We received these pictures from a woman who found the little critter in her bathroom sink and photographed it on a corner of a piece of toilet paper. She reports that it moves like an inchworm, its head appears large for its body, and that it has many tiny legs. In addition to finding the little guy creepy, she is concerned that it may be related to a recent lice epidemic in her child’s school.
The good news is that we can be sure that this little fellow has nothing to do with common head lice. Head lice move through three life-stages: nit (egg), nymph, and adult. None of those stages matches the description given. In fact, head lice do not go through any sort of larval stage at all.So, now that we know what it isn’t, we want to move on to deciding what it is. From the picture and her report that it moves like an inchworm, we can rule out creatures such as earthworms (the creature in question is too small, and earthworms do not have legs) and millipedes (millipedes don’t move like inchworms). With the data we’re given, it would appear that this is probably some sort of segmented larvae.
Given its size and location, it’s likely to be a common household pest, so we don’t have to look for anything too exotic. Likely, this is some sort of beetle larvae. The exact type of beetle is impossible to tell from the photograph and description given. The carpet beetle is very common but, typically, we would expect to see a carpet beetle larva’s body to have a slight cone shape, with the back being more narrow than the front. It could also be the larvae of some sort of moth. From the picture, it’s really impossible to tell.
Our reader may have just this one larvae, or there may be several. They are very good at hiding. The larvae eat things like dead skin cells and bits of food that end up littering our living spaces. They live in our carpets or clothes or just about anywhere else in the house. The good news is that none of these larvae is harmful to humans.
She didn’t ask how to get rid of the larva, but if she’d like to then we advise her to sweep and vacuum often! If you take away their food, then these little guys will go away. Otherwise, she should rest assured that there is no evidence that she has anything to worry about.