“What kind of worm is this?” asks this reader about the black and red-striped, worm-like creature pictured below. “It’s about 3-to-4-inches long, found in Pottsboro, Texas on grass and asphalt.” To start with, we want to thank our reader for the incredible photo! Photos like this, that are crisp and clear, and taken in good lighting, really help us identify the creature fast. Which brings us to the identity of this magnificent creature: this is an American giant millipede. When you say the word ‘millipede’, or ‘centipede’ (cousin of the millipede), to anyone, they are likely to shiver, let alone when you say ‘giant millipede’.
“I went to take a bath before work and felt something moving on my knee”, writes this reader about the white, worm-like creatures pictured below. “I grabbed it, thinking nothing of it and it started squirming in my fingers. I found 11 of them in the water with me, and I clean my tub before every bath I take. My boyfriend later that night took a bath, and not a single sighting of one, and I extensively looked! It was small, short, and white with a brown head. Is it me who is infected or my water?” To begin with, we think our reader found some kind of insect larva in her tub, as that is what these most resemble. What species in particular is hard to say, as a white body with a dark head is about as generic a description as you can find of an insect larvae: beetles, moths, and flies all share larvae that fit this description.
“What are these?” is all Judah asks in his submission regarding the translucent worm-like creatures pictured below. The creatures seem to have black heads and a dark stripe on their bodies, which, given their translucent skin, appears to be their entrails. Even though Judah does not provide any context along with his photo, which is usually essential to us narrowing down a given creature’s possible identities, we are able to identify these critters based on their appearance. We think these are fungus gnat larvae.
“I found this worm, see attached image, when cleaning up a mess my dog made, poop,” writes Brandon in his submission regarding the teeny tiny worm-like critter pictured below. “It was mostly liquid and I’m not sure if it was in my dog’s faeces or if it was just nearby. I do not know what kind of worm or larva this is. Description: translucent, dark spots on both ends. About three sets of legs located near its head.” Based on Brandon’s description of the creature, as well as what we saw when we zoomed in on it, we think he has found himself a beetle larva.
“This was found in a pool in Boca Raton, Florida”, writes this reader about the long, black, worm-like creature pictured below. “What is it?” At first glance, given the length and color of the worm, we thought it might be a New Guinea flatworm: an invasive species of flatworm that was discovered in the United States not so long ago, in 2012. However, upon looking at the creature’s not-so-flat shape, and the way in which its body twists in a manner unlike that of a flatworm, we have concluded that this is not a worm at all, but a snake.
“I found this in my swimming pool in Mobile, Alabama and I’m wondering if it’s a leech?”, asks Dean in his submission regarding the glossy, black, worm-like creature pictured below. Right off the bat, we have to agree with Dean that this does look like a leech. That said, when we zoomed in on the photo, we saw what looked like part of the creature’s underside, which was a lighter gray color. This made us think about slugs, and the possibility of this being one, though leeches also typically have lighter-colored undersides.
“?Can you please identify this strange-looking worm?” asks Bryan about the odd-looking creature pictured below. “It’s approximately six-inches long, and if you zoom in it looks like it has eyes all over its body, very strange! I took this video in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina.” Well, Bryan might be surprised to know that those are indeed eyes all over the “body”, though it isn’t just one body, but many. This isn’t just one worm, it’s a moving pile of them, kind of. They’re not technically worms, but larvae: specifically, fungus gnat larvae.
“What is this I found in my room?” asks Christina about the green, worm-like creature pictured below. “I have no idea what this is but it freaked me out. I think it might have come from my cat. Either way, I feel itchy now. I ended up deep cleaning my sheets.” To us, this creature looks like a caterpillar: based on its green coloration, patterned skin, and the shape of its body. That said, it is difficult to tell exactly what it looks like, given that it is curled up into a ball. This is typical behaviour of many caterpillar species though. They do this when they feel threatened. But it must be said that other species of worm-like creatures also display this behaviour, like millipedes, so it does not necessarily indicate that this is definitely a caterpillar.
“I had a large moth in my bathroom about a week ago”, writes Ed in his submission regarding the tiny, black, worm-like creature pictured below. “Two days ago I went into my bathroom and the sinks were covered with hundreds of miniature worms, that I would call inch worms from their methods of movement. I wiped up all of these with wet tissue and threw it into the toilet. Much to my surprise the next morning they were back again! Same for today! The sinks are used daily, so there is water in their traps. Where are these coming from and what are they? I’ve attached pictures with a sewing needle for determining scale.”
“I was taking a bath when I saw two small worms in it with me”, writes Pam in her submission about the tiny, black worm-like creatures pictured below. “I want to make sure that they are not harmful. They had larger “heads” and thinner yellow and black tails. I have never seen them before.” To start with, we want to thank Pam for the excellent photos she sent us: the resolution is so good that we can even see the finest details on these critters when zooming in on the photos. And it was because of this that we managed to come to a conclusion regarding their identity. Well, sort of.
