Worms were found by this reader in her infant’s bassinet, and she wonders what they could be. The worms appear to have segmented bodies, with long bristles extending from the entirety of their bodies. One of them is black in color, and the other brown.
It is clear to us that these are carpet beetle larvae. Carpet beetles are pests of the home, but are not a health threat to its inhabitants, and so our reader needs not worry for the safety of her infant, nor for herself. Despite that, carpet beetles are tricky little critters, and can prove to be quite the interruption to one’s normal day-to-day life. This is because the larvae of the carpet beetle (which is what our reader found) are incredibly destructive and can go unnoticed for a long time, silently eating away at one’s home. They eat through animal-based materials, doing so while hidden in dark, cramped spaces where they are unlikely to be found. However, when they are spotted, they are usually caught red handed on the very materials they are eating, whether that is in between the folds of a sweater, underneath an upholstered piece of furniture, or on an infant’s bassinet.
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To rid her home of carpet beetle larvae, our reader will want to perform acts that will eradicate the infestation and get the pests out of the house, as well as apply measures that will prevent future infestations from occurring. Our reader did not specify how many of the larvae she found, so we cannot say for certain if she is dealing with an infestation or not, but our reader can find out for herself by looking for more roaming larvae. As previously mentioned, they can be found in small, dark spaces where they can feed in peace on textiles that are either completely or partially animal-based. Where the carpet beetle larvae are most concentrated is where the source of the infestation will be. Our reader will want to vacuum up that spot, but may also want to vacuum the entire home for good measure (or if the infestation is widespread).
Then, she will want to launder or steam-clean all materials that would be prone to a carpet beetle larva infestation. Now, the first larva (pictured above) is black in color, which may indicate that it is a black carpet beetle larva, a species of carpet beetle larva which does not discriminate between fabrics, and will also eat 100% synthetic materials. In that case, our reader may even want to clean her synthetic materials as well. For any materials that she feels may be at risk but cannot be laundered or steam-cleaned, she could alternatively freeze the fabrics to kill any eggs or larvae that may be present. If that is not possible, she will have to make do with whatever method is safe for the material and do her best to clean it; even using a lint roller may do some good! The vacuuming and cleaning of fabrics should be repeated several times a week for about two weeks (less if the infestation does not seem to have gotten that serious, and even less if our reader does not think she is experiencing an infestation).
Lastly, our reader might want to apply some methods of preventing carpet beetles, or any bug for that matter, from entering her home. These methods tend to be the same for most invasive critters, and include ensuring that her window screens are without tears and are good quality (as the black carpet beetle larva could potentially eat through a window screen!), sealing cracks in walling and flooring where possible, and storing unused garments (and other textiles) in vacuum-sealed bags, cold vaults, or other places where the material would be safe from a larva crawling through (wardrobes and chests are probably not your best bet).
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In conclusion, the “worms” our reader found on her infant’s bassinet are carpet beetle larvae. They are not harmful in any way toward humans or pets, so our reader can rest assured that her infant is safe from these critters, but they can be harmful to the home. For that reason, we encourage our reader to have a look about her home and see if she can find any more of these larvae. If she does, and she has reason to believe they are infesting her home, then we recommend that she applies the methods listed above to eradicate and control the infestation so that she can have a pest-free home. The best of luck to her!