We recently heard from one of our readers in Tucson, Arizona. He wrote to us about some worm-like organisms he noticed in his studio apartment. He found several creatures “squirming about” on the floor (he didn’t specify how many). He explained that there is no carpeting in his apartment, just laminate wood flooring. He has no idea what they are and hopes that we can help him figure it out.
The first photograph shows a plump beige specimen on the floor. We guess that it is 1-2 inches long, but we have no way to confirm this. We can see that it has a segmented body, but other than that we can’t discern much detail about its appearance. Let’s take a look at the second photograph:
While this photo shows us a closer view of the specimen, we still don’t know much about it. Based on this photograph we think it might be a mealworm or a palm flower moth larva. Both of these larvae can be beige colored and have segmented bodies. So, which is it?
The final photograph shows another of the larvae our reader found. However, this specimen is more pink colored than beige, which makes us believe that our reader is dealing with palm flower moth larvae, not mealworms.
Palm flower moth larvae eat plants that belong to the palm family. In the United States they are found in California, Nevada, and Arizona. Since our reader lives in Arizona this adds up! These caterpillars typically live outdoors, but readers actually discover them inside their homes fairly often. Palm flower moth larvae pupate in the bark of trees, but if they get knocked out of the tree for some reason they sometimes crawl into a home to undergo their big transformation. Since there isn’t a food source for these larvae inside our reader’s home, after he removes the ones that are already inside, he will need to focus on preventing more from getting in rather than pest management. There might be a window or door that isn’t properly sealed that is serving as an entry point for these caterpillars. Once he finds and seals where they are getting in from, he hopefully won’t find any more of these larvae inside of his home.
To wrap up, a reader found several worm-like organisms in his studio apartment in Arizona. We believe he is dealing with palm flower moth larvae.