“I’ve seen these worms the last two mornings on my kitchen floor next to my rabbit cage”, writes Matthew about the curious creature pictured below. “Can you identify them? They’re TINY, with a half white, half black body.” First of all, thank you for the excellent photograph Matthew: we see exactly what you mean by the worm’s half white, half black body, and this is something we haven’t quite seen before. The thinner, white part resembles that of a generic insect larva (many of them being a similar, translucent white color), while the thicker, black part looks almost like a shell encasing the lower half of the worm.
“These began popping up all over my elderly mom’s basement apartment in the last few days”, writes RK about the black, worm-like creature pictured below. “We have seen a couple dozen or so to date. They seem to be hatching from somewhere inside although we can’t figure out where. They are darker colored and appear segmented, but no legs or wings are visible. We have seen sizes from less than an inch to an inch or two. The basement recently underwent renovation so I don’t know if something could have been brought in that way or not. Could you provide information regarding what they may be? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
“My mother lives in northern Michigan and her garage has become infested with (what she has been told are) black worms”, writes John about the pile of what does look like black worms. “I have included two pictures. For the past two weeks, she has been clearing the worms out of her garage at least three times per day. Each time, she is able to fill 1-2 dustpans full of the worms. They are located primarily along the walls of the garage. Can you please let me know what these worms are exactly? And, can you let me know how I can help my mom get rid of the worms (and prevent them from coming back)? Thank you!”
“I have read articles on your website regarding this but I don’t think they had exactly what I’m looking for”, writes Julia in her submission, in which she sends the photo of the pink, worm-like creature pictured below. “And if I see one more worm in my bathtub, I might actually move apartments. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but please help. First time this happened was right after a shower. Of course, it’s humid and the bathtub is the perfect breeding ground for many bugs, but this one showed up out of nowhere and it completely startled me. They’re very small, even smaller than my pinky finger, and look black in the photo but actually seem to have a translucent pink exterior and black interior? If that makes sense.”
“I’ve recycled coffee grounds for years,” writes Mikey about the white worm-like creature pictured below. “I’ve just started seeing the worms or larvae in the past couple of weeks, we live in northern CA, near Auburn. The coffee is Folgers and Don Francesco (I think). Anyway, the pictures I’m sending are from this morning. The grounds were dumped in the bucket last night and, well, you can see. Any thoughts? Are we consuming bugs in our coffee?” Firstly, we just want to sympathize with Mikey: we can’t imagine how unnerving it must be to find a worm in your coffee one day. Secondly, we do have thoughts on this. We think Mikey found a pantry moth caterpillar in his coffee grounds.
“What kind of worm is this?”, asks Elvira about the black worm-like creature pictured below. “Or is it a caterpillar? Found it moving across the rug in my living room! It had a matte black-like shell with what appeared to be ‘holes’ along its back, was about 2-3 inches long, and its head had two oval-shaped eyes on top of it. I live in Houston, TX. Thanks.” The creature Elvira found is not a worm, but indeed a caterpillar, so her second guess was correct! In particular, this is a velvet armyworm moth caterpillar. We have covered armyworms many times before, in particular the fall armyworm, the most infamous of them all.
“Are you able to identify these?” is all Carol asks in her submission regarding the beautiful, black worm-like critters pictured below. This is definitely one of the best photos we have received in a while. It captures in such detail the unique appearance of these creatures: their pattern of white polka dots and yellow markings, the long red stripe that runs the length of its back, and the horn sticking out from the rear end of its body. Typically, it is still difficult to identify some organisms without more context, even if the photo is good, but this photo is so clear that we managed to identify these guys with no context. These are leafy spurge hawk moth caterpillars!
“Are these fabric moths and carpet beetles?” asks Shanan about the two different objects pictured below, one pink and stringy, and the other a tangled mess of greenish-gray threads. “I’ve been at war with them for about three years now. I’ve sprayed numerous pesticides, different dusts, and vacuumed until my arms fell off! I’ve had to move, get a new car, and buy brand new clothes more times than I can count. Tip: New clothes are infested as well. They also like to munch on my hair. I’m at the end of my rope. Please help. I live in Southeast Georgia. These are pieces of material that I cut out of a brand new jacket!”
“I found this in my backyard the other night while digging up roots”, writes Marlene about the milky-white, worm-like creature pictured below. “I have never seen anything like this before, and it is quite ugly. It was about three inches long, rather chubby, and black on one end, with what looked like purple veins going through it. I live in southern New Jersey (Gloucester County). There are no lakes or ponds close to my yard. Just curious about what is living in my yard and possibly creating a family. Thank you.” Well, based on the excellent photo that Marlene sent in, we think that the “ugly” worm-like critter she found is a wood-boring beetle larva.
“What are these worms?” asks Ruby about the group of yellow creatures with brown heads pictured below. “They are mainly in the bedroom but there are also some in the living room. I live in Katy, Texas. Thank you.” Well, we thank Ruby for the excellent photo she sent in. We can clearly see their dark yellow coloration, as well as the segmentation of their bodies, which has us concluding that these are mealworms. Mealworms are not actually worms at all, but larvae. Larvae are young insects that look a bit like worms. Their goal at this stage of life is to eat as much as possible so that they can store up energy for pupation: the stage that comes before adulthood. During pupation, they metamorphose into their adult form, like a caterpillar (which is a larva!) metamorphoses into a butterfly or moth.