“Is there a worm that can live off of fabrics as well as wooden structures?” asks this reader in his submission. “I’ve been seeing damage to wooden furniture as well as drywall and fabrics in our home. There’s also a dramatic increase in the quantity of dryer lint produced when I do laundry. Like I mean an extreme amount. Our clothing and bedding is riddled with holes and loose threads hanging down. There’s also strange markings on walls and ceilings (etc.) that I can’t explain. These weird fuzzy web looking things that appear to be growing out of the wall, I don’t know? Do we have some sort of house pest or is there something else contributing to these issues? I’ve been searching for answers and coming up empty. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
Right off the bat, we will say that we will not be able to provide a confident or certain identification of these creatures, as none of the photos our reader sent in depict any worm-like creatures that behave in the way our reader describes and that we are familiar with. On that note, we will say that our reader is likely dealing with multiple different organisms. As far as we know, there are not any worm-like critters that eat fabrics as well as wood, so these are likely two different species. Common pests that feed on fabrics include clothes moth caterpillars and carpet beetle larvae. Clothes moth caterpillars do produce webbing, but the kind of webbing that our reader photographed looks far too intense to be produced by such tiny caterpillars (unless the photos are magnified). Pests that burrow through and eat wood include wood boring beetle larvae and termites, though we have not identified anything in our reader’s photos that looks like either of these critters. In any case, when you think you might have something eating your wood, the best course of action is to consult a professional. Wood-eating pests are no joke: they can chew through the foundations of one’s home and cause significant damage to its structural integrity.
Now, when it comes to the growths on our reader’s walls, we want to suggest an alternative to this being webbing from a clothes moth caterpillar. This could be some type of mold/fungus. It might also be worth consulting a professional about this, as letting mold grow in one’s home can be very damaging to one’s health. When it comes to the fabric-eating pests and the degradation of our reader’s items, the best course of action is to launder any infested and potentially-infested items: those made from organic fibers like cotton or wool (even if they are only partially made from them!). Likewise, vacuuming one’s home will eliminate any unseen eggs or larvae roaming about.
In conclusion, we are not entirely sure what it is our reader could be dealing with, but from the sound of it, he is likely experiencing infestations of various types of organisms: fabric-eating pests, wood-eating pests, and maybe some type of fungus. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best!
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