“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.
“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.
“What is this?” is all Rocky asks about the brown worm-shaped creature pictured below. It is unfortunate that Rocky does not provide any context, as that always helps us narrow down the possibilities for what the given organism might be, especially when the photo does not already tell us what it is. And in this case, we cannot tell what this critter is based on the photo: it kind of looks like a cigarette or a dried up worm. Our best guess is that this is a mealworm, and we base this solely on its coloration. Mealworms also possess clear segmentation that we cannot see from the photo, but we suppose that, given the low resolution of the photo, the segmentation could just not be visible on the photo.
“Found these worms in the backyard and there are a lot!” exclaims this reader in his submission regarding the segmented, yellow worm-like critter pictured below. “I have a small garden there with an orange tree, but the garden is unattended. What are those? They seem to be active in the night and light attracts them I think.” Based on the excellent photo our reader sent in, as well as the helpful context, we would conclude that these are mealworms. Mealworms are the larval stage of the mealworm beetle, which is a species of darkling beetle. As our reader correctly stated, mealworms are nocturnal, and while they are not necessarily attracted to light, they can sense it.
“Please tell me what these nasty terrible awful things are?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the light brown bug pictured below. “They look like tiny worms, but zooming in on the camera you can see they have lots of little legs. They obviously hatch into something because they leave the worm-like shell behind but I noticed them in my car a few weeks ago. I’ve vacuumed like a madman and it doesn’t seem to be getting rid of them: they just keep multiplying and I’m so freaked out by this that I’m almost ready to take a huge loss on my vehicle! Help! I have no idea how to get rid of these things!”
A species of earthworm commonly referred to as a ‘jumping worm’ has made its way to North America, namely the Asian jumping worm (Amynthas agrestis), and its introduction into California’s habitats has caused concern for the ecosystem. Asian jumping worms get their name from their ability to leap as high as a foot into the air. They also have a general tendency to squirm and flail around when disturbed, which is typically when they will also jump: it is a defense mechanism they use to get away from predators. The Minnesota Department of Resources uploaded a “YouTube video about jumping worms” which shows the worms’ erratic behavior.
“I found this worm-like creature on my pillow today”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the light brown, striped critter pictured below. “I need help identifying what it is, and would like any other helpful info you may have. It has some strands coming out of one end of it. Thank you!” Firstly, we want to thank our reader right back, for sending in her submission to us. Secondly, we want to present our reader with an identification: the worm-like creature she found is a carpet beetle larvae. Unfortunately for her, carpet beetle larvae are notorious house pests which can spawn massive infestations that can damage a lot of the items in her home.
“The below was found on a carpet near a clothing closet in Manhattan, NYC”, writes this reader in her submission regarding the creature pictured below. “Please advise. Thank you!” The creature in question appears to be striped, with alternating colors of beige and brown, and has an ovate, bristly body. Based on its appearance alone, we would say that this is a carpet beetle larva, though the location it was found in also supports this conclusion.
“I would love to know what these are and if they are harmful to my other specimens”, states this reader in her submission regarding the semi-transparent, yellow, worm-like creature with a red head pictured below. It is a bit difficult to spot among all the dark objects in the photo, but in the center you can see the clear worm-like critter making its way between these objects.”
“I found these clear strands (worms?) on every item of fabric in my home”, states this reader in Hawaii. “They are on my clothes, rugs, couches, and towels. EVERYTHING! They attach on one end and stick out of the fabric. They are very thin, like hair, but kind of kinky.”
“What are these?” asks this reader about the brown creatures pictured below. “Tons of them in the drain pipe, but they don’t look like drain fly larvae. Thank you!” The creatures above look stubby and thick, brown in color, with black antennae and what appears to be a layer of grayish slime oozing from their undersides.
“Over the last couple of days, I have been finding two-to-four of these bugs walking around on my ceiling”, states this reader in her submission regarding the light brown, striped organism pictured below. “Do you know what they are and how I can get rid of them?” she asks.
“We have been finding strange things in our house for some time now”, states this reader in Massachusetts in her submission. “I hope and pray that you can help us identify the problem based on the pics I have sent.”
“What fresh hell is this?” asks this reader about the larva-like creature buried in a piece of lint pictured below. He describes it as having a “long white body and dark head.”
“Does spreading Diatomaceous Earth protect from the flathead worms?” asks this reader in her submission. She provides no further context, or photos, but we will do our best to help her in any way that we can.
“I am finding these tiny worm-like things in my bed and upholstery”, states this reader about the black organism pictured below. “They are semicircular and only about a quarter of an inch.”
“I live in South Carolina, and woke up this morning to dozens of these”, states this reader concerning the white larva-like creature pictured below. “What are they, how can I get rid of them and prevent them in the future?” she asks.
“I found this little guy on my kitchen hardwood, near the cat bowl, and was wanting to know what he was,” states this reader about the segmented, brown-gray larva-like creature in the photo below. “If you could help me I would greatly appreciate it.”