“What type of worm is this and will I need to spray to get rid of them?” asks this reader about the yellow and red worm-like creature pictured below. “I bought flowers on a Friday evening and didn’t realize that little worms were all over them until Sunday when I found them crawling on my table. They are extremely small and it seems that as they get bigger they become more red. What are they?” First off, we must unfortunately let our reader know that we will not be able to provide an identification with 100% certainty, because the photograph she provided is simply too blurry to make out any of the creature’s physical characteristics (other than its color and vague shape).
What we can say is that most worms found on store-bought flowers will be caterpillars, as they are the most likely critters to have infested the plants at their original location. Most species of caterpillars will have diets consisting of some type of plant, whether that is tree leaves, fruits, or indeed flowers. That said, it is not uncommon for beetle larvae to be found on flowers either, as many species even pollinate flowers. In any case, since our reader does not know what species these larvae belong to, we recommend that she scoop them onto a dustpan using a stick (or some other long object she can use, so as to avoid skin-to-skin contact) and move them outside. We do not think they would purposefully want to stay inside her home other than to feed on plants, so if she takes them outside, we think they will easily find more plants they can munch on and be content to stay outside. Of course, since we do not know the identity of the organisms, this is mere speculation.
So, if our reader wants to know specifically what these worms are, we recommend that she either send us clearer pictures, or that she take them to her local county extension office; there, someone will be able to physically examine the creature, so they will have a better chance at identifying them. In any case, what we do not recommend doing is spraying them with anything, especially not an insecticide. Not only do we seldom recommend killing organisms, especially when one does not know what they are and they are seemingly harmless, but we never recommend the use of insecticides. They benefit nobody, as they are toxic for both the worm-like organism and the human using them. When one sprays an insecticide, especially in the home, one gets those chemicals everywhere, and from one touch to another, suddenly one is unintentionally ingesting those chemicals, which can be very harmful.
In conclusion, we do not know what this creature is. The photo is simply too blurry to make any kind of concrete conclusions about its identity. That said, we hope that something in this article proves helpful, and we wish our reader the very best!
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