A reader from Texas recently wrote to us about some small black worms he is finding in his recreational vehicle (“RV”), and sent us a picture of one that is on his floor. On some days, he finds as many as six or seven of the black worms (which can also be “charcoal grey” worms) in his RV, but he has also gone up to a week without finding any worms. After struggling to discern where the worms are coming from, he finally concluded that they are entering the RV through the heat vents. The reader lives in his RV, and so was naturally wondering what he is finding, and he also wanted to know how to get rid of the black worms that have taken up residence in his RV.
First, here is the picture the reader sent us:
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The picture is blurry, clearly (or rather not so clearly), but it nevertheless gives us a usable image of the creature in question, which we are reasonably confident is a black soldier fly larva. Since it is a black soldier fly larva, our reader actually isn’t finding worms, despite our earlier use of the word “worms” (which we did to keep with our reader’s usage, although to his credit he did label his picture “the worm or larvae.”)
We have written about black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) on many different occasions. We have written a fairly thorough overview of black soldier fly larvae, which are also called Phoenix Worms, and we have also received some excellent pictures of black soldier fly larvae from readers. There have been several other occasions that have required us to write about black soldier fly larvae as well. In other words, there is plenty of information about black soldier fly larvae (commonly written as “BSFL”) on the website for our reader to peruse if he is so inclined. The only thing we will note here is that BSFL are largely known because of their role in composting operations, which we mention only because it indicates the type of environment BSFL are primarily found in: piles of decaying organic matter (human-made or natural).
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For this reason, BSFL are generally not one of the types of larvae people find in their homes, mobile or otherwise. A reader once wrote to us about a Phoenix Worm in her toilet, but that is the only report we have received about people finding them in their home (although undoubtedly other people have found them in their homes as well). We have no idea what is drawing BSFL into our reader’s RV, but he should be especially mindful of the accessibility of organic waste in his home, which would most likely be found in a garbage can. If there is no food source and suitable habitat for the larvae, they won’t be drawn into the RV. Obviously, our reader will produce waste, but he should be mindful to dispose of it regularly, and if possible any trash that accumulates should be sealed, perhaps in a trash can that has a tight lid.
Our reader should also be mindful about where he parks his RV. If he is near accumulations of decaying organic matter (again, human-made or natural), he might be placing himself in an area in which lots of the larvae are crawling around. The ones that make it into the RV might only be there incidentally – they could be wayward travelers in the area who stumbled into an environment they wouldn’t otherwise be attracted to. This is in fact consistent with our reader’s observation that he only deals with the larvae sometimes. During those weeks when he finds no larvae, perhaps he is away from any potential source of BSFL. Finally, our reader might consider sealing his heat vents a little more thoroughly with some sort of filter. You can never keep every creature out of a home, but if you make it hard for a pest to get inside, they are obviously less likely to find their way in.
We aren’t certain our reader found black soldier fly larvae, but the picture the reader sent in does appear to show a BSFL. And regardless of what he found, he can following our advice to lessen the chances of pests making their way into his home.