One of our readers recently wrote to us from Phoenix, Arizona. She explained that she has found 3-4 worm-like organisms in her clothing. She doesn’t know what they are, but worries how they might affect the rest of her household, including her pets. In addition to the creatures, she noticed a few of their “skins” on her clothing as well. The photograph she sent us shows a tiny, rust-colored, and segmented organism:
This is a carpet beetle larva. The good news is that carpet beetle larvae are extremley common household pests and they aren’t dangerous towards humans or pets. The bad news is that these larvae are known to be quite destructive and can be pretty annoying to get rid of. Since our reader has only found the specimens among her clothing, hopefully their presence is limited to her closet and she isn’t dealing with them in multiple rooms of her home.
The first step to getting rid of carpet beetle larvae is finding the primary food source and removing it from her home. We believe this food source is an item of clothing in our reader’s closet. She should go through all of her clothing and remove anything that shows signs of carpet beetle larvae. We recommend she wash this item of clothing, as well as any other clothing nearby since they might be hiding other larvae or eggs. Once the food source has been removed, our reader will need to stick to a thorough cleaning regime until she is confident that her home is free of these annoying creatures. She should do laundry, sweep, dust, and vacuum every day to eliminate unseen larvae and eggs, and to get rid of any small debris that might be serving as a food source. Since carpet beetle larvae can sneak between rooms searching for food sources, we recommend she apply the cleaning regime to her entire house and not just her closet!
In summary, one of our readers discovered carpet beetle larvae and skins on some of her clothing. We recommend she begin cleaning to get rid of these larvae immediately before she is dealing with a full-blown infestation!