What are these bugs in my wooden chest that eat paper (and cat toys)? How can I get rid of them for good?
A few months ago I cleared out a wooden chest of drawers that had sketchbooks in it. There were a bunch of small, brown insects that seemed to be eating the paper. I wiped the drawers out with some kind of household cleaner, and transported the (now empty) drawers to my new apartment.
A week ago, I saw one of the bugs on top of the drawers while I was cleaning. I opened the drawer, and a bunch of the things were all over the only item in there, a feather cat toy. Once again,wiped it out and threw away the cat toy. I couldn't see any more, but I left a single piece of paper to see if I could draw out stragglers. Sure enough, this week one or two were hanging out around the edge of the drawer (although not, oddly enough, on the paper itself).
I took a picture, but my cameraphone is not so good for small details, so it's basically a fuzzy blob.
Still, you can see the size vs my thumb & approximate shape.
I did a search on "bugs in wood furniture". They're not powder-post beetles (wrong shape). One suggestion was bedbugs, which freaked me right out, but I don't think that can be right. I mean, I would have noticed bites by now, and there don't seem to be any signs of them in my mattress. Plus, they're not quite the right shape and I don't think bedbugs eat paper or whatever fake feathers are made of. (do they?) They're also not silverfish or book lice. Further searches on "paper eating bugs" just got me results on the topic of bugs as food, which I guess would be one way to get rid of them, although not my preferred method.
-I'm in Southern California.
-No idea what kind of wood the drawer is made of.
-They don't seem to be eating the wood, but they're definitely hiding in the places where the different pieces join, and obviously I can't see in there. There may be more damage than I see.
-They move at a pretty decent, but not too fast, pace when poked at or if I shine a light on them, but they don't seem to move unless bothered. The ones on the feather didn't seem disturbed at all when I picked it up to throw it out.
-They're dark brown with very light bands, which I think indicates segmentation. They seemed to 'curl' around the strands of the feather, although they don't roll up into balls like pillbugs/rolly-pollies.
They can flatten themselves a bit, making squishing them difficult. They have two little 'hairs' on their butts like reverse antennae, the same way crickets or silverfish do (only very very thin and tiny). There are also larvae, which are about half the size, and look like every other larvae I've seen.
-Can't see a distinct head/abdomen division.
-Might have more than six legs, but they're so tiny I can't tell, and I don't have a magnifying glass handy.
-They don't seem to have spread to other parts of the house, although the one that was on top of the drawer makes me nervous.
What the heck are these things? (Please not bedbugs.) I want to use the drawers, but these things seem to be spontaneously generating from the wood! How can I get rid of them, and know for sure they're gone?