Raining worms!

By Nancy Black


It first happened after the nighttime storm we had a few weeks ago. When I went outside to sit at my patio table the next morning, it was covered in these itty bitty, teeny tiny, wiggling worms. Seriously, they were smaller than a cup cake’s candy sprinkles. And they weren’t just sprinkled about; they were everywhere. It was gross. And creepy. And I wondered what the heck they were.

I Googled “raining worms” and got 18,400,000 results within a millisecond of typing the words. Turns out, my worms are really sawfly larvae that were hanging out and eating in my trees, and were helped down by the rain to pupate for a while in my yard. And to reach said yard, they had to land on my head first!

According to Charley Eiseman’s blog, BugTracks, the larvae are typically less than 4 mm small and, under magnification, you can see six legs, a round head with two eyes and a pair of antennae. He identified them as in the genus Xyela (Xyelidae). I identified them as gross.

This past week it happened again. More rain appeared, and it wasn’t just water dropping from the sky. These icky larvae, this time bigger than before, have once again taken over my yard. All the research I’ve done state there is no solution to the problem. You just have to suffer through the wrath of Mother Nature’s skin-crawling joke on humans unless you want to use massive pesticides, which kill everything in their path, not just pesky larvae. 

I am trying to look at the bright side of the situation. The birds evidently love to eat those larvae, so there is a purpose to their existence. And I love the rain for all the beauty it unleashed from our drought-ridden land. But after looking at all those real larvae in my backyard and the pictures online, I need a break. Time to Google “cute puppies.”