A reader recently sent us this message from France, “A few months ago I found the shells of bugs while removing some bed sheets from my bed. They were in between the sheet and the mattress protector. I also found then in a plastic bag with linens and clothes inside. Today while removing the bed sheets from my son’s bed, I found 2 more of these shells and also saw some larvae crawling between the sheets and mattress protector. I didn’t know what to do so I put everything in the washer, but I have some questions about them. Are they only interested in linen? Do I need to clean plush toys? Can they invade his closet where his clothes are? Should I also clean the mat in his bedroom?” We will provide answers for all of our readers questions, but first let’s have a look at the photo she sent:
Based on the message from our reader and the photograph, we are confident that she is dealing with carpet beetle larvae. These household pests are extremely common and we have written many articles about them, which our reader can reference for more extensive information, but we will answer her questions and fill her in on the basics about carpet beetle larvae first. These larvae sure do like to eat. In addition to mattress protectors and bedsheets, they eat a whole list of materials and items found around a house. Some of these things include fur, feathers, wool, pet hair, pet food, carpeting, clothing, and upholstered furniture. Due to their large appetites, they can be extremley destructive if left ignored. Therefore, our reader shouldn’t wait any longer and should begin the process of getting rid of them immediately. On the bright side, getting rid of them is relatively straightforward, it just requires cleaning. On the not so bright side, the cleaning must be thorough in order to successfully eliminate the larvae and their food sources. Our reader will need to sweep, vacuum, dust, and do laundry every day until she is confident there are no more carpet beetle larvae lurking in her home.
Now on to our reader’s specific questions. Yes, carpet beetle larvae are interested in more than linen. We aren’t even sure that they are eating the linen sheets, they might be feeding on the mattress stuffing or a different bedding item. We don’t know that carpet beetle larvae eat plush toys, but it is certainly a possibility, so we recommend that she wash her son’s plush toys just to be on the safe side. These larvae can certainly make their way into the closet to feed on her son’s clothes, which is why it is so important that she begin cleaning immediately, not just his bed, but his entire room, in addition to any other areas where she noticed larvae. Finally, we also recommend that she also clean the mat in his room. As we mentioned, carpet beetle larvae feed on most things, and it is always good to be on the cautious side and clean too much rather than too little. If our reader wants to read more about specific cleaning tips for carpet beetle larvae, she can check out this article.
To wrap up, we believe the worm-like organisms our reader found on her son’s mattress are carpet beetle larvae. Although these organisms are considered to be pests, they typically aren’t thought of as harmful or dangerous.