A while ago a reader wrote to us about some brown and black worms she is finding all over her apartment, including on her tile floor and the rug in her bedroom, as well as on the walls of her house. When they die, the worms “curl into a circle.” The reader refers to the worms in quotes, indicating that she is using the term loosely, and we think she is right in doing this, as it seems she is finding millipedes. However, the reader anticipated this suggestion, and said that she thinks the creatures she is finding are too skinny to be millipedes. So, below we explore our reader’s situation in more depth, trying to decipher if she found millipedes or something else.
A reader sent us a simple question a little while ago – “is this wireworms?” – in connection with a video that depicts small white worms crawling out of potatoes soaking in water. These small white worms could be wireworms (or “wire worms,” as some have it), but they could also be potato tuberworms, which are also called “tobacco splitworms” (or more precisely Phthorimaea operculella). To call the worms “small” doesn’t quite capture their size; they are more like tiny white worms, only a few millimeters long and very skinny. This can’t really be seen, but the profanity-infused narration of the video indicates that the tiny white worms are actually coming out of the potatoes, evidently only after they were placed in water. From what we can tell, the worms coming out of the potatoes look more like potato tuberworms than wireworms, but we touch on both possibilities below.
A reader wrote to us the other day via the All About Worms Facebook page about some brown striped worms (or potentially larvae) he found in some store-bought chicken. We aren’t sure what kind of chicken he bought – rotisserie, a container of several pieces, etc. – but we know it was cooked and ready to eat. He had already eaten some of the chicken before he noticed the worms, and therefore was concerned that he had accidentally eaten some of them. The reader was therefore keen to identify the worms (or larvae) he found in his chicken, and that’s where we come in.
We received a fairly puzzling question a little while ago from a reader about what he believed to be a red worm. Much was made of the red worm’s “antennae,” which are evidently retractable if we are understanding the reader’s description properly. If the worm did have retractable antennae, the “antennae” are probably tentacles and the “worm” is likely a slug. Below we explain the “red slug in the bathroom” hypothesis in more detail, exploring it with reference to the reader’s precise circumstances.
No one likes a headache, and each kind of headache is bad in its own way, but you would probably be especially disturbed if your headache was caused by a parasitic worm crawling around your brain for several years. Such was the fate of a British man who recently found out that a one centimeter tapeworm (more precisely, Spirometra erinaceieuropaei) has been living in his brain for the past four years.