Common Fabric Beetle Species

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

Leather Beetle/Hide Beetle

(Dermestes maculates)



  • The adult is 6–10 mm in length.
  • Black and dull in colour with a white underside.
  • The larva is 3–9 mm in length with an orange stripe running down its back.


  • Female lays up to 800 eggs.
  • The 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 billion)



  • The adult is 4–6 mm in length.
  • Reddish-brown to black with distinctive white spots, one on each wing cases.
  • The larva is 6 mm in length with a long orange ‘tail’ of hairs.


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


  • Mating takes place outdoors, after which they fly indoors to lay eggs.
  • A 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)



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


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


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