We received this message from one of our readers in Los Gatos, California, “My apartment is swarming with these worms. When they open their mouths (or at least what I think is their mouths) more little white, flat worms come our like confetti. I believe they are nocturnal. They are attracted to the knots in the wood.” She hopes we can identify the worms. This first photo she sent us has been taken using a fish-eye lens:
We examined the knots in the wood quite closely in this photo. We do see some white areas that might be the worms she is referring to, but also might be glare from the camera. It is difficult to say for certain. The other picture she sent us is a close up of one of the knots in the wood. It shows dozens of minuscule white dots that we believe are the creatures our reader is talking about:
These specimens are so tiny that we can’t make out any details about them. However, based on the information we do have, we think our reader might be dealing with woodworms. A woodworm is not a specific species of worm, rather it describes the larvae of some wood boring beetles. The adult beetles lay their eggs on the surface of a wood item, such as wood furniture or flooring. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the wood. Woodworms then eat the wood for several years before they rise to the surface. Most people never see the larvae and only notice small holes in the wood.
The process of getting rid of woodworms depends on the species of the larvae. Unfortunately, we don’t feel that we can confidently identify the species of larvae based on the photos. If she is still dealing with a woodworm infestation, we invite our reader to send in more detailed photographs or descriptions!