One of our readers came across a clump of yellow worm-like organisms. They are about half an inch long. From examining the photograph, we know they have yellow bodies and black heads. The specimens in this photograph look almost identical to those in a photo we received earlier this year, featured in this article and identified as fungus gnat larvae.
We believe that the clump of yellow creatures we just heard about are also Sciaridae larvae, or fungus gnat larvae. Fungus gnats thrive where humidity and moisture levels are high. Common habitats include potted plants and mushroom farms. The flying adults are annoying, but the larvae are actually considered pests. They can damage tender plant roots when they are feeding in the soil. Seedlings, cuttings, and young plants experience the most damage from these larvae.
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When moisture levels change after heavy rain, the larvae may migrate to new environments. Often, they are searching for a drier place to pupate and mature into adult Fungus gnats. They relocate via mucous secretions (known as “slicks”) that they emit for protection. The photo shows the clump of larvae between halfway on a patch of grass and concrete. The larvae might be mid-migration, moving from the grass to a less saturated environment.
Our reader didn’t mention if she has plants that could fall victim to these Fungus Gnat Larvae, or if she is anxious to get rid of the creatures. If she is worried about her garden, she can be careful not to overwater, especially during winter when plants need less water. Also, removing damp plant litter will help prevent future visits from Fungus Gnats.
To wrap up, a reader sent us a photograph of translucent yellow worms with black heads. The larvae are clumped in a pile. We believe what she discovered are Fungus Gnat Larvae moving from one environment to another!
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