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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny brown worms in shower. :/


QUESTION: Tonight when I took a shower I found 2 worms on the ledge of the tub. They are maybe a 1/2 inch long and very thin. They kind of glide/inch along very slowly. Can you tell me what they might be?

ANSWER: Angie:

The animal in your image is not an insect or a worm, but a millipede.  Perhaps it is this one:

Many species of millipedes common in urban areas have been introduced to North America from Europe.

They are not dangerous (though some have defensive secretions that if ingested could cause health problems); and they scavenge decaying organic matter.  They are very moisture-dependent, so drying out rooms where you find them will help discourage their appearance.

Hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your very quick reply!  I am wondering if you have any insight as to how they could be getting into my shower. They have only been in one corner of the shower on the ledge where I keep my conditioner.  The two yesterday made their way up the wall just a little bit- they are very slow moving and I let them live for a while while I tried to figure out what they were. We flushed those down the toilet but today there were two more in the same place. It is not near to the drain so it doesn't seem like they're coming from there. There is a fairly small crack in the wood on the ledge. Could they be coming from there?  Also, I just had a new bottle of conditioner shipped to me 3-4 days ago. Could their eggs have been on the bottle?  I just want to get rid of them for good!


I can't hazard a guess as to where they are coming from, sorry.  Insects, arachnids, and related small organisms are truly confounding in how they manage to get into homes.  No, I highly doubt the new conditioner bottle is to blame.

Has it been raining a lot there recently?  Millipedes and other soil-dwellers will often be literally flushed out of their hiding places during heavy rains, and seek higher ground.

They will cease to appear soon enough on their own I suspect.


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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, 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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