Friday, January 26, 2007
Carpet Beetles Bag Daisy Patch
March 24, 2006: Spring had sprung, and I was tripping outside to get daisies to put in a vase on my kitchen window sill. The flowers were full of small beetles in the process of mowing down the stamens of the daisy disk florets. Many pest species are named for the destructive habits of the larvae, and these are no exception. These are carpet beetles (probably Anthrenus verbasci, the varied carpet beetle, although see note below regarding ID) the adults of which feed on pollen and are said to be important pollinators. Meanwhile, their larvae are hairy stumpy-carrot-shaped critters that may be feeding on fibers in your house. They eat many things (wool, leather, horn for example) of animal origin which might include carpets or clothing of yours, or even accumulations of dog hair in forgotten crevices. These beetles are an important pest of insect collections, so it didn't surprise me to read that their preferred food really is dead insect carcasses. It's suspected that wasp nests (the beetle larvae feed on the leftovers) around the home contributes to the carpet beetles' prevalence.
One reason insects have been so succesful their use of different food sources in their various life stages, therefore avoiding self-competition. These carpet beetles are a good example of this.
By the way, if yer daisies have beetles on them, it's probably NOT a good idea to bring them inside the house.
At the UC IPM site, the photo for Anthrenus verbasci is an entirely different looking bug. However, I have gone with this ID since numerous other sources identify it so. Open to corrections.