“Can you tell me what this is?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the long, white objects pictured below. “I found it on the steps to my deck in Mansfield, Ohio. They look like long blonde hair but some of it moves like a worm. Thank you for your time!” Now, if we were to assume that these are organisms, and look only at the photograph our reader sent in, we would suggest these could be horsehair worms, as they can look like this – like long strands of “blonde hair”.
That said, having seen the video our reader sent in, we are going to have to disagree with her on one point – they do not move like worms at all. In fact, the only part of these worms that moves in the video is one bent ‘piece’ that is sticking up in the air and which seems to be ‘swaying’ in the wind, which is all we think it is doing. And for that reason, we are more inclined to think these might just be pieces of dry grass, rather than worms. They likely just blew onto our reader’s yard from somewhere: maybe a neighbor recently cut their grass. Additionally, if these were horsehair worms, then all of the ‘worms’ would be moving, and they would be writhing around each other in a far messier tangle – they are not nicknamed ‘Gordian worms’ for no reason. This name comes from the myth of the legendary Gordian knot that Alexander the Great cut with his sword.
With all of this said, if our reader is absolutely convinced these are worms, then we suggest she get a second opinion. She can put a few of the worms in a box with air holes and take them to her local county extension office. There someone will be able to physically examine the worms and may have a better chance at identifying them. Additionally, if any of our other readers have any insight about this that they want to share, they are more than welcome to do so in the comments section below.
To conclude, we do not think these strands of “blonde hair” are worms at all, but probably just pieces of grass. We can understand that these do slightly resemble worms, and we bet they gave our reader quite the scare, but we do not think she has anything to worry about. Even if they were horsehair worms, these worms, while being parasites of insects, do not take humans as hosts. We hope the information we provided proves helpful, and we wish our reader the very best!
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