We recently heard from a reader who found about 5 worm-like organisms on his bed throughout the last month. He wrote, “they are slinky-like with segmented bodies. They move on their bellies but seem to have tiny feet. They are brown/red and white, pill-shaped, and shiny.” He also mentioned he had an itchy rash on his leg that he thought might be related to them. The first photograph he sent shows one of the specimens next to a purple refrigerator magnet for scale:
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The location that our reader discovered these specimens combined with his description and this photo all lead us to believe that he is dealing with carpet beetle larvae. Carpet beetle larvae are extremely common household pests, and the most likely organisms that someone would find on their bed. Carpet beetle larvae eat all sorts of things including materials that are often found in bedding such as wool and feathers. As our reader described, these larvae are pill-shaped with orange/brown, segmented bodies.
Since our reader has only found a few of these larvae, we don’t think he is dealing with a full-blown infestation, but he needs to act fast! When carpet beetle larvae go ignored, they can become extremley destructive and annoying. Our reader should start investigating his bedding to figure out which item is the primary food source for these larvae. Everything should be washed, and anything that shows damage or signs of carpet beetle larvae should be removed. If his mattress looks like it could be the source, he should consider having it professionally cleaned or replaced. Once the food source has been identified and removed, our reader should begin an intense cleaning regime to make sure that all of the carpet beetle larvae are gone. He should do laundry, dust, sweep, and vacuum every day to ensure there are no more larvae, eggs, or potential food sources in his room. He should keep this routine up until he is confident his home is free of carpet beetle larvae, or for a minimum of two weeks! Although it can be annoying to stick with, it is extremley important and the only way to truly say goodbye to these pests. Our reader also sent us a picture of the rash he mentioned:
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While carpet beetle larvae aren’t typically considered to be dangerous or harmful, some people do experience a skin allergy known as carpet beetle dermatitis when they come into contact with the hair-like bristles that carpet beetle larvae are covered with. Since we aren’t medical professionals, we aren’t licensed to diagnose carpet beetle dermatitis, and we also can’t offer medical advice of any kind. So, if our reader is worried about his health, then we suggest he visit a doctor!
To wrap up, we believe the small worm-like organisms our reader found on his bed are carpet beetle larvae! Carpet beetle larvae are common household pests and, like most larvae, require thorough cleaning in order to get rid of.