If you found worms in your house, the key to getting rid of them is to identify the type of worm you have. In some cases, the worm will be the larvae of an insect and in others, the pest that you found in your house won’t be a worm at all. The most common types of house pests include the case bearing clothes moth (larvae), moth flies (larvae), and the immature millipede.
The larvae of the case-bearing clothes moth are white and they look like a worm. The larvae carry a “case” that can reach up to 10 mm in length. The case is made from a combination of self-made silk and the materials that the larvae eat. The larvae consumes a hearty diet of dried plant and animal material when outdoors, and on carpets, clothing, general debris, dried cereal and vegetable matter indoors. The case-bearing clothes moth larvae are likely eat wool and cotton, but rarely will they nosh on nylon, acrylic, or polyester. The larvae are very selective, in fact, they prefer not to dine on any type of synthetic fibers.
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The larvae or caterpillars of the case-bearing clothes moth are among the few insects that have the ability to digest the keratin of feathers and hairs. Its insatiable appetite for fabric, cereal, and plant and vegetable matter make the case-bearing clothes moth larvae a serious household pest. As a result, it is important to get rid of them before your home becomes infested. There are many ways to prevent and kill the case-bearing clothes moth and its larvae.
To make sure you have a case-bearing clothes moth problem, just look around on the floors to see this odd creature is crawling around on the ground. If you spot just one, chances are, there are more where that came from. To inspect for damage you can begin by checking your cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, and storage areas. Damage is a good indication of an infestation. You should also inspect your carpeting (especially undisturbed areas), behind and under furniture, and in stored linen, such as in the linen closet.
After determining that you have a case-bearing clothes moth infestation, you can then determine the best treatment. Insecticides such as Insect Guard are effective as well as pesticide free clothes moth traps. There are also al number of sprays available that can be used in carpet and around furniture to kill and/or repel the clothes moth and its larvae. Visit any local hardware store to find the best spray or call an exterminator for professional treatment.
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To prevent another infestation you should:
•Dry-clean or launder woolens and other susceptible fabrics before storing. The case-bearing clothes moth prefers dirty fabrics, such as fabrics soaked in perspiration and urine. Cleaning these fabrics before storing actually kills any eggs and larvae that may be present. Once cleaned, seal all clothing in plastic. The moth cannot penetrate plastic.
•Treat susceptible fibers with special mothproofing liquids, so speak with your local dry cleaner about options.
•Purchase carpets and furniture made from synthetic fibers and be sure to keep them clean.
•Inspect roof spaces to make sure there are no bird nests present. Bird nests are perfect places for moths to hide and lay their eggs.
•Keep carpets vacuumed at all times. Vacuuming helps to remove debris that can actually support future infestations. Vacuum dark areas and underneath furniture where larvae like to feed and moths are likely to hide away from the light. Dispose of the contents of the vacuum bag immediately.
•Use freeze-treatment. This is an effective way to kill eggs. If you have small objects that can fit into a zip lock bag, simply place the item in the bag and freeze it for a week to kill larvae and eggs. After a week, clean the objects thoroughly.
Moth Flies (larvae)
If you’ve noticed small worm-like creatures crawling around on your bathroom floor or around the drains in your sinks, chances are they are the larvae of the moth fly. Moth flies, also called “drain flies,” “filter flies,” or “sewer flies,” are grayish or dark. They have hundreds of fine hairs covering the wings and the body. You can find moth flies resting indoors with their wings held over their bodies, like a roof. They can be found resting on bathroom walls and around drain-like surfaces. The larvae are less than ¼ of an inch long. They have small suction discs along their bellies to help suction to slippery surfaces. They have a distinct head and a somewhat flattened body. They do not have legs.
The larvae of moth flies like to hang around drains, within drains, underneath drain plugs and screens, and inside of pipes. They feed on the gelatinous film found in these areas of bathroom sinks, tubs, and toilets and well as kitchen sinks.
Moth flies develop through four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Moth flies have many generations each year and they occur anytime of the year in moist coastal regions – indoors and outdoors. Moth flies are common outdoors during the winter and spring months in California – mainly the interior areas.
If you want to avoid a moth fly infestation, there are several management methods you can use. You should screen windows and doors and reduce moisture and organic debris. To keep moth flies from multiplying, fix leaking plumbing immediately. You should also clean muck that collects in drains or under dripping taps, and brush or wash away slime under drain plugs, screens, and inside the top of drainpipes, above the water level in the J-trap. Biological control agents are also available for outdoor use as well as insecticides. Insecticides can be used outdoors, but they are not recommended for use in the home. Good drain cleaners for this issue are Bio Drain gel and Bio Clean powder.
Immature millipedes look like worms, in the beginning. When millipedes first hatch, they only have around three pairs of legs, giving the appearance of a worm. Additional millipede legs grow after each molt. Millipede eggs are either white, creamy yellow, or brown. They are smooth and spherical, and toughly 0.4 mm in diameter. Because of a sticky secretion, millipede eggs adhere in clusters. Millipede larvae are smaller than adults, of course.
Adult millipedes range in color from gray to brown. These anthropods are worm-like with cylindrical bodies. They are typically 13 to 38 mm long with a pair of short antennae. The adult millipede has at least 30 pairs of legs, although it can look like they have much more. So much more that the millipede earned the nicknames “thousand-legged worm,” “thousand-legged spider,” and “hundred-legged worm.” Millipedes have a large number of segments with at least two legs attached to most body segments. While it may look like millipedes mover at warp speed, they actually move very slowly as their legs move in a wave-like motion.
Although millipedes and centipedes may look alike at first glance, a second look will reveal many differences. Centipedes have flattened bodies and a pair of long, slender antennae. They also have a pair of claws just behind the head. Centipedes have roughly 15 pairs of long legs and only one pair on most of its body segments. Centipedes are the faster of the two, so they are tougher to catch.
Millipedes (and centipedes) live in just about every part of the world. Millipedes prefer to live in dark, damp places, while centipedes prefer places where they can hunt for insects and spiders. The millipede prefers to eat moist, decaying organic matter. Chances are, most people will come across a millipede and not a centipede, specifically the greenhouse millipede.
The types of millipedes and centipedes that enter homes usually do not bite. They do feed on vegetation and they can do damage to turf. Just because millipedes don’t bite, this doesn’t mean that these anthropods are welcome visitors. If you see many of them in a short period of time, they can become a nuisance.
One of the most effective ways to control millipede populations is to take away their food and shelter source. If you destroy their feeding and breeding grounds they will hunt for another place to dine and reproduce. Other ways to control millipede populations in the home is to repair (seal) splits and cracks in foundation walls, and around doors, basement windows, and similar openings. Properly ventilated basements and crawl spaces are a turn off for millipedes (and centipedes) as well. And finally, some basic cleaning should help as well. If you remove food sources, clean, repair cracks, and destroy all food and shelter sources and you still see a millipede or two here and there, you can try chemical control. Visit any hardware or home and garden retailer to browse through a number of effective options.