Can you identify this caterpillar?
July 11, 2008 6:20 PM   Subscribe

We keep finding these caterpillars in our house - Philadephia, PA - and haven't been able to identify them.

We've asked the Terminix guy but he had no idea. We find them usually on the second or third floor, near the baseboards on the fitted carpet. We've Googled "caterpillars, orange, black markings, half inch to three quarters long.
We've been in the house for eleven years and we only see them in the spring and summers. Have shone them to a number of people and no-one has been able to identify them.
I really don't care, but Mrs. GoS is totally freaked out by them, as she is by any creepy crawly.
posted by Phillycook to Science & Nature (7 answers total)
Where are the black markings? Hard to tell in that photo. What's That Bug is an awesome site, and has 14 pages of caterpillar id photos, in case you want to check it out.
posted by iconomy at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2008

It's tough to tell from the photo, but this site has a checklist of identifying features you can tick off about your caterpillar and then will narrow it down.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 6:37 PM on July 11, 2008

that does not appear to be a 'caterpillar', but rather a 'maggot' or 'larva'.
posted by lester at 7:56 PM on July 11, 2008

I'm betting these are the larva of carpet beetles, esp. if you find them near baseboards. I apologize for relating some gory details, but, if I'm correct, they live in and under carpeting, rugs, and occasionally clothing. They are reproducing in your house every year. Very big "eeewwwww" factor.
posted by shifafa at 8:14 PM on July 11, 2008

Yep, I was going to say that it's not a caterpillar. It looks like a larval form of insect, so shifafa may have it.
posted by Miko at 8:24 PM on July 11, 2008

I'd go with Carpet Beetle larvae as well.

The larvae vary between 11 and 13 mm and are darkish brown with lighter coloured bands around its caterpillar-like body and they have two curved spines on the last visible body segment.

posted by jeanmari at 8:50 PM on July 11, 2008

ayup. Time to get your carpet shampooed and instigate a regular weekly vacuuming schedule. (We used to have them in one particular bathroom only, not carpeted actually... turned out there was an old bird's next in the vent duct. Gross).

More eradication/prevention tips here.
posted by GardenGal at 9:20 PM on July 11, 2008

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