| Anthrenus verbasci (Linnaeus, 1767)|
| Taxonomical Classification: Animalia / Arthropoda / Insecta / Coleoptera / Dermestidae |
| Varied carpet beetle Maltese name not known|
| Further Information: |
The adult is a 3 mm-long beetle that can be a serious household pest. It feeds on natural fibers and can damage carpets, furniture and clothing. In Malta, it is more frequent outdoors. The larval form is known as a woolly bear, and is slightly longer from the adult, reaching up to 5mm in length.
Anthrenus verbasci was the first insect to be shown to have an annual circadian cycle - a life cycle that is quite unique for an insect, which takes 1-3 years from the larvae to adult stage, depending on the environmental conditions. Larvae hatch from eggs in the spring and early summer, often in the nests of birds or around stored fabrics. The larvae feed on natural fibers throughout their development, eventually experiencing a dormancy period (also known as diapause) prior to pupation into the adult stage. The length of the dormancy appears to depend on environmental factors. Adults emerge in Spring and are found flying and feeding on the pollen of flowering plants till beginning of Summer. During this period, mating occurs, eggs are laid, and the cycle begins anew.
Adult beetles usually lay their eggs in air ducts, in closets, under furniture, or under baseboards. Larvae hide in dark, undisturbed areas and feed on organic material and thus responsible for the damage of various items, such as furniture, clothing, blankets, furs, and carpets. The larva and adults are repelled by naphthalene balls. Abundance of adult beetles near windows indicated the household presence of these pests.
The adults can easily set to fly when disturbed or sense peril.
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