Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery Larvae


Mystery Larvae
Mystery Larvae  
I live in Michigan and have found several of these creepy crawly guys in the last 2 weeks. They were found in the bottom of laundry baskets, bathroom baseboard, entry way carpet, under a pile of clothes to be washed. At first (after research) I thought it was a carpet beetle. However, after MORE research, this guy appears more elongated than the carpet beetle larvae I have found online. NOTE- there was also a dead one in the container and this one ATE IT! EWE! lol
I'd LOVE to know EXACTLY what is in my house, so I know how to best combat further infestation. I'm cleaning EVERYTHING and no more laundry on the floor! (teen boys!)

Dear Suzanne - This is a larva of a carpet beetle (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) in the genus Attagenus, see http://tinyurl.com/lskd84a for an example. They do look quite a bit different from larvae in the genus Anthrenus (see http://tinyurl.com/3vkkd2e for an example), which probably are the ones you were looking at online. These larvae can be quite difficult to control, because of their extremely wide range of food items, including other dead insects. See http://tinyurl.com/pvgfq3 for a fact sheet that includes control recommendations.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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