A couple of days ago, a reader reached out to us because he continues to discover a brown worm-like organism in his hallway every day for the past week. He wonders what kind of creature he is dealing with.
The specimen is segmented, has two tiny antennae on one end and a small pointed tail on the other. We believe that this is a mealworm! Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, which technically classifies them as arthropod larvae and not worms. This larval stage can last 90 to 114 days. Mealworms are dark yellow or light brown, and have dark brown bands lining their segmented bodies. They have six small legs towards their anterior end, and two antennae. The description of the mealworm matches the description of the creature we found very well!
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Mealworms can shed their hard outer layer, or exoskeleton, 9-20 times during their larval stage. This allows them to grow bigger as they shed their old shell and before their new shell hardens. Mealworms, at both larval and adult stages, are generally considered to be pest worms because they eat storied grains. They also scavenge for decaying material and are excellent decomposers.
The mealworms our reader discovered are probably eating stored grains out of his kitchen or pantry. He should search for the invaded food source and dispose of it. Any other food items that are exposed to air should be examined for evidence of these creatures. In the future, keeping all of his stored grains in air-tight containers will prevent mealworms from invading. He may also want to clean his house, as eliminating dust is a good preventative measure to keep out unwanted specimens.
In conclusion, a reader asked us if we could identify a specimen he has been finding in his hallway for a week. We believe the creature-in-question is a mealworm!
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