Over the last few days, we have received two questions about tiny worms that hang on threads. In a separate article, we addressed one of the thread-spinning worms, which were found outside, and now we will address the question from a reader who found the tiny worms hanging on threads in his kitchen. The reader had several questions, but they primarily concerned what the tiny worms are and how to get rid of them, and thus we will direct our primary attention toward the following question: what kind of small worms can you find hanging from silk thread in your kitchen, and how do you get rid of them?
The reader told us that an image was attached to his email, and he wrote his question as if one was attached. However, there was no picture with his question, and obviously this makes identification more difficult. However, the fact that the worms our reader found hang on silk threads suggests he is finding inchworms, the larval form of geometer moths. (This means that inchworms are caterpillars, not worms, despite their common name.) The reader actually came close to concluding the same when he asked if he had found the larva of a moth. Indeed he did, assuming he actually found an inchworm, and we’ll have to assume this because it strikes us as the most likely possibility.
By chance, we have answered a question very similar to the one our reader asked – it was about small brown “worms” in the laundry room – and in this article we noted that it is strange to find inchworms inside one’s home. We must note the same here, which is relevant to the question of getting rid of inchworms for reasons that will soon become clear.
Inchworms are almost exclusively the concern of people with nice trees in their yards. Inchworms (particularly the two species of cankerworm) are notorious tree pests, stripping trees and shrubs of their foliage in a way that can damage the plant’s health. We have written about controlling an inchworm infestation before, but this advice applies entirely to getting rid of inchworms from your yard. What this means for our reader is that if he is finding inchworms, he shouldn’t be facing any sort of long-term problem. A kitchen is not the sort of place that an inchworm would find favorable for living, unless the kitchen is filled with leafy trees. So, if there are inchworms in our reader’s house, they must have gotten there by accident, as it is seems very unlikely that inchworms actually targeted our reader’s kitchen as a good place to live. Thus, our reader should be able to simply remove the inchworms from his kitchen to address the problem. The inchworms shouldn’t be a part of any larger geometer moth life cycle taking place in the kitchen because, once more, a kitchen isn’t a good place for inchworms.
We’ll conclude by addressing the final concern of our reader, which is that the creatures in his kitchen were introduced via fresh vegetables from his neighbor. While plenty of larvae might find their way to a kitchen through an infected vegetable, this seems unlikely in the case of inchworms because they almost exclusively feed on tree leaves. So, we don’t think the vegetables introduced the worms into his kitchen, if they are in fact inchworms.
And of course our reader may not be finding inchworms; we certainly aren’t positive in our identification, and this is important for our reader to know. However, there are good reasons for thinking our reader found inchworms – when people ask about thread-producing “worms,” they are generally talking about inchworms – and if he did find inchworms, then he shouldn’t have to worry about any sort of kitchen infestation. He should take care of the worms he found, and hopefully they won’t prove to be a reoccurring problem.