Two large groups of small black worm-like creatures were found in this woman’s upstate New York home. She asks if we can tell her what they are likely to be.
The two groups of worms were discovered within the span of two days, during a humid, hot week in New York. Our reader noticed round, dark spots of “1 inch” in size on her living room wall and on her kitchen ceiling. When she looked closer, she noticed that the spots were moving, thus discovering that these were worm-like organisms of some sort. It is our opinion that these organisms are fall armyworms.
We have seen multiple cases of people finding fall armyworms (also referred to as FAW) in their homes this summer. Despite being agricultural pests, who really want nothing to do with someone’s urban home, an adult armyworm moth will occasionally lay her eggs inside a building, rather than along the leaf of a plant, as they usually do. This is likely due to the moth wanting to ensure shelter and safety for her unborn offspring. It makes sense that our reader is based in upstate New York as well, as the larvae will be closer to farms when they hatch, where they will feed on their natural diet of a wide assortment of grain crops and other plants.
The timing also makes sense. Fall armyworms get their name from the time during which their numbers are greatest, which is during late summer and early fall. It is thus also this time when they are the biggest problem for farmers, who have declared the pest an international danger. Armyworms are as notorious as they are because they are not really picky about what they eat, and when they do find something to eat, they tear through it as if it were their last meal. Not only are they efficient eaters, but armyworms stick together even after hatching. Just like we see in the photographs our reader sent in, armyworms will travel in large groups. After all, a gang of caterpillars is called an ‘army’, hence the name ‘armyworm’. Regardless, they are not something our reader needs to worry about affecting her own home. If she collects the caterpillars in a dustpan and takes them outside, she should not have any problem. Although they pose no real threat to houseplants, it is easier to get them out when one knows where they are, and they are all gathered tightly together.
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In conclusion, the “round” “dark” spots our reader found on the walls and ceiling of her home are fall armyworms. They are nothing to be feared and can be moved outside with no consequence to our reader’s home or health. Of course, as with any organism, it is still best to wear some form of protective gear (like gardening gloves) when handling said organism. One cannot always account for allergic reactions. We hope this article has been informative and has helped put our reader’s mind at ease.