There are well over 500 species of skin beetles found in the Dermestidae family. These beetles are also often referred to as leather, hide, larder, and carpet beetles. Most range in size from 1 to 12 millimeters. Most skin beetles tend to have a round shape with oval brownish scales. Typically, skin beetles feed on feathers, dead skin, dandruff, pollen, animal hair, dead insects, and other natural fibers. They can also be found inhabiting carcasses of dead animals, as well as nests formerly occupied by wasps, bees, and birds.
Problems for Humans and Animals
Even though carpet beetles are not known to bite living humans oar animals, they can cause a great deal of damage to fabrics and other natural fibers within a home or business setting. Some species can also consume grain, and thus contaminate foods used for animal and humans. Since carpet beetles also inhabit carcasses, they can also pose a number of problems in slaughterhouses and kitchens where meat is processed. While modern hygienic methods are supposed to control the presence of these beetles on farms, you may still find that infestations will occur from time to time. Needless to say, the pesticides most likely used in commercial applications may also cause problems if they get onto the meat, and into the food supply.
For the most part, keeping your home free of decaying animal matter is the best way to avoid an infestation of skin beetles. This includes making sure that your kitchen waste is removed on a daily basis, as well as making sure that food is not left out in other rooms. It is also important to vacuum and shampoo carpets and other areas where skin beetles tend to hide.
In many cases, skin beetles will get into your home after taking up residence in wasp, bird, and bee nests. Therefore, if you notice these items located around your home, it may be best to remove them as quickly as possible. While you may not want to destroy nests created by useful birds or bees, you can still try to move them to a location where they will not cause your home to become infested with skin beetles.
Many people that enjoy rare meat may not be aware that they are also consuming eggs from skin beetles. While these eggs may not pose a specific health risk, the meat itself may display characteristics of beetle infestation if left out in the open. Depending on the species of beetle, a single female can lay anywhere from 100 to 800 eggs during her lifetime. Therefore, if you happen to get a piece of contaminated meat, you can rest assured that throwing uncooked fat and gristle into the trash will result in an infestation of skin beetles. Aside from cooking all meat, eggs, and dairy products thoroughly, you may want to consider switching to a vegan diet in order to avoid exposure to these noxious parasites as much as possible.
Unfortunately, skin beetles can occur in just about any location where insects or other forms of animal protein are available as a food source. Today, these insects are known throughout the world for spoiling food, as well as infesting slaughterhouses, businesses, and homes.