“I keep finding these small caterpillar-like bugs in my bathroom”, states this reader in her submission regarding the bristly, brown worm-like creature pictured below. “Found two in the bathtub, one in the toilet and most just crawling on the tile floor. They are usually crawling alone. I have searched and searched but cannot figure out what they are. But they are gross and freaking me out! I just would like to know what they are! And how do I get rid of them? I trapped one in a plastic tube. It is eating a piece of rice. It’s black with one tan stripe all down its body. It has three sets of legs I think, so like six legs. I hope you can help, thank you!”
Based on the photo alone, we would say that this is a carpet beetle larva. Its bristles, shape (starting bulbous at one end and tapering down to a finer point), and the three sets of legs our reader mentioned all point to this conclusion. Additionally, though it seems like it’s a solid brown color in the photo below, in the next picture we see its underside (which shows the tan stripe our reader mentions), as well as the striped nature of its top side. That too shows us that this is likely a carpet beetle larva. Although their preferred diet is organic-based textiles, they have commonly been found in bathrooms. After all, towels are usually made of cotton, which carpet beetle larvae would love to munch on.
That said, it is still strange for them to have been found in the bathtub and the toilet, as there would be nothing for them to eat here. This had us starting to doubt our identification, and we started considering other bugs that this might be. We wondered if these might be drain fly larvae, which are more commonly found in toilets and bathtubs, as they come up from drains to feed on decomposing organic matter. Plus, they too are brown or black with stripes. However, drain fly larvae do not possess prolegs like the carpet beetle larva, and our reader specifically mentions seeing legs. Besides, this creature still looks far more like a carpet beetle larva than a drain fly larva. Similarly, it is curious that this larva started munching on a piece of rice that our reader gave them, because carpet beetle larvae do not usually eat grains. That said, the adult carpet beetle does eat grains, rice included, so perhaps the larvae will too if given no other choice.
Given the number of larvae found, it is possible she is dealing with an infestation. Luckily, she seems to have discovered it early on, at the source, and the infestation seems to be concentrated in the bathroom. We suggest that she vacuum her bathroom and launder any of the textiles in there. That should suffice in dealing with the problem if they are only being found in the bathroom. That said, it would still be worth checking her home for more larvae. If she finds more, then vacuuming those areas and laundering the items from that room will be necessary to control and eliminate the infestation.
In conclusion, we think that the worm-like critters our reader has been finding all over her bathroom are carpet beetle larvae. Our theory is that an adult carpet beetle laid its eggs somewhere in the bathroom, and these newly-hatched larvae are exploring their environment, which is why they are being found in locations that they might not normally go to. We hope this article helps and we wish her the very best!
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