“I found about 10 of these last week on a little couch in my bedroom and thought they came from a cardboard box” states this woman in Las Vegas, NV. Our reader wants to know if this is a carpet beetle in the photo below or “something else.”
Our reader states that, at first, she thought the critter came from a cardboard box containing fresh produce, and after she got rid of that box, she did not find any more of these until the night she sent us her query. Additionally, she mentions that she removed some clothing off a shelf in her closet, some of which had been sitting there for over a year. She also included the picture below, which displays the stuff that “looks like white rice” that our reader found on the clothes, as well as behind the shelf that housed the clothes.
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Now, when it comes to the organism pictured in the first photo, we can confirm that this is a carpet beetle. To be specific, it is the larval form of the carpet beetle, and not the adult form as our reader suggests. Its lack of legs and wings tell us this, as well as the features that are specific to larvae that this creature possesses, such as its bristles and stripes. That said, we are not entirely sure what the “white rice” is: it could be carpet beetle eggs, though we doubt they would be this large, as they tend to be quite difficult to spot with the naked eye. Of course, we do not know how zoomed in this photo is, so this could very well be the case. Alternatively, if our reader notices that they look like tubes, then these could be the silken tubes of the casemaking clothes moth larvae, which would imply that our reader is dealing with infestations of two different clothes-eating pests. Naturally, these identifications are made based on the premise that these are indeed organisms; perhaps they are just pieces of lint, or something else that is/was not alive.
Regardless, the method for controlling and ridding one’s home of either species is the same. Firstly, one will want to locate the source of the infestation, which our reader already seems to have done: her closet. This is where the bulk of the cleaning will take place, though the entire home should be cleaned for good measure. This brings us to the second step, which is to vacuum up the source of the infestation (in this case our reader should vacuum up all the rice-looking pieces of matter she found), as this will get rid of any eggs that will have been laid. Thirdly, our reader will want to launder all of her clothing in the closet that is made (or partially made) from organic materials. Such materials include, but are not limited to, cotton, leather, wool, feathers, and silk. Lastly, in order to prevent future infestations, our reader should, of course, make sure that there are no obvious entrances through which bugs can enter her home (tears in window screens and cracks in walling and flooring, for example).
To conclude, the brown-striped creature is definitely a carpet beetle larva, and the fact that she has found ten of them indicates that she is experiencing an infestation. We are not sure what the rice-looking things are, though we would assume that they are carpet beetle eggs, or the discarded tubes of casemaking clothes moth larvae. Regardless, we hope that the advice listed above comes to use and that it is sufficient in helping our reader deal with this infestation.
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