“Last night I was getting in the shower and everything was going fine until I look up and there are dozens of tiny whitish worms just chilling on my shower curtain,” begins this reader in his query. Based in Northern Worcester County in Massachusetts, our reader asks that we tell him what these creatures are and how to get rid of them.
Naturally, we will do our best to answer our reader’s questions and get to the bottom of what these worms are. However, before we get into uncovering these worms’ identities, we will take into account the rest of the context our reader provided. Our reader reports seeing “a couple of [the worms] hanging from” what he assumes to be “some type of silk.” He goes on to say that he has read up on drain worms, and from what he has gathered, “they tend to stay near drains.” We assume that this is one of his guesses as to what these worms could be.
Strangely enough, these worms resemble clothes moth larvae more than they do drain fly larvae. Although the most logical conclusion to draw would be that these are drain fly larvae, as these creatures tend to live near or in drains, feeding off the organic matter that builds up there, these simply do not resemble drain fly larvae in the slightest. Drain fly larvae are more brown in color, and tend to be striped. They can also be black, but they are never white or clear as these worms are. The whitish, clear body with the black head is more characteristic of the clothes moth larva.
Clothes moth larvae are the caterpillars of any moth species known to feed on textile materials. Their larvae are considered pests and can be extremely destructive in the household. They feed on anything even partially animal-based, such as clothing, bed sheets and upholstery. Getting rid of them entails laundering/steam-cleaning any animal-based materials in the home, as well as vacuuming up any areas they may be roaming. In this case, the creatures are most concentrated in the bathroom, so this is where our reader will want to focus his cleaning efforts.
That being said, finding clothes moth larvae in one’s bathroom is not common; usually they are found in between the folds of clothing or bedsheets, or underneath an upholstered piece of furniture. They are more likely to be found somewhere where they have easy access to a source of food, so where the textiles are. There is little reason for them to be inside a bathroom. Taking that into account, we would suggest that these could actually be newly hatched fall armyworms. Contrary to the clothes moth larva, the fall armyworm is not a pest of the home, but of the outdoors, specifically farms. It is not uncommon that fall armyworm moths lay their eggs inside people’s homes during the summer, and that would explain the sheer number of these worms. Although newly hatched fall armyworms tend to be a darker color, they are still somewhat transparent, and the shape and size of these worms is very reminiscent of a newborn fall armyworm. In the case that these are fall armyworms, our reader needs to do nothing more than move the worms outside.
Now, while we are not quite sure exactly what these could be — their small size and lack of distinct characteristics making them difficult to identify — there are still some general tips we can give to our reader. We want to make sure his home is pest free and that he is not crept up on by any other sort of critter. For that reason, we will briefly go over some things one can do to prevent any and all worms from entering one’s home. To start off with, cleaning one’s drains regularly will prevent the build up of organic material and will help prevent creatures such as drain fly larvae, bloodworms and earthworms from crawling up one’s drains. Regular housekeeping in general will help prevent bug infestations. Sealing cracks in flooring and walling (where possible) will prevent bugs from crawling through them and into one’s home (this especially a problem for those with older homes). Likewise, ensuring the durability and intactness of one’s window screens will stop bugs from crawling or flying through any cracks in those. Lastly, the most obvious tip is to move any roaming creature outside, and with caution (wearing garden gloves to prevent possible allergic reactions is always recommended).
To conclude, we are not quite sure what these worms that our reader found are. There is a chance that they are clothes moth larvae, but there is also a chance that they are fall armyworm larvae, it is hard to say. If any of our other readers have any clues as to what these might be, they are welcome to share their ideas in the comments section below. We hope that this article is helpful in some way to our reader, and that despite us not being able to give concrete answers as to the identity of these worms, he is still able to deal with this issue effectively and efficiently.
All About Worms is always free, always reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP Publishing.