Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny brown bugs in cabinets
Hello! I have found these tiny brown bugs in our kitchen cabinets (pics attached). Mostly in pots or pans, or other things that haven't been used for a while. I find the skins more often than a whole bug, but have seen a few live ones as well. I'm not seeing them anywhere else.
I live in the southern Colorado mountains, in a very dry climate.
Can you tell me what these are, if they're harmful, and how to get rid of them?
Thank you for your time.
Thanks for including the images. They are larvae (and shed molts) of carpet beetles, family Dermestidae. Not sure which genus you are dealing with, but the general life history and food preferences are the same regardless.
Because well over 75% of the questions I receive have to do with carpet beetles, I am cutting and pasting my standard response:
Your bug is the larva of a carpet beetle (family Dermestidae, genus Anthrenus
). Here is more information:
Yours would be the "Varied Carpet Beetle," Anthrenus verbaci
, or a closely-related species.
One of these days I will put together my own fact sheet....Keeping your home clean of accumulating shed hair and skin flakes from people and pets always helps. Storing dry food (including dry pet food) in glass or metal containers with tight-fitting lids is essential. Put woolens and furs in a cedar chest.
Do NOT use chemical controls. Mothballs (naphthelene) are ineffective and moth crystals (paradicholorobenzene) are potentially carcinogenic.
Hope the above links and information help. Simply discard any infested items.
Nine times out of ten, the insect that best fits such a generic description, and found indoors, is a carpet beetle in the family Dermestidae (genera Anthrenus, Trogoderma, and Attagenus in particular). Carpet beetle adults are not really a problem, and in fact help pollinate some kinds of wildflowers. The larvae, on the other hand, are the insect equivalent of juvenile delinquents.
Carpet beetle larvae feed on all manner of dried animal products, including, but not limited to: pet food, taxidermy mounts, cured meats, insect collections (like mine, ARG!!), wool blankets and garments, silks, furs, even the accumulated shed hair of pets and people.
All you have to do is find the infested item(s) and discard it (them). To prevent future infestations, store all vulnerable foodstuffs in glass or metal containers with tight-fitting lids. Store woolens, furs, and silks in a container inside a cedar chest, as cedar has proven repellent qualities and is not carcinogenic, unlike moth crystals.
You can find many images of carpet beetles and their larvae online, including:
and also in my book, the "Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America." Feel free to get back to me if you can conclusively rule out carpet beetles (keeping in mind there are many species and much individual variation in color and pattern), and I'll try again. You can find more information on their control at any .edu website that addresses carpet beetles or "stored product pests" in general.
You will find all the information you need in the links above.