One of our readers reached out to us about some tiny worms she found in her home recently. She first noticed them in the laundry basket where she puts her dirty clothes, but later found one in her sheets. She took a photo of one of the specimens, cleverly using a matchstick for size comparison. She wants to know what the creatures are and how she can get rid of them.
Thanks to our reader putting a matchstick in the photo, we can tell just how tiny this specimen is! It has a segmented brown body and a small tail made of what appears to be hairs. Here is a closer look:
We have some good news and some bad news for our reader. The good news is that we know what she is dealing with and we can advise her on how to get rid of these creatures. The bad news is that these household pests can be a real headache to deal with, so she will need to start working ASAP to eliminate them from her home.
These are carpet beetle larvae. Carpet beetle larvae are the most common household pests that we write about. They are especially annoying because they can eat basically anything, live for long periods of time without food, and sneakily travel to different rooms searching for additional things to eat. On top of that, their eating habits can be pretty destructive. They are known to destroy clothing, furniture, linens, rugs, and other household goods. The silver lining? Although these creatures aren’t exactly lovable, they aren’t dangerous in terms of health or safety. So, although she will have to work hard to say goodbye to these specimens, she doesn’t need to worry about her health while doing it.
How do you get rid of carpet beetle larvae? You clean! And then you keep rigorously cleaning for 2-4 weeks, or until there are no more carpet beetle larvae in your home. Our reader will need to start by finding and removing the primary food source for these larvae since it is likely crawling with additional larvae and potentially eggs. Since she noticed them in her laundry hamper and her bed, there might be more than one primary food source. She should investigate her closet, bedroom, and bedding for signs of these larvae. We recommend she keep an eye out for the larvae themselves as well as the dirt-like particles they leave behind. Once she has identified the primary food source, she needs to get it out of her home ASAP. If it is possible to have it washed, she can have it professionally cleaned or wash it herself. If it isn’t easy to wash, we recommend she dispose of it and replace it. Although it is never easy to say goodbye to your things, it is surely better than dealing with a full-blown carpet beetle larvae infestation.
Once the primary food sources have been removed, she should begin the cleaning regime we mentioned above. She will need to do many loads of laundry. Since these larvae might be in her closet, we think it would be smart to wash all of her clothes, even those that didn’t seem to be infested. Ditto to her bedding and any linens. She will also need to sweep, dust, and vacuum her bedroom and closet, and any other room in her home where she found larvae, every single day. This doesn’t have to last forever, but at least a month will ensure that there are no more larvae or eggs lying around, and the cleaning will help eliminate small particles that could serve as food sources to any other larvae sneaking around.
We assume our reader might feel overwhelmed by the task that lies ahead, but she can take comfort in the fact that these are common household pests and plenty of people deal with them. She can do it! And if she feels the task is too big to handle alone, she can always call in a professional for reinforcements. Best of luck to our reader!