A reader recently sent us a photo accompanied by the question, “What the heck is this thing?” She explained that she found it on clean clothes in her laundry hamper. She thinks it might be a maggot, but would like us to weigh in on the identification of the specimen.
The creature in question appears to have a light brown segmented body with a darker brown head. While we can see why our reader might have thought this was a maggot, we are confident that it is actually a carpet beetle larva!
Carpet beetle larvae are extremley common household pests discovered by our readers. They feed on a wide variety of things found around a home such as carpets, upholstered furniture, animal products (wool, feathers, felt), pet hair, and bedding. They can survive for long periods of time without much to eat, and they can travel from room to room looking for food, which can make them especially difficult to get rid of.
Our reader will need to determine if these carpet beetle larvae are limited to the area around her clothes hamper, or if they are in several areas of her home. She can search for signs of them by looking for actual larvae, damaged materials, and fecal pellets (which look like dirt). Once she has discovered the main area (or areas) where these larvae are lurking, she can begin the process of getting rid of them. First she will need to remove anything from her home that shows signs of damage. She should either have it professionally cleaned, or throw it out if it is ruined beyond repair. Before bringing the item back into her home, she should begin to thoroughly clean the area. She should vacuum, dust, sweep, and do laundry every day to ensure there are no remaining potential food sources or unseen larvae eggs. We recommend she continue this daily cleaning regime for a few weeks, or until she is confident that her home is carpet beetle larvae free!
In summary, one of our readers discovered a carpet beetle larva on her laundry hamper. We have advised her to start a daily cleaning regime in order to get rid of these creatures.