Our reader has sent us a photo of what she describes as tiny worms. The photo unfortunately doesn’t provide enough detail to describe what she’s got all over the wardrobe and clothing in her daughter’s room.
The dark color indicates that it’s likely not a moth worm, which are typically white with a brown head. From what we can see of the larger of the images, which we believe to be on a drawer pull for scale, the “worms” look more like ants, and appear to have lobes, or bulges, or a head and body.
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If they are wormlike, the specimens are possibly beetle larvae. Carpet beetles or “larder beetles” of the Dermistidae family thrive on dead skin cells, dry plant material such as pollen, animal hair, feathers, dead insects and natural fibers. The larvae are small and typically brown. The photograph doesn’t show whether the insects or worms have legs, little hairs or hooklike prongs or jaws at one end, so narrowing an identification down beyond that is not possible by the information provided.
Our reader is concerned for her daughter’s health and clothing, and while there may not be immediate physical danger of bites or holes in clothing, it will be helpful to do a deep clean of the clothing, the carpet, and the wardrobe inside, outside, and under the drawers and top. Some types of Dermistidae like to burrow shallowly into soft and semi-hard materials like chipboard and wood. It will also be important to find the source of the beetle larvae and scrub the wardrobe and the wall and floor behind it. This can help remove larvae, adult beetles, eggs, and the food sources for the larvae.
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