Anthrenus verbasci

Common Names: Varied carpet beetle, woolly bears (larvae)
Category: Insects
Sub-category: Beetles

Adults range in length from 1.7 to 3.5 mm. The body is rounded, almost spherical. The elytra and pronotum are covered in fine scales of different colors, creating an irregular pattern of white, brownish and yellowish patches on these features. The white scales are focussed along the lateral margins of the pronotum and on the elytra, where they form three bright, wavy transverse bands. In addition to these morphological features, their antennae are 11-segmented with a club of 3 segments.

The larval form measures up to 4 to 5 mm in length. The larvae are elongated and densely covered in large setae (hairs). These hairs are organised into alternating, transverse groups of light and dark-brown patches: the larva appears covered in brown stripes. The body is usually wider at the back than at the front where it also bears 3 pairs of hair tufts along its rear abdomen that can be used for self-defense. The larvae are a common household pest. Once hatched and until they pupate into adults, the larvae hide in dark, undisturbed areas and feed on organic material. The larvae are thus responsible for the damage of various items, such as furniture, clothing, blankets, furs, and carpets.

Edible Notes: Not edible.
Warnings: Susceptible people may find that hairs shed from the larvae cause irritated itchy welts that may be confused with bedbug bites.