Light Brown-striped Bugs in Hand-made Gloves are Carpet Beetle Larvae

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“I found this bug in the crevices of a pair of hand-made gloves I have”, writes Lexi about the light brown-striped bug pictured below. “I found two within the gloves and both appeared dead (or at least not moving). I put those gloves in a plastic bag for now. I think they may be carpet beetle larvae but I’m not sure. The gloves have been in a wooden closet for a number of months along with some other winter things and jackets. I inspected everything that was on the same shelf as the gloves and found no other bugs in the other clothes (which were like scarfs and hats and hoodies). Regardless I threw what I could in the dryer and used a steamer on the rest. Do you think this is a carpet beetle larva? Or something else? What does it mean that I’ve only found dead ones on one piece of clothing and none (living or dead) on anything else. These gloves have been untouched in the closet for months, and even before that I did not wear them often. If they are carpet bugs, can the eggs live on surfaces like phones? How easy do eggs transfer from one surface to another, say by wearing a hat on your head? Thank you in advance!”

To begin with, we want to thank Lexi for the excellent photo. Because of it, we can confirm that she did indeed find carpet beetle larvae in her gloves. She seems to be familiar with how to handle them as well, as the next steps she took are all the ones we would have recommended she take. Now, she poses some really interesting questions about the nature of their discovery. It is definitely really weird that they were found dead, considering they were found in their ideal habitat: in the middle of a piece of clothing that they can munch on! For context for our other readers, carpet beetle larvae feed on textile items, particularly those made from organic materials like cotton, wool, feathers, leather, or silk. We don’t really have a good answer to Lexi’s question, unfortunately. The only thing we can think of is that these carpet beetle larvae have been sitting in the gloves since the last time Lexi wore them, and when she did, she was outside long enough for the cold to kill the larvae. We do not know how plausible this is.

Now, to answer her other questions, carpet beetle eggs would survive on a phone’s surface, though it is unlikely that they would be laid here in the first place. The adult beetle prefers to lay their eggs somewhere that will provide food for the larvae: carpets, bed, wardrobes, or even bird’s nests. Besides, the eggs would likely have gotten rubbed off if they were laid on a phone. When it comes to how easy it is for the eggs to transfer, there is no sure answer we can give to this, but we imagine that they can be transferred if one infested textile rubs up against another. Lexi does not have to be too worried about eggs being transferred from a hat to her head. Carpet beetle larvae can cause rashes if one is allergic to them, but the eggs would wash out of her hair before they would have a chance to hatch.

To conclude, we agree with Lexi that she found carpet beetle larvae in her gloves. The fact that they were found dead is definitely strange, and we invite any other readers to add their theories in the comments section below if they have any. We hope nonetheless that this has helped to some degree, and we wish Lexi the very best!

 

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Summary
Light Brown-striped Bugs in Hand-made Gloves are Carpet Beetle Larvae
Article Name
Light Brown-striped Bugs in Hand-made Gloves are Carpet Beetle Larvae
Description
"I found this bug in the crevices of a pair of hand-made gloves I have", writes Lexi about the light brown-striped bug pictured below. "I found two within the gloves and both appeared dead (or at least not moving). I put those gloves in a plastic bag for now. I think they may be carpet beetle larvae but I'm not sure. The gloves have been in a wooden closet for a number of months along with some other winter things and jackets. I inspected everything that was on the same shelf as the gloves and found no other bugs in the other clothes (which were like scarfs and hats and hoodies). Regardless I threw what I could in the dryer and used a steamer on the rest. Do you think this is a carpet beetle larva? Or something else? What does it mean that I’ve only found dead ones on one piece of clothing and none (living or dead) on anything else. These gloves have been untouched in the closet for months, and even before that I did not wear them often. If they are carpet bugs, can the eggs live on surfaces like phones? How easy do eggs transfer from one surface to another, say by wearing a hat on your head? Thank you in advance!"
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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