“I found this worm-like creature on my pillow today”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the light brown, striped critter pictured below. “I need help identifying what it is, and would like any other helpful info you may have. It has some strands coming out of one end of it. Thank you!” Firstly, we want to thank our reader right back, for sending in her submission to us. Secondly, we want to present our reader with an identification: the worm-like creature she found is a carpet beetle larvae. Unfortunately for her, carpet beetle larvae are notorious house pests which can spawn massive infestations that can damage a lot of the items in her home.
That said, there are ways to control and eventually eliminate these infestations, and on top of that, just because our reader found one of these, does not necessarily mean she is experiencing an infestation. Carpet beetle larvae are clothes pests, generally speaking. This means that they feed on clothes, as well as the carpets they are named after. But that is an oversimplification. The truth of the matter is that carpet beetle larvae feed on any soft material that is organically-based, or even partially organically-based, in make. Such materials include cotton, wool, silk, leather, feathers, and more.
The first thing our reader should do is see if she has more of these larvae in her home. Hopefully she does not and this was a fluke, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Since she found this one on her pillow, she should check around that area. She may also want to check her wardrobes/closets, particularly in drawers. Carpet beetle larvae love to hide in cramped, dark spaces. If she finds more, she will want to vacuum/steam-clean her home and launder any potentially-infested items multiple times, for a minimum of two weeks. To prevent future infestations, it is helpful to get rid of unused textile items, or store them in airtight containers. Likewise, making sure that one’s window screens are intact, and that there are no sizable cracks in the walls and floors, is important to keeping lots of critter out.
To conclude, the worm-like critter our reader found on her pillow is a carpet beetle larva. We hope she is not experiencing an infestation, but if she is, we hope she is able to combat it as soon as possible. We wish her the very best!