly from April to June.


Varied Carpet Beetle are strongly associated with bird's nests. If there are or have been bird's nesting in a roof space it is generally the source of the infestation. The adults will lay eggs in bird's nests and the larvae will feed on feathers and wool and even dead fledglings.

Nearly all birds and their nests are highly protected and cannot be disturbed during breeding season. However, once the breeding season has ended and the nest is redundant, this can be removed if accessible and the area proofed against birds nesting the following year.


It is the larval stage of the Varied Carpet Beetle which causes the damage. They will feed on a variety of materials and especially like wool carpets. It has been reported that they will also infest grain and cereal products.

It is thought that the larvae detect the heat in a building and make their way down into airing cupboards, wardrobes etc. From there they move to carpets and any other suitable site.