“What are these brown worm-like bugs in my toilet?” asks AnnaMarie in her submission regarding the two, segmented creatures pictured below. She offers no further context, and, unfortunately, the lighting is not the best, and it is hard to make out the organisms’ finer characteristics. That said, based on their shape – particularly the little tapered tip at one end of its body – we think that these might be black soldier fly larvae. How these two critters would have come to show up in AnnaMarie’s toilet is a mystery to us, as black soldier fly larvae are not typically found in this spot.
“I’ve found this worm/larva a few times recently in one of my toilets”, states our reader from South Carolina in his submission regarding the black, segmented worm-like critter pictured below. “At first I thought it was a leaf that might have fallen off my dog’s face, but when I saw it the second/third time I noticed it was moving. It’s about 3/4-1” long, about 1/4 wide and 1/4” high. It’s dark brown/black, segmented, has hairs (legs?) at the lower side or underside, and moves like a caterpillar. The narrow tapered end seems to be the head as that’s the direction it crawls. No one has used the toilet prior to finding them. YES, my dogs do drink from the toilet. I’m concerned now that I see it’s alive, that it may be coming from my dog as he drinks? It does look similar to a few things I’ve seen on your site, but finding them in the toilet is throwing me. I’m located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and have seen them four times in the past two weeks. Thanks for any guidance you can offer.”
“I found this thing apparently crawling away from a scene of carnage in my dining room in Fayetteville, NY, not far from Syracuse”, writes this reader in his submission regarding the black, segmented worm-like creature pictured below. “One of my cats got a mouse, started eating it, but apparently was grossed out and threw up not far from the headless corpse of the mouse. In the process of cleaning that up, I noticed what I thought was a small cat turd about 3-4 ft away, but as I picked it up with a paper towel, it moved. And it appeared to have crawled away from the kill site.
“I found this on my bathroom floor!” states this reader about the gray, segmented creature pictured below. “Pretty large! I live in Anderson, California.”
“Found this in my basement and I’m freaked out”, states this reader about the segmented, black worm-like creature pictured below. “Would anyone know what this could be? Thank you!”
“It is currently the start of winter and I noticed one morning that there is a larva- or caterpillar-like creature on my floor”, states this reader about the creature pictured below. “The larva is brown, has a small white dot where I assume the head is, and the butt is flat-ish.”
“What is this creature I found in my house in Coventry, UK?” asks this reader concerning the organism pictured below. The creature in question appears to have a white and gray, thick body, and a square of black sticking out from one end of its body.
“What is this worm?” is all this reader asks in her submission. The creature she asks about is black in color, with a segmented body, and a round, pointy tip at one end of its body.
“I found black soldier flies and larvae in my home,” states this reader in her submission. These critters were found in her bathroom, kitchen and on her bed, and our reader asks that we tell her how to get rid of them.
“What is it?” asks this reader in June Lake, California about the organism in the photograph below. This black and brown creature sports a segmented body with seemingly no legs attached, and has no discernible face.
“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?”
A puzzling case of separate clusters of worms of different species was discovered by this woman and her caretakers in the UK. The first cluster of worms was found behind “the bin/cat food/litter,” and were deemed to be maggots, while the second cluster of unidentified worms, which were also found in the same place, were dark brown in color, and segmented.
A number of worms have been crawling about this reader’s home, who suspects they are coming from under his washing machine. He wonders what exactly these gray, segmented worms are, and if they are dangerous.
Black soldier fly larvae, a.k.a. BSFL, are common and widespread creatures. They aren’t considered pests or vector species, which means they generally don’t cause damage, destruction, or bring up any health concerns.
We recently received a seemingly straightforward question from a reader: “How did a Phoenix Worm end up in my toilet?” This question about Phoenix Worms, although refreshing in its brevity, is actually a little bit tricky to answer, as it gives rise to other questions: what is a Phoenix Worm exactly (hint: it’s not a worm), and could this creature possibly end up in a toilet? If not, then what is our reader finding in his toilet? Then again, if our reader did find a Phoenix Worm in his toilet, we only have one question to answer: how did it end up there?
We received a blunt series of questions (accompanied by a blurry photograph) about what appears to be a black soldier fly larva. The reader asked – in all capital letters – what the creature was and what “caused” it. The reader was also wondering if the creature is harmful and how she can get rid of it. Again, the picture that came along with the question, which is the only information we were given about the creature, is about as unclear as the philosophy, such as it is, of Adorno. However, it nevertheless appears to depict a black soldier fly larva, and since we have no additional information (like the location and size of the creature) to gauge this hypothesis, we’ll operate on the assumption that reader did in fact find black soldier fly larvae. The rather frantic tone of our reader’s email, implied by its capital letters and staccato style of questioning, led us to assume our reader is worried above all else that black soldier fly larvae are harmful, so we will address this concern first, and then address her other questions thereafter.
We receive questions about a staggering variety of worms and other worm-like creatures, making our job as worm identifiers difficult (but also interesting). However, a lot of readers inquire about the same kinds of worms (or larvae), like black soldier fly larvae, which seems to come up all the time, most recently from a reader who found them on his porch. We receive questions about these “worms,” as reader’s often refer them (even though they aren’t actually worms), because black soldier flies (and especially their larval form) are common. We have to admit we sometimes like writing about what’s familiar. We are getting ahead of ourselves, however, because we aren’t entirely certain our reader found black soldier fly larvae. So, let us first tell you what our reader found and show you the best picture he submitted, and then we’ll explain why we think he found black soldier fly larvae.
A few weeks back, we received a question from a reader about some small brown worms (or rather, worm-like creatures) he found in rotten organic matter. We’re not sure how he determined this, but the organic matter was 60 degrees Celsius (or 140 degrees Fahrenheit), and this surprised the reader. He contained the creatures and has since been using them to feed his chickens, who seem to enjoy them (the reader supposes they are like M&Ms to the chickens because the creatures he found are crunchy). Based on everything the reader said and the pictures he sent us, we are almost certain he found black soldier fly larvae (i.e., the larval form of black soldier flies), which are also known as “Phoenix Worms.” Phoenix Worms are often used for composting; in fact, they are so commonly used that they have their own acronym, BSFL (short for “black solider fly larva,” of course). These larvae actually thrive in hot compost bins and other organic matter, so it’s not surprising that our reader found them in this environment (although 60 degrees Celsius is really hot even for BSFL).
The black soldier fly, which goes by the scientific name Hermetia illucens, is a very common type of fly. It belongs to the family Stratiomyidae, which is composed of roughly 1,500 species that are often simply known as soldier flies. Because of their helpful role in composting, the larvae of black soldier flies (often called “BSFL” or “Phoenix Worms”) are perhaps better known than the adult flies. In this article, we’ll give some basic information about both black soldier flies and the larval form of this creature.