Identify this bug
March 6, 2011 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me this is not a bedbug, and tell me what it is.

I found it crawling around the bed sheets. It's tiny, roughly bedbug-sized, and bedbug-shaped, but to my tentative relief it doesn't really look like the photos of bedbugs I've seen. Also, no sign of bites. Can anyone tell me what this is, and what I should do about it, if anything?
posted by PercussivePaul to Science & Nature (15 answers total)
Nope. Some kind of beetle.
posted by yarly at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2011

Best answer: That's a carpet beetle. Despite the Wikipedia picture of them crawling all over a skull, they're pretty harmless.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that's not a bedbug. I don't know what it is, but I wouldn't worry about it unless you find more than one of them.
posted by geegollygosh at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2011

(And by more than one, I mean an infestation.)
posted by geegollygosh at 11:14 AM on March 6, 2011

That's a carpet beetle, probably anthrenus verbasci. It won't bite you, but its larvae might eat little holes in your clothing or other fabric. One or two probably isn't much to worry about, though.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:18 AM on March 6, 2011

Yup, carpet beetle. My mom calls them "cotton eating bugs" but I don't know if they have a preference for cotton over other fibers.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:41 AM on March 6, 2011

Carpet beetle.
posted by synecdoche at 11:48 AM on March 6, 2011

I should say more. We had them last year and had to get an exterminator in. They're not terribly harmful but eat wool and other natural fibers.
posted by synecdoche at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2011

Know your bedbugs
posted by briank at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, I wonder if those are the larvae I had on my sweaters. Huh, I'll have to keep an eye out for the beetles.
posted by maryr at 12:07 PM on March 6, 2011

Best answer: Definitely carpet beetle. They eat fiber. Keep them away from your wool sweaters & yarn. I'm a knitter and I had some of these guys show up, and it was fairly traumatic. You can freeze items you think might be affected to kill off the buggies, if you have any sweaters etc. that are particularly dear to you.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:02 PM on March 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice.
So far I've just noticed the one little guy... how do I know if there are more? Should I quarantine and/or seal up my wool sweaters as a precaution?
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:06 PM on March 6, 2011

I think that you might want to store your sweaters with moth balls, to keep any other carpet beetles that might be around away.
posted by misha at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2011

Seal them up, dude, and pop the sealed sweaters in the freezer for 48 hours if possible. I have been waging siege warfare against Virginia ham beetles in a natural history collection for years at work, and once they're established, pest beetles are hella difficult to eradicate. Deny them their snacks! BE RUTHLESS NOW.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:32 PM on March 6, 2011

Carpet beetle larvae look like this, and are the ones that actually eat the wool.

In my experience with carpet beetles, they are mostly a bother when you leave or store things on the floor. If you keep your wool sweaters on a shelf or hung up in the closet, it's unlikely they will be infested. However, to be safe, you may want to store sweaters in a sealable plastic tote or other airtight container (like giant Ziploc bags). You don't have to store your sweaters with mothballs (yuck).

To eliminate any problems before you put your sweaters away for the season, you should do as UN! suggests and freeze thems. Several freeze-thaw cycles are best because it lets eggs hatch, then kill the babies.
posted by cabingirl at 5:36 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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