Species category: Beetles & Weevils
Scientific name: Attagenus unicolor
Small and oval shaped, the Black Carpet Beetle is a black colour with brown legs and short antennae. The adult will reach 3-5mm in length. The larvae, which are the true pests of this species, are typically longer in body length and are a reddish-brown colour.
Black Carpet Beetles are found throughout India.
Carpet beetles are as common in food pantries as they are in a carpet or wardrobe. However, as the name suggests, Carpet Beetles are often prevalent in the carpet’s pile but this is not their only habitat. Evidence of an infestation is not just the insects themselves but also the larvae which continuously moult before adulthood, leaving behind tell-tale shells and lots of destruction.
These flying insects are mainly considered a pest because of their destructive larvae that feast on a wide variety of keratin based animal products including wool, silk, hides and furs. The larvae have also been known to feed on synthetic products too, in addition to household foods and dead insects.
There are a number of moulting stages between larvae and reaching full adulthood. The larvae enjoy a warm, dark environment while the beetle is drawn to the light.
This insect damages animal based materials in homes e.g. wool, silk, fur etc. They eat large irregular shaped holes in a wide variety of fabrics. The larvae also leave behind shells as they moult, which are a known cause of allergies in some humans.
They are often spotted in the home as they crawl across the surface of fabrics and tend to feed at the top of the carpet rather than down in the base fibres.
Commonly found feeding on dried foods also, they contaminate it with faeces and discarded shells.