Hide/skin beetles, in family Dermestidae

Asked March 30, 2017, 5:49 PM EDT

Hello Coop Extension. Dead beetles from my 4th floor apartment (there are 6 floors in the building) were sent to Gaye.williams@maryland.gov who diagnosed them as hide/skin beetles. She said: are hide/skin beetles, in family Dermestidae. my best determination is Dermestes maculatus. they feed on all sorts of very dead animals-insects, mice, birds, fish, as well as dried products. find the source and remove it, they will vanish. i do not recommend spraying, food source needs to be dealt with. I replied: • The beetles are in two bedrooms both with an in-wall A/C unit on the 4th floor of an apartment building. • There has not been any food or dead animals in either room. The current exterminator thinks they came in from a 5-story tree outside our apartment. • Pesticide has already been sprayed several times since mid-February and borax acid (?) was laid down on Tuesday, 3/28. Given this info, do you have any other thoughts? Ideas for what to do? She replied: maybe dead bird in old nest outside a/c. unless tree [w/some old dead animal] is in contact w/bldg, a tree-bldg connection is doubtful. is there an attic or crawlspace above? all i can tell you is what the species is and what its normal biology tell me. i am not trained in pest control. you might contact extension. at: www.extension.umd.edu/hgic We have had these beetles since Feb 7 (7 weeks ago) and haven't gotten rid of them. I have been working with the Building's exterminator without success. We are desperate - What would you advise? Thank you very much, Capri

District of Columbia

1 Response

First off, no more pesticides!
This is a type of carpet beetle, and these common pests do not bite and are not threatening to your health, whereas pesticides can be. The adult beetles are attracted to light, but they only feed on pollen outdoors. It's the larval stage that can be a nuisance.

Don't think "dead animal" as much as animal fibers such as wool, wool blends, fur (including pets), accumulated lint, hair, feathers, felt, stuffed trophies, or even synthetic fabrics stained with sweat or urine.
The bottom line is, your vacuum is your best friend. Move large pieces of furniture and vacuum everywhere, especially along wall edges. Look under any wool carpets, and dry clean and tightly store anything of animal fiber that you can.
Here is more information: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/carpet-beetles