“What kind of worm moves together in a braided type circle?” asks this reader in her submission concerning the horde of worms pictured below. “This was found on my driveway in North Myrtle Beach, SC.” We have to say, this is one of the most fascinating submissions we have received from a reader. Especially when looking at the video she sent in (linked below), which shows how the worms writhe and slither over each other in this circle. The act of going round and round in circles is odd, but the pile-up of worms is not for this species of fly, namely the fungus gnat (or ‘sciarid fly’).
Fungus gnats, like most flies, feed on decomposing organic matter, and are often found in compost. As we can see in the picture and video, they will often travel in large groups when searching for shelter, and they group together like this to appear to predators as if they are one large organism. Since they come in such large groups, they can prove to be pests in composts, as they can damage seedlings that grow there, and finding them in one’s home is especially irritating, simply given the sheer number of them. That said, they are not pests in the garden, or outdoors in general, and are nothing to be feared; they are not harmful to humans or pets, as they do not bite or sting, and they are not parasitic.
It seems as if the group our reader found might be a bit confused. Usually, when they group up like this, they move in a straight line, in order to actually get somewhere. We are not sure what happened in this case, but perhaps our reader could help the larvae along by gently moving a part of the circle so that the larvae will start to move in a straight line. Of course, she will not want to direct them toward her house, but somewhere else. In any case, we do not recommend killing them, since they are completely harmless and play a role in the ecosystem.
To conclude, the braided circle of worm-like organisms our reader found in her driveway are fungus gnat larvae. They are completely harmless, but our reader will want to make sure they do not enter her home, as the sheer number of them would be a nuisance. We hope this article proves informative, and we wish her the very best!
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