ID these bugs found in my closet (possibly gross)

Autumn has finally come to this part of the country, so when I went out to run some errands today, I went into my closet to grab my coat. My closet is where I keep my clothes and a bunch of other knick-knacks - mostly old CDs, stacks of books, and anything else I don’t have room for elsewhere. Imagine my horror when I found several small weird bugs clinging to it! I had things to do, so I picked them off, put it on, and went about my business.

Much later in the day, I did a more thorough inspection of my closet and found the floor of the closet was absolutely rife with the beasts. Most of them were either dead or just plain not moving, and the ones that were moving just sort of crawled along very slowly. They were all in my books and some of my CD box sets, and some of my clothes that had fallen on the floor had dozens or hundreds of them on them.

I spent several hours cleaning them out of my books and throwing some away, along with the clothes they’d gotten into, and swept the closet clean where I also found a layer of fine brownish “sand” that I assume was either their eggs or their droppings. They hadn’t gotten into my hamper or my main clothes box, and the only ones I found on my clothes were a handful on the hanging-up coats that had been touching or near the floor. They’d done some damage to some of my books, mostly around the dust jacket and the edges of the covers. They hadn’t done any damage to my clothes that I could tell - they were all over some of the ones on the floor, but there wasn’t a single one in the hampers. I took a picture of some of the bugs and of the sand, which I uploaded here and here.

What am I dealing with here? I was terrified that they were bedbugs at first, but upon looking online they don’t look anything like bedbugs, and more to the point, they aren’t anywhere near my bed - i’ve looked all around and not seen any outside the closet, I haven’t had any unexplained bites lately, and they haven’t bothered my cat (who often sleeps in the closet). I read that the “sand” piles could indicate termites, but they don’t look anything like those either.

I’ve lived here three and a half years and never seen these things before, or ever in my life either. I got every single one of them I could find out of my closet tonight, but doubless there are more that I can’t see. Does anybody know what these creatures are and how I can get rid of them?

Probably carpet beetles. The things in the photo are molted skins of the larvae.

Yup. Those look like carpet beetle larvae to me, too. They prefer natural fibers like wool, cotton, and fur. If your clothes on the floor had natural fibers, they had a good spot to colonize.

Yeah, definitely looks like carpet beetles.

I’ve gone through my clothes box and found more of them than I found at first. I’ve thrown out a bunch of old clothes I was probably never going to wear again anyway and I’m currently washing all the rest of my clothes on hot to kill any live ones, as well as a bag of cat food that they got into. Once the clothes are washed, i’ll be plastic-bagging them for now.

Is there anything I can stick in my closet for now to stop them coming back once I’ve cleaned it thoroughly? I’ve done some reading that mothballs and no-pest strips shouldn’t be used in a closet adjacent to a bedroom. I’ve also read that cedar chips either 1) kill them, or 2) do nothing.


A little sprinkle of diatomaceous earth, you can find it in the pest control area of your local hardware store, or at a natural foods store - whichever is closer, really.