I dusted and vacuumed my collection corner today, and later found this beetle walking up the wall. It was just a dot, like a fleck of dust, but when I looked closely, I could see a hint of legs. A varied carpet beetle, Anthrenus verbasci.
These, up close, are attractive beetles, with the tortoise-shell markings and the nicely rounded back. They fly readily, and enter houses through any tiny crack. In this stage, the adult, they do no damage, as far as I know. Except that they lay eggs.
Actually, the eggs aren't a problem, either. Except that they hatch in a couple of weeks, and head directly for the goodies.
Food: The larvae of this pest will feed upon a great variety of animal and plant products, such as carpets, woolen goods, skins, furs, stuffed animals, leather book bindings, feathers, horns, whalebone, hair, silk, fish manure, and dried silk worm pupae. Also it will attack plant products such as rye meal, cacao, corn and red pepper.Well, they're welcome to any dried silk worm pupae or fish manure I have around the house (none), but not to my book bindings, nor anything else on that list.
(From PestControl Canada.)
Here's the larva I found in my laundry basket a couple of months ago, munching on a woolen blanket.
Question; do two adult carpet beetles, two larvae in 4 months constitute an infestation?
Question number 2: how do I get rid of them?
From PestControl Canada, again;
Carpet beetle controls include eliminating the beetles by cleaning or destroying infested items (clothing, food products, etc.). Often, the source may be difficult to find or there may not be a single source. A major part of carpet beetle prevention and control is thorough vacuum cleaning to prevent the accumulation of lint, hair, and other carpet beetle food materials. ... Pay close attention to areas where lint accumulates (corners, baseboards, shelves, etc.). Be sure to dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag after you clean. Clean or dispose of infested clothing, cloth, blankets and other fabrics. Freeze-treat small items such as ornaments and fur toys by placing them in the home freezer for a week. Periodic brushing and sunning of stored fabrics is helpful in prevention and control.I noticed today that the vacuum cleaner I have been using does not deal very well with the edges, at the baseboards. And that's where the eggs will be. Looks like I'll have to dig out the old monster with the good crevice tool.
Store fabrics that contain wool or other animal fibers only after they have been brushed and cleaned. Storage in tightly sealed chests or storage closets is recommended. Cedar chests provide protection only for fabrics that are initially free from carpet beetles and clothes moths. Moth crystals,flakes or balls can be used...
I may be bug-tolerant, but I do have my limits.