This man in Atlanta, Georgia has been finding a lot of worms in his breakfast nook next to his kitchen. According to our reader, and as seen in the images provided, these worms are 1/4-inch long, tan in color, and with a “brown spot on their top front.”
A reader wrote to us a few days ago to ask about some tiny worms he found coming out of what appears to be his shower drain. (The reader said the worms came out of his “water floor trap,” but based on the pictures he submitted, we are pretty sure this means the worms are in and around the shower drain.) The reader said the worms look like earthworms, but are “very tiny,” and indeed they are, as you’ll see in a moment. Naturally, the reader was curious what he found, so he submitted some pictures to us for “analysis,” asking us to identify the tiny worms in the drain if possible.
Phoenix Worms, despite their name, are not worms – rather, they are the larvae of the black soldier fly – and as far as we know they have no special connection to the city of Phoenix (other than that they thrive in compost bins even in extremely hot whether, something that can’t be said of another prolific creature of composting – the red worm). The name “Phoenix Worms” was given to the larvae by Dr. Craig Sheppard, who started selling BSFL (as black soldier fly larvae are frequently called) as feeder insects – for certain types of reptiles, for example. We recently received a question about Phoenix Worms, and it is one of the stranger ones we’ve been sent in awhile. (To be sure, it is a downright normal question compared to the one we received about selling worms in a milk jug that had been buried for six months.)
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.
We write about maggots a lot. We’re not entirely sure why, but many a reader question centers on the ubiquitous (or so you would think) maggot. We’ve written about maggots on the bathroom floor – twice – and we’ve also touched on maggots found in bone marrow and maggots and dogs. What’s more, all of these maggot-related articles were written recently, within the last half year or so. Clearly, there is no shortage of reader queries about maggots.
A reader recently asked about a tiny white worm with a black dot on the end. This reader indicated that they found the worm in an ice machine. Given these two facts, the answer is that this “worm” is most likely a maggot, which is the larva of a fly.