Entomology (Study of Bugs)/bed worms?


Yesterday evening during a tornado warning, (the power was out) i grabbed the spare  twin mattress that is not being used and took shelter in the tub. Fast forward to the next day, i come home from work to tidy up and i look in the tub, the whole bottom the tub was filled with these worms! :( i knew i felt creepy crawlies when i was laying in there! They were about a half or a third of a grain of rice, very tiny! A whitish/clearish color. They wiggled! I found on i believe this site, the picture that resembled them, yall called them  bed worms. Just want to know exactly what "bed worms" are? Where do they come from? Are they harmful? I most likely will burn the bed and box spring tomorrow.. just want to get some good insight since i was laying with these suckerss!!! Are they harmful? Will i need to see a doc?? Thanks in advance!

Hi, Jo:

I have never heard of "bed worms" or "mattress worms" until now.  Unfortunately, a cursory search online provided no definitive answers, either, from informed entomologists or other reliable authorities.  They are certainly *not* the "larvae" of bed bugs or dust mites.  Neither bed bugs nor dust mites HAVE a larval stage....

Without seeing at least a clear image of the creatures in question, I cannot give you a good answer, either, though I can tell you for certain they are the larvae of beetles, moths, or flies, in that order of possibility.

I would take intact specimens to a local entomologist at a university, natural history museum, state department of agriculture office, or even the public health department (vector control division will have at least one staff entomologist).  He or she can then put them under a microscope and give you a precise ID.

Good luck, and please let me know if you find out from an entomologist what the larvae are.  I want to be able to help the next person with this kind of question.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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