“Found these in my lounge,” says this reader about the gray-brown critter photographed below. According to our reader, this segmented creature is approximately 3/5-inch in length and 2/5-inch in width, and she has been finding an average of one per day for the past few weeks. “What is it?”
It is our opinion that this is a black soldier fly larva. Commonly referred to by the initialism, BSFL, these larvae are scavengers and will seek out rotting food that they can munch on. Their parents, the adult black soldier flies, are small in size (can fit on one’s finger tip) and a glossy jet black. Unlike their larval counterparts, the adult fly is not a pest. Although it is common to find BSFL on their own, one is just as likely to find them in groups. This is because, when a food source is located, the larvae tend to get very competitive and will try to block each other from eating their share of the food, thus essentially creating piles of larvae around the food source. Since our reader has been finding these larvae one at a time, our guess is that the larvae are still seeking out a food source.
So, what our reader should do to prevent a pile of larvae is search her home for any detritus of food or plants that, if neglected, may rot and thereby attract BSFL. Searching under and inside kitchen cabinets, in or around potted plants, and generally around any place where food is consumed and spillages may occur is a good idea. Naturally, our reader will want to search her lounge for any spilled food, as that is where the highest concentration of these larvae is. Generally speaking, consistent house-keeping should prevent BSFL from finding a source of food, and if this is the case, then the BSFL should eventually give up and move on to another location in search of food. Of course, we understand that our reader may not simply want to wait for that to happen, so physically moving the larvae outside may also be a good idea. We advise using gardening gloves and/or a dustpan when moving them, as one never knows if an allergic reaction will occur upon skin-to-skin contact with an unfamiliar creature. If our reader is not consistently vacuuming and sanitizing her home, then it could be that the adult fly was attracted to some stray piece of food and laid her eggs in our reader’s home for that reason. Alternatively, it could be that the larvae are wandering in from outside, or that the eggs were indeed laid in our reader’s home, but merely as a result of the fly accidentally flying in and not being able to find its way out. Seeing as our reader is finding one per day, we would suppose the latter is more probable.
To conclude, the worm-like critters our reader has been finding daily are black soldier fly larvae. They are not harmful to humans or pets, but infestations are possible as the larvae are considered pests and will want to eat any leftover food that is left out to decompose. However, we are sure that if our reader applies the methods listed above then she will no longer be dealing with these creatures and an infestation will not occur. We welcome our reader to let us know if this article was helpful in the comments section below and we wish her the best of luck!
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