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Black Worms Dropping from Australian Ceiling are Shrouded in Mystery

A reader from Australia requested assistance in identifying some worms he’s found in his bathroom. He says that they are 3 mm – 4 mm (0.11” – 0.15”) long, black, and drop from the bathroom ceiling on threads. Once they land, they walk end over end. It is summer in Australia and he says that the temperature is around 40 ? (~104?). He would like to know what they are because they are freaking him out. Continue reading [...]

Waxworms Need to be Happy, but Not Too Happy

Today, we will address a question from a reader in Germany. She raises waxworms to use as bait when trout fishing. She’s having no problem keeping them alive. The issue is that the wax worms start to spin silk for cocoons before she has a chance to go fishing! Once the worms start their journey to moth, they’re no longer useful as trout bait. She wonders if we can give her some advice as to how to persuade these little guys not to continue on to their next life stage. Continue reading [...]

Creepy Crawlies on Concrete May be Armyworms

We received a question from a reader who has many little creepy-crawlies on his concrete in his yard. He says that some of his neighbors have a few, but that he has an absolute infestation. What are these little creatures, he wants to know, and wonders if they are related to his olive trees. Continue reading [...]

Mysterious Visitor is a Hornworm Caterpillar

A woman sent us the photograph below of a handsome green critter she found in her garden, with the simple request that we identify it. Luckily, it’s a great photograph, and gives us some great clues about its identity. We can see several distinct characteristics to help us identify the species. The way the critter is segmented is helpful, as are the black spots on its body. But the most telling traits are the horn seen at the top of the picture and the stripes on the side of its body. Continue reading [...]
Millipede curls up in tight circle

Hard-Shell Worms that Curl Up Probably Millipedes

One of our readers has asked about "hard shelled worms about 1/2 to 1 inches long that curl into a tight circle when touched. What are these?" Without a photograph, description of where in the house (or the world!) he found it and any additional physical description, we think he's writing to us about millipedes.Read more about brown and black worms that curl up tight hereMillipedes are arthropods, not insects, of the type Myriapoda (meaning "myriad" or 'uncountably numerous' feet --"pods.") As you can easily imagine, the name comes from the up-to-four feet per segment that can be found on their bodies. They all have a single pair of antennae, simple eyes and a mouth on the underside of the head and are known for their shiny hard bodies. All prefer to live in moist areas and feed on Continue reading [...]
bottom of glass terrarium

Will Tiny Worms In Terrarium Kill Plants?

Our reader has begun an eternity terrarium (pictured), and after three days has started seeing white, threadlike worms in the soil. The soil looks like yard or garden soil, which widens the search, but we think the soil introduced nematodes or nematomorpha-- young horsehair worms. Alongside nematodes, garden soil plays host to a near-limitless number of invertebrates and micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, protozoans and algal forms. Each can contribute fundamentally to the recycling of organic matter into topsoil with the vital nutrients that plants need to grow. It’s estimated that as many as a billion of these micro-organisms reside in a single gram of soil. Eggs and tiny larvae can hitch-hike in with these microorganisms, on unwashed rocks and shells, or any other backyard Continue reading [...]