Black carpet beetle

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Black carpet beetle
Attagenus unicolor.jpg
adult beetle
CSIRO ScienceImage 2900 Larvae of the Black Carpet Beetle Attagenus unicolor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Dermestidae
Genus: Attagenus
Species: A. unicolor
Binomial name
Attagenus unicolor
(Brahm, 1791)

The black carpet beetle, Attagenus unicolor, is a beetle, 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) long, that can be a serious household pest. The larvae grow to 7 mm (0.28 in) in length, are reddish brown in colour and covered with bristles. The larval form feeds on natural fibres, damaging carpets, furniture and clothing.


Attagenus unicolor undergoes complete metamorphosis, which has four different life stages: Egg larvae pupae adult Each stage looks different, and needs different amounts of time to reach the next stage.

Eggs are usually laid near or on a food source, if no food source can be found the female will lay them in dark undisturbed locations, where the larvae can feed on carpeting, or clothing that they find nearby, although most of the time they are laid on the clothing itself. They will also lay eggs on or near dog food/other pet food. Eggs take anywhere from 5-20 days to hatch depending on the conditions, such as temperature and humidity.

Larvae are small when they hatch from the egg, about 1mm in size, they grow fairly quickly depending on the food source availability and protein found in the food itself. Larvae moult about 10-15 times, or more depending on conditions. Sometimes if food is scarce they will Retro-Moult with the larvae moulting into a lower instar. They can do this multiple times, if they are large enough. But most of the time they don't require to do this as the food sources are plenty, and they aren't too picky about what they eat. The larvae stage is the longest stage and the destructive stage, they can remain larvae for up to 3 yrs. But it usually doesn't take longer than 3 months to go through the larvae stage if food and conditions are good. Larvae pupate in undisturbed locations, far away from the food source so that they aren't cannibalized.

Pupae are cream white but quickly turn yellow and darken with age. They do not eat in this stage nor move. They transform into the beetles in about 8-20 days, depending on the conditions. The beetle may stay in the shedded pupae case for an additional day or two.

Beetles start out white but darken with age, they do not eat [although sometimes they will eat flower pollen in the wild, but not indoors] and only live for a few weeks, just long enough to mate and lay more eggs. They are eventually black in colour. Hence the name Black Carpet Beetle. Females are capable of laying 50-100 eggs.

The whole Life-Cycle under ideal conditions takes about 4-5 months, or less if given protein rich food, such as pet food. The adult females will lay more eggs if water is present in small amounts.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Black Carpet Beetle Information Blog