We believe the creatures are carpet beetle larvae, not BSFL. BSFL, or black soldier fly larvae, are creatures commonly associated with composting because of their supreme ability to break down organic matter and return nutrients to the environment. While it wouldn’t be unheard of to find BSFL in a dirty food bowl, they aren’t a physical match for what our reader found. Carpet beetle larvae, on the other hand, are! Carpet beetle larvae are small rust-colored specimens covered in tiny bristle-like hairs that could easily be described as “spiky things.” Carpet beetle larvae are also known to eat pet food and pet hair, so it makes sense to find one in a pet’s food bowl.
Carpet beetle larvae are common household pests, and because of their long list of food preferences, they can be found in basically any room of a home. We don’t know if our reader is dealing with an infestation, or if a few have just camped out in this bowl. Our reader should investigate her home to determine if these creatures are localized to one location or widespread throughout her house. If the carpet beetle larvae are localized to her chinchilla’s bowl, she should simply clean out the bowl. She should empty all the contents into the garbage, soak the bowl to loosen up anything that doesn’t come off easily, and finally scrub out the bowl with soap and water and let it dry. If they are carpet beetle larvae present in more than one area, she will need to begin a cleaning regime ASAP! The first step is identifying the food source and removing it, and then vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and doing laundry every day for 2-4 weeks. For more information on dealing with a carpet beetle larvae infestation, our reader should check out this article!
To wrap up, based on the photographs and the description our reader provided of what she found in her chinchilla’s food bowl, we think she has discovered carpet beetle larvae. Although they can be annoying houseguests, carpet beetle larvae are not considered to be harmful or dangerous towards humans or pets.