A reader just told us she found something interesting under her couch in her apartment in New York City. The creature was dead, but the sight of it shook her up a bit. She took apart the entire couch, which she got new one year ago, and cleaned it thoroughly. This is the first time she has seen a creature like this:
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This brown, segmented, oval critter is quite tiny! Thanks to the great photo from our reader, we are pretty certain that we know what this is! We believe this is (or was, since it is deceased) a black soldier fly larva! Since the name is long, we often abbreviate it to BSFL, but the scientific name is Hermetia illucens. Black soldier fly larvae are incredible decomposers, which mean they can break down organic matter and return nutrients to the soil and the environment as a whole. Since this is their primary role, when readers find these larvae it is usually in a compost pile, near a trash receptacle, and once even on a dead bunny rabbit. We don’t have any clues as to how this particular larva might have ended up under our reader’s couch. If she has a cat or a dog, they might have dragged it in. Or possibly it crawled there from the trash can or compost bin in the kitchen. Our reader should check the trash and compost bin to see if there are more of these creatures, and if so dispose of them and scrub out the trash can itself!
Based on the photograph, we are almost positive that this is (or at least was) indeed a black soldier fly larva. However, the larva also slightly resembles another creature we are familiar with. It looks a little bit like a carpet beetle larva without the hair. The body shape and color is pretty similar, but this creature doesn’t have any of the characteristic hairs, or if it does we cannot see them in the photo! Since the creature is deceased, the hairs could have fallen off we suppose. Our reader should investigate blankets and nearby upholstered furniture in search of more carpet beetle larva if she thinks this is a possibility. Typically, they are more of a rust-orange color and are lined with tiny hairs. Since she did already take apart the couch and didn’t find any other of these specimens, we doubt this is a carpet beetle larva. However, we figured we would mention it as being a possibility because we cannot be 100% certain just from examining a picture.
In summary, a reader from NYC found a dead critter under her couch. We think this was most likely a black soldier fly larva based on the appearance. However, we think there might also be a small chance that this is a carpet beetle larva. No matter which larva it truly was, she can keep critters like these out of her apartment by cleaning often and keeping openings to the outside environment properly sealed to prevent them from gaining entry.
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