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Common fabric beetle species

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

Leather beetle/Hide beetle

(Dermestes maculatus)

Appearance

  • Adult is 6–10 mm in length.
  • Black and dull in colour with white underside.
  • Larva is 3–9 mm in length with orange stripe running down its back.

Lifecycle

  • Female lays up to 800 eggs. 
  • Lifecycle is 2–3 months.

Habits

  • 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 pellio)

Appearance

  • Adult is 4–6 mm in length.
  • Reddish brown to black in colour with distinctive white spots; one on each wing cases.
  • Larva is 6 mm in length with long orange ‘tail’ of hairs.

Lifecycle

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

Habits

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