A reader recently sent us this message, “I found what seems similar to a carpet beetle larva on my bed, but the appearance is a bit different than the pictures on your website. This thing had no hairs (or legs), and did not have a darkening of color on the abdomen. When I went to kill it, it curled up. I attached two pictures, one shows it next to a piece of Kleenex for size comparison.”
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As our reader noted, the first photograph shows just how tiny the specimen is compared to a Kleenex. Other than the size, all we can confirm about the identity of the organism from this photo is that it is dark colored. Let’s look at the second photograph for a close-up of the creature in question:
The specimen has the same tear-drop shape, rusty orange color, and segmented body as most carpet beetle larvae. However, as our reader pointed out, there are no bristle-like hairs covering its tiny body. Despite the absence of these tiny hairs, we still think that this specimen is probably a carpet beetle larva. Not only is the appearance almost a total match, but a bed is also one of the most common places that people discover carpet beetle larvae. Of course we can’t guarantee with 100% certainty that she is dealing with carpet beetle larvae, but we think it’s very likely.
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Carpet beetle larvae eat a wide range of materials, including animal products such as feathers and wool, both of which are often used to stuff mattresses, pillows, and comforters. So our reader should investigate the rest of her bedding for more of these tiny larvae. If our reader finds more carpet beetle larvae then she will need to start the cleaning process to get rid of carpet beetle larvae immediately. Left ignored, a carpet beetle larvae infestation can grow to be quite a destructive event since they feed on so many materials found in a house and can travel among rooms to search for food. Our reader will need to have all of her bedding professionally cleaned, and she will need to vacuum, sweep, dust and do laundry every day until she is confident there are no more carpet beetle larvae in her home.
If our reader doesn’t discover any more of these larvae in her bed or home, then it seems that what she is dealing with is not actually a carpet beetle larva despite the similarity in appearance. We aren’t sure what else it could be, but if she only found one specimen, then she can simply remove it from her bed and move on since she won’t have to worry about an infestation.
To wrap up, one of our readers found a brown worm-like organism in her bed. Despite the lack of bristle-like hairs that are typical for most carpet beetle larva, we still believe that this is what she is dealing with.