One of our reader’s discovered some small bug bites on her grandson’s arms and is on the hunt for the perpetrator. She hasn’t seen any spiders or bed bugs, but did catch a suspicious specimen crawling near a rug on their hardwood floor. She captured the creature in a photograph and wonders if it could be the cause of the bug bites. Here is the specimen she discovered:
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She said this creature is 1/4″ long and moves very slowly. We recognized the tail, segments, and shape of this specimen instantly. This is a carpet beetle larva!
Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetle larvae do not bite humans. The mouth of a bed bug is designed to break skin and suck blood, while a carpet beetle larva’s mouth is optimal for chewing on plants and fibrous materials. However, carpet beetle larvae have tiny hairs protruding from their bodies which can irritate human skin upon contact. Sometimes the larvae shed these hairs and they can easily be scattered around a household causing unsuspected irritation. The irritated skin actually looks a lot like bed bug bites, so carpet beetle larva might very well be the source of the bites on our reader’s grandson’s skin.
We hear from readers all the time who discover carpet beetle larvae in their homes. These larvae are often thought of as pests because they can be destructive towards linens, towels, bedding, and other materials. They eat animal fur, dust, feathers, and other various materials in a household. In order to eliminate them, our reader must find the primary source of the infestation. This might be the rug near the floor that she mentioned. It could also be a dog bed, a pair of socks, or maybe an item of upholstered furniture. Once our reader finds and removes the source she can begin the process of getting rid of these creatures. We also recommend cleaning to eliminate dust from her home, as dust is another potential food source for carpet beetle larvae.
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In conclusion, a reader asked us about some bug bites that she discovered on her grandson’s arm. She sent us a photograph of a potential source, and we identified it as a carpet beetle larva. Carpet beetle larva do not bite, but they do have hairs that can cause skin irritation.