After waking up to three of these buggers crawling along the corner of my pillow, my first instinct was to take a blowtorch to my mattress. Most people who are not experts at identifying insects would likely have a similar knee-jerk reaction after witnessing such a daunting scene. In my previously ignorant eyes, these appeared to be blood-thirsty bedbugs, and waging apocalyptic chemical warfare upon them seemed like my obvious fate. But before turning your bedroom into a hazmat disaster, do some research. You might find that your unwelcome guests attempting to spoon with you are far less threatening than they originally turned out to be.
These are carpet beetles, which are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. In their larvae stage, they like to feast on natural fibers such as hair, dead skin, as well as wool fabrics and carpets.
They are the true definition of a carpet muncher, a cleaner version of the derogatory term in this case. At this stage in life, they are rather reclusive, and typically reside in dark places such as closets, air ducts, etc.
Once they evolve into adults with wings (which normally takes anywhere between 1-3 years), their diet strictly pertains to flower pollen and nectar.
They are most notably fans of crape myrtle flowers, which is likely the explanation for the latest batch of them invading my room.
At this stage, they seek out sunlight rather than darkness, and can be found lingering around your windows, or on the edge of your pillow, sadistically bathing near the warmth of your foul breath of slumber.
In order to eradicate these bugs, your best option is to vacuum around the areas that they are most prominent. Under most cases, this action alone should take care of them. If I had only followed my own advice, I likely wouldn’t be in this situation.
But when you work an overnight job and commute four hours a day to and from college in the frantic bay area, making time for such things like vacuuming your room, tend to fall victim to procrastination. Anyone with a perceiving personality like mine, tend to have cluttered organizational skills after all.
Another way to keep their numbers down is to keep safe arachnids like cellar spiders, around; like the one below who was fed the carpet beetle from the photo above.
They are quite reliable in terms of pest control and even go after other spiders, like the free-roaming wolf spider below which learned a fatal lesson.
I've noticed at times that they can be fussy eaters and sometimes choose to throw prey out of their webs after catching them.
Nevertheless, they are good to keep around, as they have been known to kill off Brown Recluses and Black Widows, which should make them a welcomed guest in anyone's home.
But, back to the original subject. If you see eerie brown creepy crawlers slithering along your bed, do your best to research what they are before assuming they are bedbugs. It could save you a fair amount of money from not having to call pest control.