Larvae on clothes that don't eat them

Asked December 7, 2018, 12:09 AM EST

I have found some worms, many dead larvae all around my apartment. They catch on to clothes but when you find them they have not eaten the cloth.

There are no moths, one exterminator over the phone said I have carpet beetles. Haven't seen a beetle.

Any idea what I have here?

New York County New York

7 Responses

First, from this description, I am concerned the an exterminator has been able to identify the pest without seeing them. If the description you give here is what you told the exterminator, there is not enough information. Carpet beetles are a member of a group of insects that include members that eat dead, organic material such as things made of wool, cotton and leather as well as dead animals such as insects, mice,rats and other similar items which might die in wall voids or basements. Many of the larvae look similar.
If you look on line, for carpet beetle and dermestid beetle, you will find more details and images that can help you identify the larvae your are seeing.
I can not help you much at this point without seeing images of what you have.

Here are a couple of sites to get you started

U of Kentucky

Cornell Genesee Co. Extension


Here are some shots of dead ones I collected in my sink while cleaning.

Can you tell what I have from these photos?

The orange image is out of focus, so I could not ID it. The other one is new to me so I would need to have it in hand to use a key to figure it out. Neither of these look like carpet beetle larvae.
You may have a variety of insects in you place which may have already died or matured to the pupae or adult stage. You will need to be patient and vigilant to see what the different kinds of insects you have.
Maybe collect the remains in a container for a few weeks and then look for similarities and differences in appearance. The idea is to see if they are growing and maturing in you place or have gone away and you are just seeing the remains of dead insects.
If you are not seeing any live insects, they may have died off and probably came in from outside to escape the cold. If you start to see new ones, and your collections show a gradual increase in size, then you have something living in your place and may need to be dealt with.
Try to take closeup images that are in focus so I or someone else can enlarge the images to see useful parts to ID the insects.

Thanks so far for your help.
I have a bottle of specimens I collected, items are in saran wrap and in a old pill bottle screwed closed.
I am digging deeper now into a closet of men's clothing. No damage to clothes. I've found dead white things.

I'll take pictures of any others today. I am crash cleaning before I go away for two weeks.




Here are more samples from my apartment. One shows what was captured on a glue trap in a corner. Other two are single items found on floor or in a closet. They all appear to be dead.

The first image is out of focus and too small to see anything. It could be something but I need a better image. In focus and closer.
The material on the red cloth is a piece of debris which could be from almost anything.
The material on the sticky card is mainly what you find in dust. There was one small fly which might be a fungus gnat or similar insect. A second item looks like the exoskeleton of a mosquito or similar fly.