It’s kind of strange. I guess I never really looked closely at them till this year. I never realized that there was a live, moving bug inside most of these little things. Well there is.
This also was the first year that we noticed them upstairs in the main living area of the house. As a result, I got curious about them this year. I first spent quality time observing one of them while I was sitting on the throne (as you do) taking care of some personal business. I happened to see what appeared to be some sort of worm or bug sticking out of one end of the thing and actually moving the thing along as it went. I’d never seen that before.
After that revelatory and satisfying experience, I happened to ask a few folks at our Friday pool party if they knew what the critters were. Everyone had seen the things, but no one had a clue as to what they might be.
I didn’t think they looked particularly ominous, but down here, with as many critters as there are, and some quite bad-ass ones to boot, you just never know. I wasn’t real keen to grab one and get bitten or stung and find out I’ve got like 30-seconds to live.
My only experience of getting into close contact with them previously was to grab my broom and sweep them off the walls into a nice tidy little pile, scoop them up into the dustpan and then deposit them into a nearby trash container.
Not that now that I know more about them, that I get particularly cozy and all with them, but now I don’t fret if I happen to actually make real, physical contact with them.
So, wanting to know more about them, but having run into a knowledgeability roadblock with our social crew, I thought I’d ask Dianna to post a photo on Facebook and see if anyone had more of an idea what they were than this lot seemed to.
|My Blurry Photo of Small Bug-Thing|
Dianna had never posted a photo to Facebook before and suggested I ask Colleen to do it, so that’s what I did.
Tuesday, I emailed Colleen the following:
Hi Colleen,While Colleen was posting the photo and request to Facebook, she and her hubby, Bruce, were playing host to the best minds in the business, who happened to be getting ready for a heavy day of playing golf. Their suggestion as relayed by Colleen as to what we were dealing with was the following:
I've attached a photo of those little bug things that seem to hang out on the inside walls. It's not a very good photo, but I think it gets the idea across.
The bug thing appears to be about 5/8th inch long by 1/4th inch wide at the middle. they're flat and appear to have some sort of worm sort of thing poking out of one end or the other, and they really like being on walls. It appears to be a very small inch-worm like critter. Must be a larval form of some type of moth.
If you could post the photo and the description to Facebook and ask if anyone can identify it, I'd appreciate it. I did ask Dianna to do it, but she didn't know how to do the photo end of it. Thanks.
The golfers said, “They are a cocoon of sorts. Have a tiny caterpillar inside that changes to a moth. We all have a lot.of them.this year.”
I’m glad I didn’t bet the kingdom on that answer. Those boys must have read my email. Colleen also provided a potentially useful tidbit when she said that her housekeeper called them ‘dust bugs.’Does that help?
Apparently, there were more witty responses on Facebook to the posting. One from some wag named ‘CT’ who suggested turning up the A/C as that made them go away. Wonderful. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be able to afford my electric bill - that’s assuming I had A/C in the first place, which I don’t.
After a few more erudite comments from the peanut gallery, CT actually came back with the most complete and concise posting on the topic. Big ups to him for that. He posted a link (http://indian-river.fl.us/government/ces/dc021499.html) to an informative article written by a Florida County Extension Agent (Daniel F. Culbert) about our critters. He called them ‘Plaster Bagworms’ (Phereoeca dubitatrix).
I’ve since found all kinds of research about the critters. It seems that the more correct name for them is the following from the University of Florida:
“Phereoeca uterella is a species of moth belonging to the family Tineidae. It is commonly known as the plaster bagworm but as the term "bagworm" more properly refers to moths of a different family (Psychidae), it is often called the household casebearer – which may in turn refer to the related Phereoeca allutella. It is found in warm, humid climates throughout the Americas although the exact range is difficult to map as it is easily confused with other case-bearing tineids.”
This came from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phereoeca_uterella). It seems the experts (so-called) have as much trouble as us lay people telling what’s what in the critter world.
Wikipedia had a much better photo, below, of the thing than my blurry effort.
|Household Casebearer - From Wikipedia|
|Household Casebearer Showing Larva|
|Female Household Casebearer Moth|
I dunno, I sort of like ‘dust bug.’ At least now we all know a lot more about these things than when we started. We can be assured now as we sweep them into our dustpans that the Household Casebearer isn’t quite the danger that it initially seemed was possible. Unless of course, you want to save and protect all those wool sweaters and such that you brought down with you.