Varied carpet beetle adults are about 1/8 inch in length with a dark body covered with white, brown and yellowish scales dorsally and grayish-yellow scales ventrally. In some older adult beetles, the scales that form the color patterns will wear off. Therefore, the beetles appear solid brown or black. The larva is about 3/16 inch in length and carrot-shaped, with alternating light and dark brown transverse stripes. The larvae of varied carpet beetles are distinguished from other carpet beetle larvae by their broader shape in the rear and narrower shape towards front of the larvae. The varied carpet beetle’s life cycle is 249 to 354 days.
Varied carpet beetles are found in carpets, woolen goods, furs, stuffed animals, dried plant products, silks, and other materials containing animal products and natural fibers. Outdoors, adult female beetles will search for spider webs and bee, wasp and bird nests that contain eggs. The nests contain dead insects, pollen and other debris that can serve as larval food.