Small, Brown Worms with Stripes on the Counter

A reader recently wrote to us about, as the title of this article suggests, a small, brown worm with stripes on the counter. (The worm was on the bathroom counter, more precisely.) The reader sent pictures of the brown striped worm and was merely wondering what it is. She was very matter of fact in her email, not seeming particularly alarmed by the small worm, nor did she ask how to get rid of it, so we presume she is dealing with an isolated incident and not a recurring problem. (She did add the word “blah” after her short email, so she wasn’t altogether happy with finding the worm either.) So, we have a simple question before us: what is the small, brown, striped worm on the bathroom counter that our reader is finding.

Let us begin with the reader’s picture:

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Larvae on counter

The reader also sent this screenshot of what we presume is her iPhone:

Larvae on counter iphone

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We’re not entirely sure what to make of these images. The pictures seem to feature different creatures because their body color and stripes don’t seem to perfectly match – they are also obviously on different surfaces – although this conceivably could be a matter of lighting. In any case, they certainly appear to be the same type of creature (whether the reader took both photos is unclear), and we are fairly confident this creature is a carpet beetle larva. And since we think it’s a carpet beetle larva, the “worm” our reader found is not in fact a worm.

Carpet beetles are a type of skin beetle, the various species of which make up the family Dermestidae. Carpet beetle larvae are one of the most common (perhaps even the most common) creatures we write about. People seem to find them all the time, and we probably answer a question about them every month or so. For this reason, our reader certainly didn’t find anything unusual, and the fact that they are found all the time of course lends support to our “carpet beetle larva” hypothesis. In general, carpet beetle larvae remain out of view, preferring to stay in dark parts of the house, like in closets or under furniture, but it isn’t strange to find them in the open, like on a counter. They are regarded as a pest because they eat a variety of different fabrics, including carpets, but also things like furniture and bedding. There are a number of different carpet beetle species, but based on the colors (brownish/tan with dark stripes) of the creature pictured above, we think our reader found a varied carpet beetle larva, but we can’t be certain of this.

Indeed, we can’t be certain our reader even found a carpet beetle larva. She might have found some other type of larva, although it does look like a beetle larva. (What she found also looks a bit like a flour beetle larva, for instance.) However, given that what our reader found looks more or less exactly like a carpet beetle larva and that these are very common household pests, we think this is probably what she found.

17 Comments

  1. Tomeka Mcwilliams

    I found a few of those little critter in my room at the head of my bed behind the bed and one in bed at the foot on my sheets. I do have carpet and what i found is identical to the first picture. Where do they come from and how do you get rid of them?

  2. AHHHHHHHH I ate Them

    I was eating chocolate not thinking to check the date. When I finished most of them I found tiny bites marks on the chocolate and the malt filling was all gone, but I ignored that. Once I finished the chocolate there were these tiny larvae in the bottom. I quickly check the date and the Chocolates expired 5 YEARS AGO!!!!!!! I search what they were and found they looked exactly like that. I went and told my sister and she told me she saw that same type of bug outside and saw eggs by them. She said she was curious so she took the eggs inside to see if they hatched. And I think I ate the bugs : ( Im so grossed out… bleh!

  3. Linda

    I have these same bugs in my kitchen and livingroom, with little black bugs that fly. Twice I thought I got rid of them and even redid my kitchen and they are back. What is the answer to getting rid of these horrible things. In my kitchen cabinets which I just cleaned out again had them in it, they like paper and eat it.

  4. Sandra

    How do I get rid of these things, are they harmful to humans?I don’t have any carpet.

  5. peepee

    mine lives in dust and thats so disgusting when our vaccumrobot takes that up yuk

  6. Gbc

    I grilled a cheese sandwich on a foil plate in a 400 degree oven. I transferred it to a clean plate right out of the dishwasher, then noticed the creature you all have described wriggling on the rim of the plate. It must have been hiding in the oven but how did it LIVE for 8 minutes in a hot oven? I almost ate the darn thing!

  7. neil

    I was just looking for a pill cuz i ran out and found 100 of these in my couch, holy christ are they gross but thank god for the stripes cuz that makes them a little cuter than larvae otherwise I’d be throwing up right now.

  8. Jojo Cota

    Do they bite or harm humans or animals

  9. Sally

    I’d like to know how to get rid of them too they don’t seem to live very long

  10. Nancy Murray

    I hv two 2 dogs never ever seen these on top. of my bed. Tiny brown one andanother pinkish tinier one. ??

  11. Three different kinds if worms and bugs but they are only in my kitchen behind my stove and frig we have moved them many times sprayed and swept them up but they still come back crawling on the counters I think they’re coming from the roof it is a really old roof need replacing this only happens when warm weather is here its worse this year rain seems to make it worse they are brown some small some big to an inch crawl on The counter and on the floor

  12. Shay

    How do I get rid of these? They’re so gross and annoying to have..

  13. How do I get rid of these carpet beetles

  14. anna morris

    I have found large and up to about inch to a foot. They hide in my woodstove, under beds, and other furniture, and also in bathrooms. I have also little whits larva with tiny black bugs in them that bite the crap out of me. These little black bugs are getting in all food and believe or not in my freezer, frig and canned goods. I slao find slim that is white and clear. We have an infestation I know. My husband works long hours and goes to bed at 7. He never sees them and told me I needed to be commited. I have bi-polar so him and my kids think i*m seeing things because of that. My clothes and blankets I holes in them. Also there has been some strange things happening in my yard sine early summer. Now there are sticks sticking up straight in yard and moving at night. I have picked up a leaf and it jumped out of my hand. I am terrified and have lived in fear all summer long. I even left at one point and got a apt. What can I do and what are the big snake looking things in my house that only come out at night. But the larva stay out and i also have seen them in strings and I would put them in toilet and they move. I can’t sleep or eat anything in my house. They are in my car and I am scared to drive it. They bite in car to. I have also found long white things in my yard and under mulch. I know we had maggots outside. As I sit here and writing to you I can hear them moving in my woodstove. I hear them knock down things at night. Please help me. I dont have any pictures that I can send because I don’t know how. LOL.

  15. Stacey

    I just found a similar worm and have been very ill,does my Furbaby have worms? Or is this something fluky! Cause I don’t have carpets and am finding these worms everywhere,and have vacuumed and disinfected and washed all bedding and clothing and they are still in my place! Help!

  16. Dana Watson

    I too found a big cluster of them under my dresser. I went to pick up a pair of Pj’s under the dresser and I found them! Yuck! I vacuumed then up, is there anything else I should be worried about? My 2 month Olds crib is only a foot from where I found them. I’m so grossed out!

  17. How do I get rid of carpet beetle larvae? Please I hate to see them under my bed and I don’t even have a carpet please help

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