A reader recently wrote to us about Catalpa worms, also called “Catawba worms,” that are on her Catalpa trees, or “Catawba trees.” (“Catawba” can basically always replace the word “Catalpa” – they are both common, interchangeable names.) The phrasing of the reader’s email is a slightly peculiar. She speaks of her “fourth crop this year for the Catalpa worms,” which seems to imply she is referring to the Catalpa worms themselves as the “crop.” (This isn’t as strange as you might think because although people plant Catalpa trees for various reasons, they often plant them precisely to attract Catalpa worms, which make excellent fish bait, and thus the worms might be referred to as a “crop.”) However, she then says the “crop has white egg like things on them,” and here we are not sure if the crop means the Catalpa worms or the Catalpa trees, as the latter of which should be where any Catalpa eggs are found. In any case, the reader is wondering what the “white egg like things” are because she didn’t see them in the first three “crops.” So, we have a relatively straightforward question: what are the white egg-like things on her Catalpa worms or Catalpa trees?
Not long ago, a reader sent us a question about a worm or bug that eats through trees. More precisely, he said the creature eats a circle around a tree limb, causing the branch to fall to the ground. We were perplexed by this question because we had never heard of any sort of bug that eats around a tree branch, and we certainly had never heard of any worms (our specialty, after all) that could do so either. However, we have recently discovered that the insects that eat through tree branches are twig girdlers, which is about as fitting of a name as one could ever hope for – twig girdlers, well, girdle twigs. Twig girdlers are beetles, making them insects, not worms. Twig girdlers, or Oncideres pustulatus, are interesting creatures, so we decided to put together some basic information about them.
We recently received a question from a reader about a horsehair worm in his toilet. Or at least we think this is what the question is about, as the wording is a little unclear: “I have horse hair worm .i thinking.in my toilet do i flush it?” Obviously, a horsehair worm (or “horse hair worm,” to use the reader’s understandable misspelling) is involved, and it seems to be in the toilet, and the reader’s only question is about whether or not he can flush it. So we’ll focus on the question “can you flush a horsehair worm down the toilet,” but we’ll cover a little more ground so the article has broader applicability.
We spend a lot of time answering reader questions about various sorts of worms. Most frequently, we try to identify what type of worm (or other sort of creature) a reader found based on a picture (if we’re lucky) and whatever other information a reader cares to provide. To mix [...] Read more »
A reader recently asked us an interesting question about worms on the sidewalk. The subject matter isn’t strange – lots of people wonder why worms come out on the sidewalk – but his focus was unusual. He wasn’t curious about the presence of the worms, but rather about the “black balls of dirt” that came along with them onto the sidewalk. The reader asked “what” he was finding, which seems fairly simple – black balls of dirt (or possibly worm castings) – so we suppose we should expand the scope of the question, covering the matter of why he is finding dirt on the sidewalk along with worms.