“Please help me identify these”, writes Erin about the white, worm-like critters pictured below. “I was doing my weekly sweep and hand mop and found a bunch of these in the dining room by the window. I don’t see any place of entry and I do not know what they are. They have fat little bodies and a reddish brown face. They were all around my table on the floor, over a dozen.” Firstly, we just want to express our empathy with Erin: it really is an unpleasant surprise when you find creatures in your home that were not invited. Secondly, we want to thank her for the great photo she sent in. It really helps us narrow down the possible identifications.
With that said, we think that these are beetle larvae. Unfortunately, we will not be able to say with 100% certainty what species of beetle these are, as a lot of beetle larvae look the same: a segmented white body with a black/brown head is about as generic an appearance as you can get for beetle larvae. That said, we do think these could be southern lycus beetle larvae, based on the side of the head and the shape of these larvae’s bodies. We hope for Erin’s sake that these are not southern lycus beetle larvae, because these creatures are some of the most destructive, wood-eating pests after termites.
That said, Erin has luckily found these larvae before they managed to burrow into her table (which we assume was their target), and so her job here is easy: move the larvae outside, as far away from her home as possible. Of course, given their destructive capabilities, we would understand if Erin would rather just kill them. We rarely recommend this, as we believe organisms have inherent value and seldom need to be killed. But there are exceptions, such as those creatures that negatively impact the lives of those whose homes they infest. The risk with letting them outside is that they just come back in, or that they find someone’s else’s home and start destroying their wooden furniture. In any case, we recommend Erin scour the rest of her home for more larvae, as well as any adult beetles, and that she get rid of those too, in whatever way she sees fit.
In conclusion, the worm-like critters Erin found are definitely beetle larvae, though what species in particular we cannot say for certain. We think they look like southern lycus beetle larvae, but they could very well be something else. We hope this helps and we wish Erin the very best!
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