Sweater-Eater Lad

A wild CARPET BEETLE appears!

Exuvia from a carpet beetle larva

Zotz next to the beetles

Beetles can have a little salami as a treat

Kelly’s Field Notes

Common Name: Dermestid Beetles

Order: Coleoptera

Family: Dermestidae (Skin/Hide)

Species of Note Near You (There are over 1800 species of dermestid beetle! ):


Dermestid beetles are fairly small, between 0.1 and 1.2 cm (0.04 - 0.5 in) in length. Carpet beetles are pretty tiny, only a few mm in length, hide beetles are larger at about 0.5 - 1 cm (0.2 - 0.4 in). They tend to come in shades of brown, tan, black, or a blend of white, tan and orange. Their elytra are often very scaly which can create interesting patterns, such as in the carpet beetles. Adults are oval in shape and feed on pollen and nectar. Larvae look like spiky brushes, covered in dense, long setae (bristles) to longer thinner grubs with less densely packed setae.

Life Cycle: 

Carpet Beetle

Female adult carpet beetles lay between 30 and 100 eggs, depending on species, which hatch in about one to two weeks. The larvae are covered in dense hair (setae) and spend their time feeding on animal matter (they do not feed on synthetic material). Depending on environmental conditions, this stage can last from about 60 days to a year. When the larvae have fed enough they become a pupa, which lasts for between 10 and 17 days. Adult beetles can live for between 20 and 60 days. Depending on the species, they may only have one generation, but some do have three to four a year.

Common places for carpet beetle eggs and larvae are between your wall and floorboard, in your linens, dresser drawers, air ducts, under furniture, and in unprotected cereals, flours, and other dry goods. In the wild, adults can be found on flowers consuming pollen while their offspring are in rodent nests, bird nests, and other spaces they can readily feed on fur and feathers.

Hide Beetles

It starts with a corpse. First, males are attracted to a decaying animal body. The male pheromones and when the body is at a specific stage of decomposition attracts virgin females. The male and female then mate multiple times before she lays between three and 20 eggs, 24 hours later. Over her entire lifetime she can lay between 198 to 845 eggs. Larvae will undergo five to 11 instars, which can take five to 6 weeks, or longer depending on conditions. The larvae will then find a safe space to pupate or will be consumed by other larvae. Pupation takes about 7 or 8 days, but again can be delayed up to 20 days if conditions are unfavorable. Adults live between four and six months.

Depending on what the insect and carrion feeding community looks like, and the weather, it can take around a month for a 100lb corpse to be reduced to bones.

Super Powers:

Dermestid Beetles in Culture:


“Carpet Beetle Management Guidelines--UC IPM.” Ipm.ucanr.edu, ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html.

Charabidze, Damien, et al. "Involvement of larder beetles (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) on human cadavers: a review of 81 forensic cases." International Journal of Legal Medicine 128 (2014): 1021-1030.

“Dermestid Carpet Beetles - Oklahoma State University.” Extension.okstate.edu, 21 Apr. 2021, extension.okstate.edu/programs/digital-diagnostics/insects-and-arthropods/dermestid-carpet-beetles. Accessed 29 Mar. 2024.

“Dermestidae.” Wikipedia, 12 Feb. 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermestidae.

‌“EENY466/IN836: Hide Beetle Dermestes maculatus DeGeer.” Ask IFAS - Powered by EDIS, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN836.

Sonker, R., Rawat, S., and Singh, K. "Succession and life cycle of beetles on the exposed carcass." Int J Sci Innov Res 1.3 (2015): 46-50.