We recently received this message from one of our readers, “I found hundreds of worms or larvae on my couch. Even after I vacuumed they kept appearing a few minutes later. What are they? I washed all of the pillow covers and sprayed the couch with alcohol. Do I need to get rid of the couch?” She didn’t elaborate on what the mysterious organisms look like or include a photograph for us to examine.
Sadly, without a picture or more information, it will be impossible for us to determine what specimen our reader is dealing with or advise her on whether she should throw out her couch. Based solely on the location that our reader found these creatures in, we think she might be dealing with carpet beetle larvae. Carpet beetle larvae are tiny, teardrop-shaped creatures that are common household pests. They have rusty orange or brown colored bodies that are segmented and lined with tiny bristle-like hairs. If our reader thinks this sounds like the creatures she found on her couch, then she can continue to read to learn how to handle a carpet beetle larvae infestation.
Carpet beetle larvae are some of the most headache-inducing household guests for a few reasons. First, they eat a wide range of items found in a house and their feeding habits tend to be quite destructive. Also, they can travel among rooms looking for new food sources and survive for long periods of time without eating. This means that they can be especially difficult to say goodbye to. The first thing our reader will need to do is remove the primary food source from her home. Based on what she wrote, we believe this main food source is probably her couch (carpet beetle larvae are known to eat upholstered furniture.) She should remove the couch from her home and have it professionally cleaned if possible. Once the couch is gone, she will need to look around for other areas that the carpet beetle larvae might have snuck into. Anything that looks suspicious should be removed and cleaned as well. If she isn’t sure, she can always err on the side of caution and purchase some diatomaceous earth to sprinkle around her home. Diatomaceous earth, or D.E. for short, is a powder made up of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. It kills carpet beetle larvae and other insects upon ingestion, but it is harmless for humans and pets to eat. If our reader decides to go this route, she should thoroughly clean her house before and keep up a strict cleaning regime until she is confident her home is free of carpet beetle larvae. This cleaning regime should include doing laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting every day to eliminate potential food sources.
To wrap up, one of our readers reached out to us about hundreds of worm-like organisms she found on her couch. We weren’t able to identify the creatures since there was no photo or description, but we think it is possible she is dealing with carpet beetle larvae. If our reader doesn’t think this is a match, then we encourage her to send in photographs or additional details about the creatures.