We received a question from a reader who found some skinny, dried-out worms, or what might be worms, in her house. The reader is especially perplexed about her present case because she is finding the worms (or whatever they are) on the second floor of her house. She offers several possible explanations, and asked us to weigh in on the matter, which basically amounts to asking us if we know how worms get into houses in general.
The reader’s email is quite detailed and filled with interesting suggestions, so we’ll quote her in full:
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“I am finding what looks like dried up dead worms (dark brown/black about 2” long and very thin maybe 1/8” or less) along the baseboards of my bedroom ON THE SECOND FLOOR underneath a shelf where we moved some containerized plants indoors. However, we noticed the “worms” before the plants were moved into the house. I can understand how some worms that were in the potted plants may have crawled out, but can’t understand how any worms got upstairs before the plants did. My gutters are overflowing with debris…is it possible that worms living in the gutter are coming into the house? Another possibility is something has gotten into my “attic space” and is getting into the living areas and leaving fecal matter…but I do not know of any creatures that have waste that is long and skinny and looks like a dried up worm. Have had to block several holes woodpeckers made through my cedar siding…could they have introduced worms into the walls?”
Above all else, it would helpful to have a picture of the creatures in question, considering that the reader’s suggestions run from worms to bizarrely shaped fecal matter. The creature’s provenance, as it were, is also uncertain – they could be coming from any number of different places, and they could be getting into the house any number of different ways. Basically, given what we know, essentially everything our reader said could be true, or it could be a combination of what she said.
Consider this scenario: we have heard of people finding earthworms in their gutters, which, when packed with composting leaves (as is the case with our reader’s gutter), is actually a fairly good place for an earthworm to live. How they get up to the gutter in the first place is uncertain, but it isn’t too hard to imagine certain scenarios. The beginning of earthworm life is fairly complicated, but basically they enter the world in tiny cocoons, and these could be carried unwittingly by birds, squirrels, and other creature onto leaves that fall into gutters, or directly into gutters themselves. Once there, the worms could reproduce, creating a self-perpetuating colony of earthworms that could potentially make their way into a home – through an open window, say, or maybe even through holes made by woodpeckers. Unless a house is immaculately sealed – and with windows, doors, cracks in the foundation, and so on, this is basically impossible – things are going to get in, and not only on the ground floor. Earthworms are not a particularly common household pest, but they might have found their way into our reader’s house, especially if there was some source of moisture around the baseboards, where the worms were found.
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This is of course just one (highly speculative) scenario, and we could have spun up others. We use it to illustrate that a whole range of explanations is possible for our reader’s situation, and the range in this case is particularly broad since we don’t have any image to work from. So, unfortunately, we can’t offer our reader anything definitive, but maybe we’ve at least initiated a promising line of inquiry.