Carpet Bugs – The Varied Carpet Beetle

Carpet Bugs – The Varied Carpet Beetle

The Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) is a recent newcomer to the north of England. Having been largely found mainly in more southern counties but now pest controllers in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire are increasingly having to deal with this pest.

It is a very distinctive, easily recognised beetle that can be a serious problem in the household. It feeds on natural fibres and can damage anything of natural origin, woolen carpets, furniture and clothing.
The larval form is known as a woolly bear, a name it shares with the larvae of Pyrrharctia isabella or the Isabella Tiger moth.

A verbasci was the very first insect to be demonstrated to have a circadian and an annual cycle and to date remains a typical example of circannual cycles in insects.
The larval form of A. verbasci are approximately 4-5 mm in length. The body is covered in a pattern of alternating light- and dark-brown stripes. The body is usually wider at the back than at the front and also produces 3 pairs of hair tufts along its rear abdomen that can be used for self-defense

These can also cause problems for human beings as when they become encased in human skin they can cause a reaction similar to a flea or bed bug bite so when checking for the possible presence of sharp insects pest controllers also need to be on the lookout for larval casts of the carpet beetle.

Adult A. verbasci range from 1.7 to 3.5 mm in length. Their dorsal surface has scales of two colours, whitish and yellowish-brown. White scales are condensed along the lateral margins of the pronotum. In addition, their antennae are 11-segmented with a club of 3 segments
The varied carpet beetle has a very uncommon life cycle for an insect, developing from larvae to adult in 1-3 years, depending on the ecosystem in which it finds itself.

Larvae hatch from eggs in the spring, often they are associated with birds  nests or around stored natural fiber Larvae satisfy on natural fibres throughout their development, ultimately experiencing a dormancy or diapause before completing pupation and emerging as an adult. Adults appear between late March and early August, and feeding on pollen.

These pests cause both physical damage by their larvae eating fiber and psychological trauma from the great numbers of these pests which can appear into living quarters.
When dealing with these pests it is important to check for the presence of birds nesting material and remove any nests and feathers etc from the affected area before treating the affected area.

It is important to observe that in the U.K legislation affects the removal of birds nest, including sparrows and starlings which are the two shared birds which have an association with A.verbasci so specialized help should be sought to avoid falling foul of the law.

That concludes this article entitled – Carpet Bugs – The Varied Carpet Beetle

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