“I found this at the bottom of my clothes hamper,” says this reader about the brown and white-striped organism pictured below. Although our reader does not pose any questions in her submission, we assume that she wants to know what this is and how to handle it.
In an effort to rid her home of the bug, and any signs of its presence, our reader washed two sweaters from the hamper, as well as a shirt, and then threw out the rest of the clothes “out of paranoia.” In addition to this, she vacuumed the hamper, and sprayed it, as well as the floor and wall behind it, with lysol.
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From the picture our reader sent in, as well as the location in which it was discovered, we have concluded that this creature is a carpet beetle larva. Carpet beetle larvae are the immature form of the adult carpet beetle. These notorious pests feed on items in the home that are made from organic and/or animal-based materials (ie: leather, feathers, cotton, wool, and silk). The items can even be partially made from any such material. Places/items that people tend to find carpet beetle larvae on include upholstery, clothing, bed sheets, carpets and rugs, and even in bird nests in the attic.
When left unattended, a carpet beetle infestation can cause significant damage to household items. As such, there are certain measures one can take to control, eliminate and prevent such infestations. Of course, we are not saying that our reader is necessarily experiencing a carpet beetle infestation, but these methods might be good to know in the case that she finds more of these.
Measures of control and elimination include vacuuming infested areas continuously for at least two weeks (as well as the entire home, if feasible), and steam-cleaning any carpets that can withstand that sort of treatment. Measures of prevention include getting rid of unused garments and other items that are prone to carpet beetle infestations, or otherwise storing them in vacuum-sealed bags or cold vaults. Simple things one can do to prevent infestations of any kind include maintaining the bug screens in one’s windows, and sealing any cracks in walling and flooring.
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To conclude, the creature our reader found is a carpet beetle larva. These critters are not dangerous to humans, but they can be incredibly destructive in the household when their numbers increase and they are left to feed on the items in one’s home. We wish our reader the best!