Carpet Beetle Larvae on Car Seats

carpet beetle larva in car

We received a question today from a reader who found some sort of worm-like bug in his car. The car had recently been used by someone whose house is infested with bed bugs, so at first the reader thought his car had bed bugs, but after doing some research, he concluded this likely isn’t the case. We think he is correct because there is a good chance he is actually finding carpet beetle larvae. We’ve written about carpet beetle larvae more times than we care to remember, but we’ve never heard of them showing up in a car before. So, we have new twist on an old theme – carpet beetle larvae were found, but in a car. What’s the deal with that?

The reader sent us several pictures, but only one of them was reasonably clear, so we’ve only included that image:


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carpet beetle larva in car

The reader didn’t actually ask any question – he only wanted us to “ease his mind” – so we can’t really direct this article toward any particular question. By merely indicating that we think he found carpet beetle larvae, and not bed bugs, we have perhaps already addressed our reader’s concern, but we’ll say a bit more about carpet beetle larvae, and how they might have ended up in a car, to fill things out a bit.

The term “carpet beetle” is a common name for a number of different types of beetles that people find around their home. These beetles belong to the family Dermestidae, and they tend to have round bodies that are covered with scales or setae (basically, hair). When people write to us, they have normally found the larval form of the beetles, and this appears to be true in the present case as well. It’s always hard to identify an exact species, but based on the picture above, our reader might be dealing with Anthrenus flavipes, or furniture carpet beetle, a relatively common species. The larvae feed on a variety of different non-synthetic materials (especially wool) and other items of animal origin, like hair and feathers, regardless of whether they are loose or part some manufactured good, such as a fur coat or pillow.

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Without knowing more about our reader’s situation, it is of course difficult to determine how carpet beetle larvae ended up in his car. We aren’t sure if carpet beetles were attracted to the car (perhaps because of the fabric of the car seats) and decided to make it their home by laying eggs there, which in turn gave rise to the larvae our reader spotted, or if a few errant larvae ended up there incidentally, after being inadvertently relocated to the car from wherever their point of origin might be. Given that the car came into contact with someone whose house is dealing with an infestation, we can’t help but wonder if this infestation is actually the work of carpet beetles, as opposed to bed bugs, since the two are frequently confused. (The skin irritation that carpet beetle larvae hair can cause for certain people looks a lot like bed bug bites.) If so, then it seems pretty certain that the carpet beetle larvae in the car came from the person whose house is infested. Perhaps items from the infested house were transported with the car, and a few larvae managed to linger behind. Of course, we have no idea, but since we’ve never heard of carpet beetles infesting a car, we are inclined to assume that the larvae were placed into the environment by accident, and therefore aren’t “native” to the car.

We could, however, be mistaken about this, and for that matter we aren’t absolutely certain he found carpet beetle larvae. However, the creature in the picture looks like a carpet beetle larva, and while it is unusual to find the larvae in your car, it’s not unthinkable. So, we recommend that our reader look into carpet beetle larvae so that he might confirm this is what he found, and if he is able to do that, he can then read about how to get rid of carpet beetle larvae. Also, he might want to inform the person with the infested house that he might be dealing with carpet beetles, not bed bugs.

Summary
Carpet Beetle Larvae on Car Seats
Article Name
Carpet Beetle Larvae on Car Seats
Description
We received a question today from a reader who found some sort of worm-like bug in his car.
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5 thoughts on “Carpet Beetle Larvae on Car Seats

  1. Hello,
    I had a Dove abandon her nest two years ago, outside of my window on a sill. I have had painful, crawling since then. I thought it was a mite, but I got a microscope and see that it is a parasitic worm. No question about it. The problem is, doctors arent really to educated about this. I litterally showed a Dermotologist a microscopic video , litterally of a picture of a worm ( I taped off my skin),, moving and she said, noting was wrong with me. I feel like Im in the Twilight Zone. Anyway, now that I know what they look like, Ive found hundreds of them in my house, in my car, evcen a few burrowed in the wood paneling, it looks like a part of the wood. But its not, I can see it change colors . So far, I have found only one doctor that believes me, he gave me a refferal to Infectolus disease, but in their genius minds, they turned me down. I have never experienced anything like this. Worse thing ever. And, Im worried about anyone who had contact with me the last two years when I went undiahghnosed.

  2. I found very small, brown & beige worm on my backseat of my car. They are in a cluster. Never had them before. What are They? How do I get rid of them?

  3. I know this post is nearly two years old but I definitely have larvae in my car upholstery. I do not know the precise species all I know is that it has been an absolutely horrifying and miserable, seemingly never ending, experience. I do believe they got into the vehicle when the pest control company handling both termites and carpet beetles at my former place of residence told me to put all of my bags of either washed or unwashed (I went with the washed option) into my trunk and back seat and to park outside and that the heat would kill them. This seems to make sense however, whatever this bug is seems to still be defying all logic, as they’re still very much alive. Any other ideas as to what could be living in a vehicle? These things are small and have really worked themselves deeply into the fabric making it difficult to extract an entire body. I can hear them “chewing” though at times and my seats have become less firm feeling quickly. Gosh, I seem insane. I am not. I do not feel bugs crawling on my skin; I do not pick at or see bugs nesting in or emerging from my skin….but I have become hyper aware of anything buggish after previous experiences so I do recognize that this hyper vigilance does exaggerate (unintentionally) the issue a bit. Did I mention the subterranean termite that poked its head out of my parents very beautiful, shiny wood floor on Christmas?! That alone terrified me and no, the termites are not in car. As expensive as it was to get rid of them, it’s generally a lot easier to eliminate termites (especially when/if your neighbors treat their homes at the same time). Anyway, just wanted to share that I have “bugs” in the car, as the author of the information above indicated that they hadn’t really heard of this happening before.

  4. I know this post is nearly two years old but I definitely have larvae in my car upholstery. I do not know the precise species all I know is that it has been an absolutely horrifying and miserable, seemingly never ending, experience. I do believe they got into the vehicle when the pest control company handling both termites and carpet beetles at my former place of residence told me to put all of my bags of either washed or unwashed (I went with the washed option) into my trunk and back seat and to park outside and that the heat would kill them. This seems to make sense however, whatever this bug is seems to still be defying all logic, as they’re still very much alive. Any other ideas as to what could be living in a vehicle? These things are small and have really worked themselves deeply into the fabric making it difficult to extract an entire body. I can hear them “chewing” though at times and my seats have become less firm feeling quickly. Gosh, I seem insane. I am not. I do not feel bugs crawling on my skin; I do not pick at or see bugs nesting in or emerging from my skin….but I have become hyper aware of anything buggish after previous experiences so I do recognize that this hyper vigilance does exaggerate (unintentionally) the issue a bit. Did I mention the subterranean termite that poked its head out of my parents very beautiful, shiny wood floor on Christmas?! That alone terrified me and no, the termites are not in car. As expensive as it was to get rid of them, it’s generally a lot easier to eliminate termites (especially when/if your neighbors treat their homes at the same time). Anyway, just wanted to share that I have “bugs” in the car, as the author of the information above indicated that they hadn’t really heard of this happening before.

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