A reader recently asked us, “What type of worm is this?” She sent us a photograph of a small worm-like organism. The photo is a little dark, but we believe the specimen is brown/orange colored. It has a segmented body and has several long hairs making a tail-like appendage. We recognized this specimen at once! This is a carpet beetle larva.
There are three different species of carpet beetle larvae: varied carpet beetle larvae, furniture carpet beetle larvae, and black carpet beetle larvae. Based on the photograph, we believe our reader has found a black carpet beetle larva. Regardless of the species, getting rid of carpet beetle larvae simply requires cleaning. We will elaborate below.
Our reader didn’t include any information about where she found this larva, but chances are its food source is nearby. Black carpet beetle larvae are known to eat animal products like wool, silk, feathers, hair, leather, dried meats, dead insects, and sometimes even dried plant material. Our reader will need to remove the primary food source from her home as soon as possible to stop the infestation from spreading to other areas of her home. Once it is removed, she can either throw it out if it is damaged beyond repair, or have it professionally cleaned to ensure there are no more eggs or larvae hiding out in it. She will also need to stick to a dedicated cleaning regime in order to eliminate other potential food sources and to clear out any remaining larvae. This should include dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and doing laundry every day. It is important to stay on top of this routine until she is confident there are no more carpet beetle larvae in her home!
In conclusion, one of our readers sent us a photo of a brown organism she needed help identifying. We are confident that the creature is a carpet beetle larva.