From the monthly archives: "September 2002"

I found this freaky looking crittur waddling across the floor of a laundromat in Pocatello, Idaho. She has eight legs like a spider, gigantic feelers (antennae), and a huge rear end, along with a very vicious-looking mouth. It is 1 inch long (not counting legs), walks fairly slow (maybe two feet a minute), and looks pregnant. I had to flip it over so you could see its mouth. It’s a little hard to see the third leg up from the back. Those appendages in the front are the feelers. I’ve never seen any bug like this before. Do you know what it is? Also, is it dangerous?

We’re cleaning house here at What’s That Bug? and have been posting letters which slipped through the cracks earlier. Solpugids are not dangerous. Looks like David shot this dead specimen on some laundry.

I have little worms in my home. They generally appear on the floor; however I have found a few in the bathtub, and one in my bed! It seems that there are more everyday throughout my home, and I cannot find the source of where they are coming from. They look like your average worm that you would find outside after it rains, however they are only about an inch long. They are brownish black, with a black end on one side. One of the larger ones even appeared to maybe have legs like a caterpillar. I know they are not millipedes, centipedes, wax worms, or weevils. I have never seen anything like them before. They started to appear about one month ago, but it seems that there are more each day! They do move around, and seems to travel fairly quickly! They do not have any hair, and they are textured, and look, like a normal worm. Help!

Dear Sheri,
All insects that go through complete metamorphosis have a larval form that could be considered worm-like. Some are more worm-like than others. The real question here is which of these larvae are most likely to be found in the home. My guess is the Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) the largest of the pantry beetles. The larvae are worm-like, pigmented, and very smooth. They are sometimes sold as fishing bait and as food for pets under the name Li-Cut worms. They and the adults are fond of flour products found in the pantry, but that does not explain how they wandered into the bed. Another suspect could be the larva of the Click Beetle (family Elateradae) which are known as wireworms. The adults are often attracted to lights which will get them into the house, and the larvae live primarily in the soil where they feed on herbaceous plant roots, tubers and stems. Other types of beetles have larvae that bore into wood, like the Nautical Borer (Xylotrechus nauticus) which often appears mysteriously indoors after hitching a ride in firewood. The larva is about 3/4 inch long when mature and pale dirty brown with an enlargement just behind the head. It bores into the heartwood of dead oak and other hardwoods.

We have a mystery source of a thin worm or bug larvae which seem to appear from nowhere onto a localized part of the kitchen counter near a non-opening window. I couldn’t find the source so in a mad cleaning frenzy I even got into the recessed light fixtures. I found lady bug and other carcasses (ugh!) but no clear indication of the mystery creature. Perhaps if you can identify these guys I could figure out where they are coming from and then destroy the source. The worm/larva is about a half inch in length, very thin, with smooth cream/tan color skin. It has rings around the body which are either a slightly darker color or textured depressions (I was too grossed out to look with a magnifying glass). They appear to be more larvae like rather than "caterpillarish" i.e. no hair or pretty colors. They never appear to be moving when I see them. Fortunately there have been less than a dozen sightings. Any ideas what the heck these things are? Thanks for the help! I enjoyed reading all the letters and answers.
Melody Williamson
Northern Illinois

Before WHAT’S THAT BUG? even had a chance to answer, Melody writes back:

Well, just wanted to let you know that the bugs in question were wax worms. My son (the fisherman) knew them immediately. I called the exterminator and it turns out that the Wax Moth lays eggs in bee and wasp nest! I have a nest in peak in the roof line that is infested with wax worms. Ick!
Thanks for being there!
Melody Williamson

Not to be outdone, WHAT’S THAT BUG? replies:

Dear Melody,
I am happy to hear that you had your bugs identified before we here at What’s That Bug could provide you with misinformation. My first inclination was that you had maggots, which considering the time of year and the heat were my only real suspect. Wax worms (Galleria mellonella) never even entered my mind. When we got your follow-up letter, I checked out an internet search and learned that of all the worms considered for use on the hit television show Fear Factor, wax worms were considered the most maggot-like and 30,000 of them were used in one challenge. Check out this website for more gross information about the wax worm:

Before you get that exterminator, you might want to consider reselling the larvae which are often used as fish food. This website: http://www.armstrongcric
sells 1000 wax worms for $22.