Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Invasion III!

A few weeks ago Leann mentioned seeing little speckled beetles crawling around on our couch.[1] She said they were hard to see because they almost perfectly matched the mottled pattern and colors of the couch. I had her catch some so that I could identify them. After a dichotomous key and a little internet searching, I've narrowed it down to the Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) or the Furniture Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus flavipes), though the Varied Carpet Beetle is more likely. We notified our landlord and last week he had our next-door neighbor, who sells pest control during the summers, spray the complex with a pyrethroid insecticide.[2]

The larva of carpet beetles (often called "woolly bears" or "buffalo moths") can damage carpet, furniture, and clothes. They are also frequently found in stored powdered foods and grains (where they are often incorrectly called weevils) and are significant in that they will get into insect collections and destroy the collected specimens.


[1] For previous invasions (one in our old apartment and one in my research lab), see here and here.


Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals based on the chemical structure of pyrethrin I (left) and pyrethrin II (right), insecticidal compounds produced by the chrysanthemum species Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium and Chrysanthemum coccineum.

Image attributions:

Chemical Structure of Pyrethrin I is by Benjah-bmm27, available at 

Chemical Structure of Pyrethrin II is by Benjah-bmm27, available at

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