“These tiny worms were located right outside my apartment on the walk near my door,” states this reader in her submission. She asks that we tell her what kind of worms they are.
Our reader just moved to Louisiana, and so she is not familiar with these creatures. Well, we are here to tell her that they are American Ermine moth larvae. These creatures are fairly common all over the United States, and are not specific to Louisiana. These caterpillars in particular seem to be newly hatched, as when they mature, these creatures will blacken in color and grow long bristles. On top of that, since eggs are laid in clusters, they naturally hatch in one big group like this one.
Like other species of moths, the American ermine moth is attracted to light, so it was likely this that drew the mother moth into our reader’s home to lay her eggs there. Alternatively, it might also have been the promise of safety for her offspring that drew the moth into our reader’s home. In either case, we wish to reassure her that these caterpillars are not pests and do not infest homes for the sake of destroying anything in the home. Their natural habitat and source of food is the forest, so they would have nothing inside a home that they would feed on. Similarly, they are not harmful to humans or pets.
So, with that said, we recommend that our reader simply move these caterpillars outside. The easiest way to do this would probably be to gently scoop them onto a dustpan and take them outside on that. Additionally, if our reader has access to a forest nearby, then depositing them there would be ideal. Before she does this, we also suggest that our reader check the rest of her home for any more roaming larvae.
To conclude, the creatures our reader found are newly-hatched American ermine moth caterpillars. They are neither harmful nor pests, so she does not need to worry about their presence in her home. We hope this article proves insightful, and we wish her the very best!
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