black and brown larvae

Small Black and Brown Larvae on Cats’ Blanket

A couple of days ago a reader found some small black and brown larvae on the blanket her cats sleeps on. The cats’ blanket (and therefore the larvae) is lying on a hardwood floor in an undisturbed corner that hasn’t been cleaned for a while. The larvae appear to be limited to this corner, and they aren’t found anywhere else the cats go in the house. The reader was wondering what the black and brown larvae are, and specifically indicated that they might be carpet beetle larvae.

Along with all this helpful information, the reader sent along the following picture:

UPDATE! All About Worms has partnered with HealthLabs so that
you can get tested for parasites at a fully-qualified lab near you,
no doctor's visit required
! Check it out at HealthLabs.com!

black and brown larvae

While this is not the most cut-and-dried carpet beetle larvae identification we have ever offered, we are still quite confident our reader is, as she suspected, finding carpet beetle larvae, which are by far the most common creature we write about – probably by an order of magnitude at this point. More precisely, she appears to be finding black carpet beetle larvae (Attagenus megatoma). Like other species of carpet beetle larvae, they are attracted to keratin, a protein that the larvae eat that is found in (among other things) animal hair. An infrequently cleaned blanket on which cats sleep in an undisturbed part of the house is basically a carpet beetle larva’s dream habitat.

The picture above also looks like a black carpet beetle larvae, which have more elongated bodies than other types of carpet beetle larvae. The reader says that the creature she found is about a half of a centimeter long, and while black carpet beetle larvae can get bigger, a half centimeter is firmly within their normal size range. Despite their name, not all black carpet beetle larvae are black, but they frequently are, and the one above happens to be black anyway (with some brownish stripes, which isn’t uncommon).

No Paywall Here!
All About Worms is and always has been a free resource. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or make you give us your email address, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to pay our research authors, and to run and maintain the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep All About Worms free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did we provide for you today?:

So, for all the reasons we have just presented, it seems very likely our reader found carpet beetle larvae. Fortunately, they seem to be localized to one corner of the house, so getting rid of them shouldn’t be a major problem. The cat’s blanket should be washed, and the corner that it sits in should be cleaned with an eye toward getting rid of the accumulated cat hair. Barring a larger problem lurking beneath the surface, this should take care of the problem.

Summary
Small Black and Brown Larvae on Cats' Blanket
Article Name
Small Black and Brown Larvae on Cats' Blanket
Description
A couple of days ago a reader found some small black and brown larvae on the blanket her cats sleeps on.
Author

Leave a Comment (but to submit a question please use the "Submit a Question" link above; we can't respond to questions posted as a comment)

Menu / Search

All About Worms