We were asked to weigh in on some “worms” one of our readers had discovered. She described them as dark caterpillars with a hard shell that look like they have a helmet on. Apparently they live in the dirt year round and they get into her outside plants. She said she has changed the dirt, and isn’t sure if these creatures are good or bad, but she is under the impression that they eat the roots. We are very curious what these specimens could be.
However, we can only offer a guess due to the absence of a picture and some other details like specific color and movement behavior. Based on the “hard shell” description, we think our reader might be dealing with millipedes. Millipedes are dark brown, segmented creatures that often appear to have a hard shell. They are often distinguished by their defense mechanism of curling up when disturbed and many legs. Millipedes are beneficial to the environment, feeding on dead plant material and decaying organic material in the soil. If what our reader has found are millipedes, she doesn’t need to worry about these being pests.
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To sum up, our reader discovered some creatures in her garden that she asked us to identify. We believe these might be millipedes, but we aren’t sure. While millipedes are dark with a hard shell, they aren’t often described as “wearing a helmet”, but we do not know any creature that would be described this way. If our reader doesn’t think this is what is in her garden, we encourage her to send in a photo of the specimen in question for further analysis.
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