Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Worms


I hope entomology includes the study of worms because I have a worm question.  I live in Utah so it's pretty dry here.  I keep finding these little worm like creatures in my bathroom.  They aren't coming in hordes or anything.  I just find them now and again. I think they're getting in through a little crack in the drywall(trying to get the landlord to fix it).  They are about an inch and a half long. Dark brown (almost black) and they're opaque.  They're able to crawl up the wall. Under my bath mat I've also found their dried out bodies which are the same size. My first thought was that they are a baby worm but I'm not sure.  The pics I've found on the internet are much lighter than what I have.  Any ideas? Thanks!

Hi, Heather:

Technically no, entomology does not include the study of worms, which are in a different phylum from insects, but what you are describing are definitely fly larvae.

I have a couple of suspects on my list:

Moth fly larvae, like those shown in this link:

or possibly larvae of dark-winged fungus gnats, family Sciaridae:

In both cases, the larvae feed mostly on decaying organic matter found in drain traps, sewers, compost, etc, the wetter the better.  They are certainly not uncommon in even the cleanest homes.  They pose no health threat that I am aware of, but could indicate mold or fungal problems.  You should definitely get your landlord to find professional help to assess the situation and make sure you don't have a hazardous, toxic mold issue.

Hope this helps get you started.  Don't rely on pest control companies to know what your larvae are, either.  Take intact specimens to a local entomologist at Utah State, Brigham Young, or a natural history museum for proper identification.  You can also try the public health department (vector control division will have at least one staff entomologist).

Take care, Happy Holidays.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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