Household Pest Larvae Identification

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A fumigator spraying.
A fumigator spraying. (Image: Willbrasil21/iStock/Getty Images)

Dealing with insect pests in the home becomes more difficult if you can’t identify the creatures. The appearance of an immature, or larval, insect is quite different from its adult form. A close look at the bug for the presence of legs, along with its location within your home will help identify the pest so you can choose the appropriate method to eradicate it.

In the Pantry

Beetles, flies and moths are common pantry pests. Beetle larvae, or grubs, typically have three pairs of legs, one on each segment of their thorax, behind a distinct head. The body is elongated, worm-like and smooth. Fly larvae, or maggots, are smooth, worm-like, legless creatures. Moth caterpillars have legs and often extra fleshy appendages called prolegs on their abdomen. Beetle pantry pests include grain, flour and larder beetles along with bean and rice weevils. Maggots are common in rotting food or trash. The Indian meal moth is usually found in dried pet food, nuts and seeds.

On Furniture or Clothing

Carpet beetles larvae are 1/8 inch long, with tufts of hair. These and clothes moths are common around textiles in the home. Identify clothes moths by their distinct hiding case constructed of textile fibers and silk. Wood boring beetles are worm-like with enlarged heads and leave a pile of sawdust near wooden furniture and structures in the home.

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