A reader recently found little, white worms in his kitchen. The reader left “dirty washing” (perhaps something like dirty plates or dirty rags) on the kitchen floor over night, and in the morning there were lots of little, white worms on the kitchen floor, directly underneath the “washing.” We receive a lot of questions about little, white worms, and ironically these questions are rarely about little, white worms at all. Rather, they tend to be about maggots, which are indeed little and white, but they are not worms (for reasons we’ll explain in a moment). We think the white “worms” our reader found are maggots, but we’ll also throw out a few more possibilities for our reader to investigate.
Maggots are the larval form – i.e., the not fully matured form – of the common housefly. They are indeed worm-like in shape, with elongated bodies that tend to be about one eighth of an inch (or about four millimeters) in length. They are born into and thrive in unsanitary environments. In houses, these environments tend to be bathrooms or kitchens, as they feed on things like waste or decaying food. Again, we aren’t sure what “dirty washing” is, but it very well may involve some leftover foods that are starting to rot.
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Although we think there is a fairly good chance that our reader found maggots, we were not given very much information about the creature our reader found, and this of course decreases our confidence in our answer. We know the reader found a creature that is “little,” but what exactly does that mean? Conceivably anything under a couple of inches in length might described as “little” – it all depends on what kind of worms (or larvae) one is accustomed to seeing. If you are gardener coming in frequent contact with long, fat earthworms, for instance, any sort of larva might seem little.
Also, the creature in the kitchen is white, but is it exclusively white? Does it perhaps have a white body with stripes? If so, maybe our reader found moth fly larvae, a creature that is very common and is also (like maggots) found in unsanitary places. Many moth fly larvae have dark – and therefore noticeable – stripes, but not all of them do, and since a moth fly larva’s main color is whitish, it’s possible our reader found moth fly larvae. (We also answer questions about moth fly larvae all the time, and for this reason they are always on our radar when answering reader inquiries. If readers find them all the time, they are clearly quite common.)
We make reference to moth fly larvae primarily because we presume “dirty washing” means something unsanitary, but there are two other creatures that come up in the context of “worms” found in kitchens. First, our reader could have found so-called “waxworms,” or the larval form of pantry moths. These creatures actually look almost exactly like maggots, which is to say they are little and white, but they are generally known for getting into grains in the kitchen. Mealworms, another possible answer to our reader’s question, are also known for getting into grains, but they could be found in other parts of the kitchen as well. Mealworms are sometimes an off-white color, but they are more commonly a tan or brownish color, so of these two creatures, we’d say it is more likely our reader found waxworms and not mealworms.
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Our best guess is that the little, white “worms” our reader found are maggots, or the larvae of the housefly. The discovered creatures’ physical description and the place where they were found suggest this, but unfortunately we can’t be certain of this answer. Our reader should also look into moth fly larvae, waxworms, and mealworms, and hopefully between all of these suggestions our reader will find the answer for which he is looking.