Bed Bug/larva identification

Asked July 7, 2020, 10:37 PM EDT

Can someone please help identify what larva or bug this is and whether it’s dangerous? I have a few marks on my skin and I’m not sure if they’re bug bites or allergic reaction

Milwaukee County Wisconsin

1 Response

Hello ,

That is a carpet beetle larva (Coleoptera: Dermestidae).

Carpet Beetles are common and important household pests of fabrics and stored food products. These insects can eat most everything of plant and animal origin including woolen rugs and clothing, silk clothing, wool carpeting, felts, skins, furs, feathers, upholstered furniture, wool blankets, leather, and dried meats, beans, peas, corn, wheat, rice and many other seeds and seed products. These insects also occur outdoors where they feed in and under dead animals and in the nests of birds, wasps and bees. The larvae or grubs are small, reddish brown and hairy. Larvae develop in dark, undisturbed locations and under normal conditions require about a year to complete their life cycle. Larvae are responsible for all of the feeding damage. The hairs and cast skins of carpet beetle larvae are known skin irritants and can cause a type of dermatitis. See http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/carpet-beetle-dermatitis

Adults emerge in the spring/summer and feed largely on nectar and pollen. Adults commonly congregate at windows in homes in the spring of the year. Most homes older than a few years are likely to have resident populations of carpet beetles living in wall voids and attics where they persist feeding on dead insects.

Carpet beetles are difficult to control because many times it is difficult to locate the origin of the infestation. The best way to combat carpet beetles is to reduce their possible food sources within the home. Rooms should be cleaned often enough to prevent the accumulation of lint, hair and other carpet beetle food materials. These insects are known to build up their numbers in the edges of wall-to-wall carpet; and in wool carpets under heavy furniture that is rarely moved; and in heating system ducts. Another source of carpet beetles is wall voids (the area inside walls between studs) where dead insects accumulate. Abandoned nests of birds, the remains of dead rodents, wasps and bees that are in or near the house may also harbor carpet beetles.

Woolens that have been in storage and undisturbed for over a year should be checked for damage and signs of insects. Dry cleaning or laundering woolens in hot, soapy water will kill carpet beetles and make the material less suitable as carpet beetle food (we actually add to the nutritional content of clothing by wearing it because of the oil and salts that are absorbed by the material). Place cleaned woolens in an insect-free chest or in a plastic tote. Mothballs can be placed in the tote or chest to provide additional protection. It’s a good idea to place the mothballs between two sheets of paper so as not to stain the fabric.

Persistent insecticides registered for use inside homes such as bifenthrin (sold as Ortho Home Defense Max) can be applied in storage areas (but not directly on clothing) edges of carpeting, baseboards, cracks and crevices. Great care should be taken when using this poison in the home. Be sure to read and follow all the instructions and safety precautions found on the pesticide label before using any pesticide.

Regards,
Howard.