One of our readers recently sent us a picture of a creature that she found in her cupboard in a plastic bowl. She wrote, “I was wondering if you could tell me what this is and what I have to do to get rid of it.” Here is the photo she sent:
The photo looks a little warped, but we think that is probably because of the plastic bowl the worm-like organism is in. The specimen is really small and a bit blurry. That being said, we think this might be a carpet beetle larva. It has the same shape and coloring, and carpet beetle larvae are discovered by readers all of the time. Before we go on about carpet beetle larvae, we want to say that it is definitely possible this is some other organism, but based on the photo this is the identification we are making!
Carpet beetle larvae are extremely common household pests. They eat a wide variety of items found throughout a house and their feeding habits can be quite destructive, which make them particularly annoying houseguests. They eat linens, animal products (fur, feathers, leather, etc.), dried goods, pet hair, pet food, and other small particles found throughout the home. Readers usually discover them in their bedrooms, where they munch on bedding or clothing, but this time our reader found one in her cupboard. We assume this cupboard is home to just dishware and not food since our reader didn’t mention any food items or use the word “pantry.”
The first step to getting rid of carpet beetle larvae is finding the primary food source and getting rid of it. Our reader will need to investigate her kitchen in search of additional larvae in order to figure out what the main food source is. They might be eating something in her pantry, her dish towels, or be feeding on small crumbs that have been left behind. Once she finds the main food source, she should remove it immediately to prevent the larvae from spreading. Depending on the item and how damaged it is, she might either decide to wash it or throw it out. After the primary food source has been taken care of, she will need to thoroughly clean her entire kitchen to ensure there are no more food sources and to eliminate any remaining larvae. She should clean all of her cupboards, her pantry, her drawers, and all the crevices in her kitchen, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and doing laundry. We recommend she keep up this cleaning regime every day for 2-4 weeks, or until she is confident there are no more larvae in her home. Since she only found one single larva, she should easily be able to prevent a full-blown infestation from occurring!
To conclude, we think the specimen our reader discovered in her cabinet is a carpet beetle larva. Getting rid of carpet beetle larvae depends solely on cleaning! As long as our reader sticks to the cleaning regime we laid out, she should be able to say goodbye to these household pests in no time.
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