“I saw this worm in the den on the carpet at my parents house” says this reader about the black, segmented worm-like creature pictured below. Our reader, who is based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, asks if we can tell him what it is.
In addition to the picture, our reader also tells us that his parents own a wood-burning stove, and so they bring in wood daily. We assume this is to tell us that this might be how the creature came into the home, and with this we definitely agree. From the glossy, segmented exoskeleton, to the pincers on the creature’s rear, this critter’s appearance screams beetle larva, and we think that might be exactly what this is. What species exactly we cannot tell; it somewhat resembles a ground beetle larva or caterpillar hunter larva, but not quite. Either way, there are still some general facts we can provide our reader about beetle larvae and how to handle them.
With hundreds of thousands of beetle species existing today, it is virtually impossible to make any blanket statement about beetles and their larvae. Their coloration can vary from the glossy black of this larva to creamy whites or burnt oranges. Their diets can also vary from the leaves of plants, to animal-based fibers, to other animals themselves. Multiple species of beetles have even been known to infest homes, such as the carpet beetle larvae or the wood boring beetle larvae, though the creature our reader found does not resemble any common beetle pests that we know of.
What our reader might want to do is check his parents home for more roaming larvae, in case this actually is an infestation. If he does find more, then his parents may want to consider employing a strict cleaning regime for a couple of weeks that includes plenty of sanitation and vacuum-cleaning. Places he and his parents may want to search include underneath and behind furniture, inside cupboards and drawers, piles of clothing, the attic and/or basement (if applicable) and the air vents (if possible). Of course, if our reader does not find more larvae, then he needs not worry about this. That said, if he is still curious about the exact species of this beetle larva (provided it a beetle larva), what he can do is put the creature in a container with some air holes and various types of food (seeing as we do not know the species), which might include leaf litter, smaller bugs and some type of grain. This way, the larva may continue to mature and develop more distinct characteristics, then begin pupation, and eventually emerge as a fully-grown beetle that may be easier to identify. If our reader is not concerned about the specific species, then we advise that he simply move the larva outside and call it a day. We do advise wearing gardening gloves or some kind of protective gear for the hands if and when handling this critter, seeing as it possesses pincer-like appendages on its rear that it could use against our reader.
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To conclude, the worm-like creature our reader found in his parent’s den is a beetle larva, though we cannot be sure what species it belongs to. Although the information in this article was quite general, we hope that something proves useful, or at least insightful, to our reader. We wish him and his parents the best!