“What are these?” asks Erin in her submission regarding the black, worm-like critter pictured below. “I found about five in my house.” She does not include any more context, and the photo is unfortunately of a low resolution, meaning the details get blurry when you try to zoom in on the little guy. For that reason, we will only be able to provide an educated guess as to what this is, rather than an accurate and confident identification. In any case, we think this is a larva of some kind, possibly a beetle larva.
Based on the way the creature moves in the video, we think it is possible that it has two sets of legs at the head and rear of its body: it seems to pull itself forward before the rest of its body catches. up, much like an inchworm. However, the creature does not resemble an inchworm and looks far too big to be one (though it is hard to say without some kind of size comparison). It is also possible that it has one set of legs near the front of its body, like a beetle larva. We have not seen many beetle larvae that look like this, and are not sure what species it would be in that case. It could very well be a species of caterpillar other than the inchworm, like a cutworm, though the apparent lack of segmentation has us doubting this identification as well. We also thought it might be a leech, given the smooth skin, but we dismissed this idea pretty quickly. Not only does the creature have a bulbous head (which is characteristic of a larva), but it would be very odd to find five, free-roaming leeches in one’s home (not that it is impossible).
We are going to go with the guess that seems most likely, which is that these are cutworms. Cutworms are caterpillars of the dart moth, and they are named after their tendency to cut down plants as they chew through their stems. Because of this, farmers and gardeners consider them pests, and rightfully so. Most caterpillars species are defoliators and can potentially cause severe damage to plants when a significant number of them feed together, but cutworms are downright lethal, as chewing through the stem of the plant will surely kill it. They have no real business inside a home, so we think it is likely that a pregnant dart moth laid her eggs inside Erin’s home, either because it got trapped in there or because it deemed it a suitable and safe environment for the eggs to develop and hatch. We recommend that Erin search for more caterpillars, and that she move any that she finds outside. Of course, if she has a garden, she might want to put them somewhere else.
In conclusion, we think it is possible that Erin found cutworms in her home. They are not harmful to humans or pets, only to plants. We hope this helps, and we wish Erin the very best.
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