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Varied Carpet Beetle Larvae, Anthrenus verbasci, Your Home

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Published on May 25, 2013

The varied carpet beetle can be a serious pest in buildings and homes. The larvae here resembles a wooly caterpillar (thus it is also called the wooly bear) that you may have seen crawling around on your carpet or bed from time to time; it eats natural fibers in carpets, furniture, and clothing. They also damage museum exhibits and things like insect collections, which are more nutritionally rich than carpets. Anthrenus verbasci larvae hatch from eggs in the spring and early summer, often in the nests of birds or around stored fabrics. The larvae go dormant and pupate to become adults after a long life of shuffling around on our carpets and eating fibers, but it is not clear to me how it can have any kind of annual circadian rythym to do so indoors, especially since I have days where I don't even open my blinds. Anthrenus verbasci was the first insect to be shown to have an annual circadian rhythm.

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