What are the tiny tan worms in my bathroom?

Question: Hi Orkin man. I have a question. I have these tiny off-white, tan worms in my bathroom. One got in my toothbrush and I’m totally grossed out. What are they, how did they get in and what can I do?

Carpet Beetle Larva Illustration
Carpet Beetle Larvae

ANSWER: What you may have found are carpet beetle larvae. They are characteristically brown, they may look banded with brown and pale stripes, and with long ”hairs” at the tail end. They are slow moving across walls and floors. The molted skins of these larvae are often found in cabinets and closets and are an indication of an ongoing infestation of carpet beetles. The adults are often seen indoors in the spring.

The larval stage can feed on a variety of material, but most often it attacks woolens, skins, leather and feathers. They also feed on stored food materials (from birdseed to spices, cereals and flour), and when these are not available it can live on dead insects.

This is really a best guess; without a specimen or an inspection where they are seen, it is hard to make an accurate identification. For additional help, call your local Orkin Branch Office and have a highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist inspect and identify the pest in question. Your Orkin Specialist will develop a customized solution based on science that best meets your needs.

One way to control these beetles is to vacuum thoroughly. Have any infested woolens dry cleaned and stored in a sealed container. Check the kitchen for infested food packages. Throw away any infested packages. Regular vacuuming and inspecting food materials will keep them under control. This is something that you can do and would help a specialist with the treatments for your home.

Related Questions:
The Orkin Man used the information above to answer similar questions submitted by Orkin.com users:

Question: I found some bugs in my bathroom, and I wanted to know if you could help me figure out what they are. It is no bigger than 1/8″, oval shape and tan and black  stripes … any idea?

December 2018
Question: There is a worm-type bug that is in my apartment. They are probably close to a half-inch long and skinny (not flat, but just tiny). They are yellowish with dark red/brown heads. When disturbed, they curl up. What are they, and how can they be disposed of? A pest control person comes into the apartment every three months and sprays stuff for routine maintenance, but nothing helps with the “worm” problem.

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