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Common Fabric Beetle Species

Knowing about the lifecycle and habits of different fabric beetle species can help to identify the most effective control methods.

Leather Beetle/Hide Beetle

(Dermestes maculatus)


  • Adult is 6–10 mm in length.
  • Black and dull in colour with white underside.
  • Larva is 3–9 mm in length with orange stripe running down its back.

Life cycle

  • Female lays up to 800 eggs. 
  • Lifecycle is 2–3 months.


  • Pupates in solid material such as wood. 
  • Feeds on various animal products and dried fish. 
  • Commonly found infesting silk production areas and museums

Fur Beetle

(Attagenus pellio)


  • Adult is 4–6 mm in length.
  • Reddish brown to black in colour with distinctive white spots; one on each wing cases.
  • Larva is 6 mm in length with long orange ‘tail’ of hairs.

Life cycle

  • Normally one generation per year
  • Development can take up to three years.


  • Mating takes place outdoors after which they fly indoors to lay eggs.
  • Common inhabitant of bird nests.
  • Larva feeds on dead insects and animal materials such as wools, feather and furs.
  • Adult feeds on pollen and nectar.

Varied Carpet Beetle

(Anthrenus verbasci)


  • Adult is around 6.4 mm in length and in ladybird shape. 
  • Wing covers (elytra) exhibit irregular pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow scales. 
  • Wing covers of older adults are black. 
  • Larva is 4-5 mm in length with a body covered in pattern of alternating light and dark-brown stripes.

Life cycle

  • Female lays up to 40 eggs. 
  • Normally one generation per year, but possibly two in warm temperatures. 
  • Larva takes 3–36 months to develop into adult.


  • Larva rolls up when disturbed. 
  • Hairs may be an irritant to some people. 
  • Larva known as “woolly bear”. 
  • Larva feeds on dead animals and animal products, such as wool, silk, leather and fur.
  • A common pest in museums and houses.