We recently heard from a reader who discovered tiny worms all over her bed and mattress cover. She explained that a week prior to finding the creatures in her bed, she found them on the bathroom counter as well. She said that she has a cat that has fleas, and that her roommate has a dog who may or may not have fleas, but the dog only goes into her roommate’s room. She wants to know if the “tiny worms” she found are flea larvae, and if they aren’t, she would like to know what they are. This is the photograph she sent us:
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Since the photo doesn’t show much detail about the organism, all we know for sure is that it is small and dark. In addition to the photo, she sent us a video that shows the small specimen moving across the mattress cover. In the video, we can see that the worm is thin, and probably about 1/4 inch long.
Our first thought was that she had found carpet beetle larvae, since carpet beetle larvae are small, dark, and feed on bedding and mattress stuffing. However, the specimen in the video doesn’t look like a carpet beetle larvae. So, could she have found flea larvae?
Since she has a cat that definitely has fleas, this could be a possibility. We are hesitant to confirm this identification for a few reasons. First, the creature in the photo and video seems too large to be flea larvae. Flea larvae are usually about 1/10 of an inch long, and sometimes can only be identified clearly under a microscope. In addition, flea larvae hate light and usually live somewhere dark like the cracks of a floor board. We aren’t sure why flea larvae would be residing on a bathroom counter or in a bed.
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Although we aren’t sure what our reader has found, we do have some general advice for getting rid of these unwanted visitors: cleaning! These specimens are probably feeding on something in our reader’s house. She should clean to eliminate any potential food sources and unhatched eggs. We recommend that she wash her bedding and mattress cover, and vacuum, sweep, and dust all areas of her house!
In summary, a reader discovered some small worm-like organisms in her bed.
We aren’t sure what the creatures are, but we recommend that she clean, clean, clean, and also that she take her cat in to get treated for fleas if she thinks it has them!