A frustrated reader wrote to us a while ago about tiny, red worms that he has been finding in his kitchen and bathroom. According to the reader, the worms are actually “redish” (reddish, presumably), approximately the color of rust. The tiny, red worms do not have any legs, and they don’t appear to have hair either. The reader finds the worms when he is sweeping – they crawl out of the piles of dirt that accumulate. The reader insists that no one knows what they are, and that no website dedicated to worms and larvae (including All About Worms) has any information about the worms in his bathroom and kitchen. What are the tiny, red worms he is finding?
We’re not entirely sure how to approach this question, as we can certainly provide a guess as to what he is finding, but we (and probably thousands of other websites) have written about them many times before. Moreover, if our reader truly found something extraordinarily unique, then there is little chance that we could identify it. We can only rely on our past question answering experience and the information we read about worms, which is overwhelming online, to address reader queries. So, if our reader looked through all the answers we’ve written over the years and scoured the Internet for information, but came up with literally nothing, we can’t help but feel that we will be of little help.
That said, perhaps our reader did find something more common than he realizes, and in which case we would suggest that he found perhaps the most common worm of them all: the earthworm. Now, it may seem absurd to suggest that our reader found something so pedestrian as an earthworm after he has been searching all over for answers, but every piece of information he provided is more or less consistent with this suggestion. First, the worms he found are a reddish color, and of course many earthworms are red too (they can be dark or light reds, shades of pink, brown, or basically any combination thereof). The creature our reader found doesn’t have any legs, so that means it can’t be a millipede or centipede, two other common household pests, either. Finally, the reader is evidently finding these worms on the floor (unless he is sweeping the walls and ceiling), which is where you would expect to find an earthworm. Earthworms can get into your house in a number of different ways, usually through some crack or other gap that is near the bottom of the house, where soil, the home of earthworms, perhaps is (depending on our reader’s house). He is finding them in the bathroom, so maybe the earthworms are infiltrating the pipes that are in the slabs commonly under showers and bathtubs.
People who are familiar with earthworms may be skeptical of our answer for at least two reasons. One, the reader said the creatures he’s finding have no hair, and two, he described what he has been finding as “tiny.” Worms do in fact have a type of hair called satae; however, these are hard to see, and it is certainly conceivable that our reader failed to notice them. As far as the worm’s size is concerned, all we can say is that “tiny” is a relative term, so we have no idea what he means by this description. And besides that, there are over 7,000 species of earthworm, and their size varies greatly. Some are less than a half an inch (or about 10 millimeters) in length, and this could certainly be regarded as tiny by some. For instance, redworms (Eisenia fetida), the prolific consumers frequently used in compost bins, are a small species of earthworm. They don’t burrow deeply into the soil, perhaps making them more likely to move up into a house than down away from it, and we’ve actually read accounts of people finding them on their bathroom floors. Maybe our reader is merely finding redworms?
Of course, we simply don’t know, and the last thing we want to do is offend our reader by pointing to such a common creature when he has searched mightily for an answer. However, earthworms can be tiny, red worms that you find in your bathroom and kitchen, and they do more or less match the description supplied to us by our reader, so we are left with little else to suggest. Our only other thought, given the small size of the creatures he’s been finding, is that he found some sort of larva. People find larvae – creatures like moth fly larvae and waxworms – in their houses all the time, and we write about them frequently, but we couldn’t think of any larvae that match what our reader found. We wish our reader the best of luck with his predicament, and urge him to look into some different types of earthworms to learn more about the worms that are possibly entering his house.
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