One of our readers recently reached out about a worm-like organism he noticed in his bed. He discovered it on his mattress when he was changing his sheets. The photo shows an orange/brown segmented organism. It has legs and is covered in thin hairs:
This is a carpet beetle larva. Carpet beetle larvae are likely the most common worms we discuss here at All About Worms. There are three different types: varied carpet beetle larvae, furniture carpet beetle larvae, and black carpet beetle larvae. The three types vary slightly in appearance but generally have similar lifestyles. They all eat household goods in a destructive manner and can be eliminated by an intense cleaning regime. We believe the larva our reader has discovered is a black carpet beetle larva.
Carpet beetle larvae eat a variety of items found around a home. They prefer carpet, upholstered furniture, animal products (wool, feathers, felt), and clothing, but they will eat dirt, small particles, dried foods, and just about anything else if their top choices aren’t available. Since they have such a broad diet and destructive eating habits, they are considered to be household pests. Therefore, our reader should act fast to get rid of the larvae so that he isn’t dealing with a full-blown infestation.
The first step will be investigating to find the primary food source. Since he found the larva on his bed, an item of his bedding is likely the primary source. He should check his sheets, mattress, bed frame, and pillows, looking for additional larvae or signs of damage. Anything that looks suspicious should be removed immediately, and either thrown out or professionally cleaned. Once the primary food source has been removed, he will need to start an intense daily cleaning regime. This will eliminate any larvae that are hiding out and any potential food sources they could take advantage of. He should dust, vacuum, sweep, and do laundry every day for 2-4 weeks, or until he is confident there are no more larvae lurking around. To prevent future infestations, he should clean his home every 2-4 weeks and make sure all of his windows and doors are properly sealed and screened.
To wrap up, we believe the orange creature our reader found in his bed is a carpet beetle larvae. He should start the daily cleaning regime we laid out above ASAP to ensure he doesn’t end up dealing with an infestation.