Small, Skinny Worms Found on Boots and Stuffed Animals are Likely Clothes Pests

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“I have found what looks like a skinny, small worm”, states this reader in Queens, New York. She has not attached any photos, but asks that we provide her any information we can give, “which hopefully would include why this happens.” From the context she provides, she makes it sound like she has found many of these worms, stating that she found them on “the fur of my boots, certain sweaters, and stuffed animals that belonged to my daughter that were packed in a plastic bag.”

“By my description can you tell me anything about the above? I have decided just to place the worm in the bathtub and not in my closet.” We are not sure what she is referring to by “the above”, as there were no photos attached to her submission, but regardless we think that our reader likely found a clothes pest. The most common clothes pests are clothes moth larvae and carpet beetle larvae. Since there are no pictures of the worms she found, and she does not describe them further than being “skinny” and “small” (a description which applies to both clothes moth larvae and carpet beetle larvae), we are unable to say which of the two species they might belong to.

Black Carpet Beetle Larva

Regardless, both species possess similar behavioral characteristics, and the methods for controlling and eliminating their populations are virtually identical. We should also note that neither species are directly harmful to human or pet health. Both clothes moth larvae and carpet beetle larvae feed on organic-based materials, particularly those found in textiles. Such textiles include clothing and carpets (hence their respective names), as well as stuffed animals, pillows, sheets, towels, upholstery, and any other item that is even partially organic in make. Those organic materials include cotton, wool, leather, feathers, silk, and more.

Clothes Moth Larva

Controlling their populations consists of vacuuming one’s home (particularly the infested areas) and laundering infested items (and potentially infested items) several times over for a minimum of two weeks. If our reader has a steam cleaner, then steam cleaning one’s rugs and carpets is a good idea. Likewise, to prevent future infestations, she can make sure her window screens do not have any holes in them (if they do, replace them), and that there are not any large cracks in her walling and flooring through which critters could crawl. If there are, seal them with calk or another preferred sealing agent. Additionally, getting rid of or storing unused garments and textile items in vacuum-sealed bags will prevent clothes pests from having access to those items.

To conclude, we cannot say for certain what worms our reader found on the items in her home, though our best guess is that they are clothes pests of some kind. We hope this article helps, and we wish her the very best.

 

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Summary
Small, Skinny Worms Found on Boots and Stuffed Animals are Likely Clothes Pests
Article Name
Small, Skinny Worms Found on Boots and Stuffed Animals are Likely Clothes Pests
Description
"I have found what looks like a skinny, small worm", states this reader in Queens, New York. She has not attached any photos, but asks that we provide her any information we can give, "which hopefully would include why this happens."
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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