carpet beetle, name for several beetles that are highly destructive to carpets and upholstery and are classified in the same family as the larder beetles. Adult beetles of this family are pollen eaters, but the larvae feed on a variety of animal matter. The reddish to yellow-brown carpet beetle larvae feed on wool, fur, leather, and on plant fibers that are soiled with grease, doing more damage to household goods than the clothes moth. The adults, 0.08 to 0.2 in. (3–5 mm) long, solid black or black-and-white patterned, leave the house after emerging from the pupal stage. The larvae of the species commonly called larder beetles feed on meats and cheese; the larvae of other species in the family are pests in museums, feeding on dried insect collections. Carpet beetles are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, family Dermestidae, genera Attagenus and Anthrenus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.