After finding a ‘single, extremely tiny, larva-looking worm’ in the ‘cracks’ of her mattress, this reader wonders if this is a flea or not. She is already in the process of treating her cat for fleas, but has not seen a single adult flea in over a month, and so wonders if she will need to treat her house again for fleas. She adds that she never actually saw any fleas around her house, but only on her cat.
It is difficult to tell from the photograph exactly what this larva looks like, but it is clear from its coloration that it is not a flea larva. Flea larva tend to be transparent, with a dark stripe running along the inside of its body. This creature is seemingly brown in color, which leads us to believe that it is likely a carpet beetle larva. This would also make sense given where it was found. Carpet beetles are common household pests, whose larvae feed on animal-based fabrics. Such fabrics include clothing, carpets, and upholstery, but in addition to this, carpet beetle larvae have been known to feed on pet hair. However, they do not bite animals or humans at all, and are completely harmless.
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On the other hand, they can do quite a bit of damage to one’s clothing and other textile items. Therefore, one will want to get rid of the carpet beetle immediately, as an infestation of these critters can become difficult to deal with really quickly. We will simply give a basic outline of the steps, as our reader reports only finding one, and so it may not be necessary to act as if an infestation were occurring. If our reader does wish to get a more detailed outline of these steps, she may feel free to read one of our past articles on carpet beetle larvae.
Nonetheless, what our reader will basically want to do to eliminate this potential infestation is vacuum any larvae and eggs that she finds. As she has only found one, perhaps she will not find more. She will also want to launder and/or steam-clean all the textiles and surfaces that could possibly have been affected. To prevent further infestations, she can vacuum-seal unused textiles and seal any cracks in her window screens and walls.
In conclusion, the tiny larva-looking worm our reader found in the crack of her mattress is a carpet beetle larva. These harmless creatures can pose quite the problem in the household, so we are hoping that this discovery of the carpet beetle larva was a one time occurrence. If not, then our reader can either read the previously-linked article for more detailed instructions on how to deal with an infestation, or write to us again.
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