Tiny Insects in the Bathroom

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We recently received a question via the All About Worms Facebook page about some “tiny” insects in a reader’s upstairs bathroom. The size of the insects is emphasized, and the reader reports that they can hardly be seen by the naked eye. As a point of reference, she says that they are smaller than a sesame seed, which certainly makes them very small, even in the insect world. The reader also reports that the insects are striped, and that they have a couple of hairs that visibly extend from their back ends, which stand in contrast to the little hairs that cover their bodies. The reader wants to know what she is finding, and she also wants to know why they are in her bathroom.

First, here is the picture the reader submitted along with her question:

tiny insect

As the reader herself notes, there is no scale in the image, so it is hard to determine the exact size of the creature, but it does look quite small. This is confirmed by the fact that the insect is smaller than a sesame seed, which is only about three to four millimeters long and two millimeters wide.

We dwell on the creature’s extremely small size because it presents difficulties for our identification efforts. When we first saw the picture our reader submitted, we thought it looked a lot like a carpet beetle larva (because it does look like a carpet beetle larva), and if this is the case, the reader is actually finding insect larva, as opposed to a fully mature insect. We still think this is the best suggestion we can make, but carpet beetle larvae are normally larger than a sesame seed. They are definitely small, but their length is probably more in the six to ten millimeters range. However, furniture carpet beetle (Anthrenus flavipes) larvae are a particularly small species, and they also have striped bodies that are covered in little hairs, including some longer hairs on their posterior end, so perhaps this is what our reader is finding. Furniture carpet beetle larvae are not quite as small as what our reader is describing, but they are pretty close, so we think this possibility is worth looking into.

As for what is drawing the creatures into the reader’s bathroom, it is hard to say, but in general there must be something about the bathroom environment, like a good food source, that is inviting to the creatures. If the reader is finding carpet beetle larvae, then something like hair, from people or pets, might be drawing the larvae since they feed on keratin, a protein found in (among other things) hair. Carpet beetle larvae go after things other than hair – they are attracted to a wide range of non-synthetic fibers – but we give hair as an example since a bathroom is a reasonable place to find accumulations of it. Of course, we have no idea what our reader’s situation is, so we are not trying to offer a specific diagnosis so much as illustrate the types of factors that might be contributing to the insect or larvae population in the bathroom.

Hopefully this is of some help to our reader, and we further hope that the creatures in her bathroom won’t prove to be a lasting problem.


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Tiny Insects in the Bathroom
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Tiny Insects in the Bathroom
The size of the insects is emphasized, and the reader reports that they can hardly be seen by the naked eye.

Share the knowledge

1 thought on “Tiny Insects in the Bathroom

  1. I have these in my bathroom. It is VERY tiny. From a standing position is looks like a very small piece of dirt or dust. Not carpet beetle. Lately I have also had a a small fly infestation. The full grown fly is about 1/8 the size of a regular house fly.

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