“I have noticed dried out worms every few days in one specific room for the last month”, writes Eoghan from Ireland, referring to the pink worms pictured below. “Please note it has been raining quite heavily the last month. The room and house are warm and not considered damp. There is a roller door that I believe these worms might be getting under and into the house. I sealed the door but they still seem to be getting in. I believe there is a tiny hole without a screw that I cannot visibly see but perhaps they might be getting in so I’m going to seal that today. I have attached several photos, on one occasion I found two worms wrapped together in the sliding door. There is no mulch or leaves outside the door, there is only a patio and then our garden. Interested to get your view on this and advice to prevent them from entering my house. Is there a reason why they are entering my house? Thanks so much!”
Based on what Eoghan has told us, but more so based on the excellent photos he sent in, we have concluded that these are earthworms. We came to this conclusion after seeing the second photo, in which the earthworm’s clitellum is clearly visible. The clitellum is a physical characteristic that is unique to earthworms and leeches, and this is definitely no leech. It is a thicker band of skin typically situated near the head which holds the egg sacs of the worm. What we are seeing in the first photo, in which the worms are “wrapped together”, is actually the earthworms mating. Now, earthworms do not purposefully infest homes, as they have nothing to eat in there, and the conditions are not humid enough (hence why they keep drying out in Eoghan’s home), but he might still want to move these outside before baby earthworms are born.
The reason the earthworms are entering Eoghan’s home is likely because of the dropping temperatures: they are seeking warm shelter in his home. On top of that, as he mentions, there has been heavy rain, and heavy rain always brings earthworms to the surface, and forces them to try to find shelter. The reason this happens is because terrestrial earthworms are not aquatic, and need oxygen to breathe. When it rains, earthworm burrows are filled with water, forcing the earthworm to the surface so as to stay alive. We agree with Eoghan that the worms could still be coming in through the tiny hole he mentions, and that sealing that hole could help prevent them from getting in. Other than that, he has already covered the other important steps of prevention, such as keeping mulch and leaf litter away from the home. On top of this, he can also sprinkle a hefty amount of salt around the edges of his home (particularly in front of the sliding doors), as this will discourage worms from coming inside.
To conclude, we think Eoghan found earthworms in his home. They are not dangerous, and we recommend moving them outside. Despite the cold temperatures, they have a better chance of surviving out there than in his home. We hope this helps and we wish him the very best!
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