A patch of “cotton-looking structures” were found attached to the brick outside of this reader’s front door. Our reader wonders what “brand of creature” these may be, which appear to be as white in color as the cotton-like webbing they were found in.
Our reader adds she thinks that whatever these creatures are, they were “laid and then hatched fairly quickly” as she goes out of her front door several times a day, and only noticed them suddenly one morning. However, we would suggest that these are in fact, eggs, and whatever creatures are inside them have not hatched yet, as they would appear more worm-like in appearance and shape. Granted, the eggs in question are more ovate in shape than a regular, circle-shaped egg, but perhaps the creatures inside are about to hatch? It is difficult to say.
Nonetheless, although normally we would say that it would be virtually impossible to identify a creature at such an underdeveloped stage, not to mention a creature that has not even hatched from its egg yet, the cotton-like webbing of these eggs is particular to one species of caterpillar so that it becomes easy to identify this critter. These are the eggs of the fall armyworm. Fall armyworms are the larvae of the fall armyworm moth, though their larval form is far more widely known than its matured form. This critter is a common pest among farms, gardens, and lawns, as it can chew through substantial amounts of vegetation and crops. It is unlikely that one will catch a fall armyworm in the act of eating one’s plants, as they feed in the early morning and evenings, making this critter a hard culprit to find and blame for damage caused to one’s crops.
The cotton-like webbing helps the eggs of the fall armyworm cling to whatever surface they are laid on. It is curious that our reader found them on brick, as they are usually laid on leaves (see image from web below). So, unless our reader has a garden to worry about she will be fine. Whatever pregnant fall armyworm moth laid her eggs on this brick wall must have done so out of the sheer need to give birth, rather than with the intention of installing her offspring in a strategically beneficial location where they would have lots of vegetation to feed on. Once hatched, fall armyworms are tiny, and appear black from a distance, but are more of a velvet gray-green color. Once they mature into larvae, they are either green, gray or brown in color, with a pattern of spots along their back and brighter strips that run the length of their bodies. Once fully matured, the fall armyworm moth is a mottled brown color, with two brown wings, and two white ones.
In conclusion, the cluster of eggs our reader found in the cotton-like structure outside her front door was that of the fall armyworm! This harmless caterpillar is nothing to worry about, safety-wise, however, if our reader has a garden she wishes to protect from such pests, then she should contact a professional to rid her property of this potential infestation, or otherwise contact us again for more advice on how to handle fall armyworms.