To Identify Your Larva, Let it Grow

We get a lot of inquiries from readers wanting identification of (not-so) creepy crawlies, and we do our best to answer these. To do this we use information such as the geographic location in which the animal was found, what food sources are readily available to the animal, whether it was found indoors or outdoors, and what it looks like. However, much of the time we are offering our very best educated guesses, because so many larva and caterpillars look alike. This is not surprising, as current estimates state that there are between 2 million and 30 million species of insect and approximately 75% of those go through a larval stage. This means that there are between 1.5 million and 22.5 million different caterpillars and larvae out there. So, some of these are bound to look alike. Identification is further complicated by the fact that many larva go through several instars (or phases), and a single animal may look quite different over time. Continue reading [...]

Possible Cutworm Found in Texas Garden

A reader residing in South Texas was looking for a good place to plant her garden, and she found several caterpillars in the soil. She is wondering what type of creature they may be, and if they will harm or help her vegetable garden. She has included a good photograph, which gives us an idea of how big the caterpillar is and its color.Ideally, all caterpillars would stay on the plant that they like most to eat, as food source is often the biggest clue as to a caterpillar’s species. When trying to identify a caterpillar without a known food source, a good first step is to look for identifying characteristics. These include things like hair, legs, special spots or markings, body and/or head shape, unusual colors, and horns or other protrusions. For example, the caterpillar for the Continue reading [...]

Innocent Apricot Tree is Attacked by Apple Maggots

We received a note from a woman who is having issues with her apricot tree. Specifically, her tree is growing a lot of fruit, but the fruit is replete with worms. She would like to enjoy her fruit, so she is wondering what type of worm it is and what she can do about them. She was unable to share a picture, but we imagine it looks something like this: Continue reading [...]

Reader Encounters Worms in Her Banana

A woman has written to us asking for help identifying the worms she found crawling and wriggling in and on her banana. She has provided us with both a picture and a video. You might note that it’s hard to see anything in this picture except for banana (or maybe a banana wearing eyeglasses, if you use your imagination). But, if you watch the video closely, you can see little tiny creatures swaying slowly, as though they’re waving hello.Our reader has encountered the creature known as Panagrellus Nepenthicola. Also known as the banana worm, Panagrellus Nepenthicola is known for being banana colored. Because it is the same color as its background, the banana worm is notoriously difficult to photograph. Looking on the internet, we found this picture, which user Kookaburra posted to Continue reading [...]

Man Finds Warehouse Beetle Larva. Maybe.

We received a picture of a larva in a man’s hand. The man would like to know what type of larva it is. He says that he has looked over the All About Worms site, but has not found the information he’s looking for.To us, it looks as though he has found a warehouse beetle larva (or Trogoderma variabile), though it is difficult to be certain. This is a relatively clear photograph, and our reader may be frustrated that we cannot offer a more definite identification.There is a reason that, historically, the most reliable way to identify various beetle and fly larvae is to let them grow up and see what sort of animal they grow into. The differences in the larval stage of different species can be quite subtle. Additionally, the larva of a single species can vary in appearance depending Continue reading [...]

Fat Black Caterpillar is a White-line Sphinx Caterpillar

Today, we are going to address a question given to us by a female reader who would like to know if the animal in the fantastic photograph below is a worm. The answer is, “No, the animal in the photograph is not a worm.” Continue reading [...]