Worm-like Caterpillars in the House

A reader recently wrote to us about caterpillar-like worms entering the house, and this reader was also interested in learning about how to get rid of them. (Technically, the reader wrote to us about “catterpillow like worms” entering the house, but we’ll assume it was bad typing day.) Most of the time, worms that are like caterpillars are in fact just plain caterpillars (check out this article if you want to know the difference between caterpillars and worms), so we can assume our reader is dealing with caterpillars, but in truth it doesn’t really matter what we’re dealing with because the reader merely mentioned that some type of worm-caterpillar creature is in the house. Thus, we’ll have to confine ourselves to addressing the general question of how to get rid of worms and caterpillars in your house.

The first thing our reader should investigate is where the caterpillars or worms are being found. The reader mentioned that the creatures are all over the carpet in the morning, but it’s relevant to know where the carpet is in the house. If it’s the carpet by the front door, then it’s fairly clear how the caterpillars or worms are getting in: through cracks in the front door, or perhaps they are being tracked in by people or pets entering the house.

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If this is the case, it’s best to seal up the door or any of the cracks around the entrance. Check the weather stripping to make sure the door is as close to airtight as possible. If you suspect that the worm-caterpillars are coming through weep holes, don’t plug them completely (that could lead to water-drainage problems), but partially seal them with plastic mesh. (Don’t use steel or copper scrub pads, as these will oxidize and stain your house.) You should also remain vigilant throughout the day, seeing if the worms appear at any other time besides the morning. If they do, it’s possible someone is tracking them in. If they only come in at night, when no one is entering the house, then the problem is likely related to gaps in the house.

No matter where you find the worm-like creatures in your house, the first thing you should check for are possible ways that the creatures might have entered the house, and if you find any gaps or cracks, address them in the ways described above. To be sure, it can often be difficult to figure out how worms, caterpillars, and other bugs are entering your house. Sometimes people find them in an upstairs hallway, for example, not by any windows or doors – where are they coming from? Check the attic, where moths, the parents of some caterpillars, like to dwell. The point is that it can be hard to find all the gaps in your house, and in fact you probably won’t be able to, but worms and caterpillars have to find their way in somehow, so the best way to address the problem is seal up your house as much as possible.

So, essentially, our advice boils down to this: first, get rid of the worms or caterpillars in the house already (obviously), then look for and seal any gaps in the house. After this, all you can really do is wait and hope that your sealants will do the trick, or at least reduce the problem. If you are dealing with a full-blown infestation, more extreme measures may need to be taken, but that lies outside the scope of this article.

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