“What is this type of worm? Is it dangerous?” asks this reader in her query regarding the white creature photographed below. “Only one pops out every four weeks […] around the stove area and we cannot find where it is coming from.”
Given our reader’s concerns, she simply wants to make sure that these worms are nothing to worry about. We can confirm that she needs not be concerned about these, at least in terms of them being “dangerous”. These are pantry moth larvae, otherwise known as Indianmeal moth larvae, which are not harmful to human or animal health (at least directly), but which will infest food products and render them inedible. These critters will mostly feed on grains, nuts, and other dried goods commonly stored in pantries, hence the name, and so it is here that our reader will want to look for more of the larvae. That said, our guess is that the eggs might have been laid behind the stove, or that there is a piece of dropped food behind the stove which the pantry moth larvae are attracted to, and that is why they keep popping out of this place. Regardless, our reader should look and clean behind her stove to find out why the larvae might be there and to eliminate the infestation.
With that in mind, our reader will want to perform a deep clean of her entire kitchen, all the while being on the lookout for more pantry moth larvae. It will be obvious which foods are infested (they will be littered with larvae and/or faecal pellets, and the food will be discolored and look off) and any such foods should be thrown out. Our reader should ensure that any infested products are not thrown in the garbage inside the home, as the infestation will just continue inside the trash can and then can spread back out into the kitchen. To prevent future infestations of pantry moth larvae, our reader can store grains, cereal and nuts in airtight containers, freeze any such products after being brought home from the grocery store for more than 15 hours (yes, pantry moth larvae can be brought in on grocery store products), and ensure that the kitchen is consistently cleaned and any food debris is swept up and discarded, rather than left to rot.
In conclusion, the white worm-like creatures that have been popping out from behind our reader’s stove are pantry moth larvae. These larvae are not directly dangerous to humans or animals, but the infested foods are definitely not good to eat (the worst that might happen is indigestion or vomiting). We hope that this article answers our reader’s questions and that it has put her mind at ease. We wish her the best of luck with tackling this potential infestation!
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