A reader recently reached out to us from Minnesota. He explained that he found a worm-like organism on top of a pile of dirty laundry. He also noticed a skin or shell nearby. Like most of our readers, he is curious about the identification of the mysterious specimen. He sent us a few photographs, the first of which shows a dark creature on the end of a Q-tip. The photo is a little dark, but we can see a distinct head and three prolegs:
Right away we can see that this isn’t a worm since it has legs. We believe it is actually some species of larvae. We don’t know for sure if it is a type of fly larvae or beetle larvae. Our first thought is that it might be a carpet beetle larva because carpet beetle larvae are common household pests and readers find them near clothing sometimes since they eat wool, feathers, felt, and other clothing items. However, this creature doesn’t exactly resemble a carpet beetle larva. Carpet beetle larvae have segmented bodies covered in tiny hairs, and that doesn’t match the next photo that our reader sent:
So, if this isn’t a carpet beetle larva then what is it? Unfortunately we can’t identify this specimen with confidence. There are a handful of different types of larvae that look similar to this specimen, but we aren’t sure which it is. Some of these include mealworms, clothes moth larvae, and pantry fly larvae. Out of these three options we think the most likely identification for the specimen our reader found is a clothes moth larva, but again we aren’t completely confident about this. If our reader suspects he might be dealing with clothes moth larvae, he should launder all of his clothes and vacuum, sweep, and dust his closet or the area where he keeps his clothes/laundry pile. Even if he doesn’t think this is a match, cleaning is almost always the best way to get rid of common household pests!
To wrap up, one of our readers found a mysterious larva on his pile of dirty laundry. We aren’t sure which type of larvae he is dealing with, but we think it might be a clothes moth larva.