Have you seen an oval-shaped case that looks like a speck of dust on your wall? Well, it is actually a living thing—an insect called dust worm, which is also known as plaster bagworm.
What is dust worm/plaster bagworm?
Dust worm goes by several names such as plaster bagworm, household bagworm, household case bearer, and clothes moth. It is a type of moth, which is small and brownish-gray in colour. The dust-like case is its cocoon: the pupal stage before a moth emerges from it.
The larva of the dust worm constructs a small, silken case that it carries around with it as it feeds and grows. The case is made of silk and bits of the material it is feeding on, such as plaster, fabric, or other organic matter, like your hair, found in homes or buildings.
Are dust worms/plaster bagworms harmful to humans?
No they're not harmful to humans. Even if you do pick them up by hands, they will not harm you in any way nor they're toxic to you or your pets. The larvae feeds and damages your home items like furniture, clothing and things made of natural fabrics.
Should I worry about dust worms/plaster bagworms?
Although the adult moths are not usually considered a problem, dust worms are considered pests because their larvae can damage fabrics, carpets, and other materials in homes and buildings.
They are often found in humid and warm environments, such as bathrooms and closets, and are attracted to light. However, given Singapore’s hot and wet climate, their pupae will pretty much appear on any of our walls and ceilings, especially if you don’t have the aircon turned on.
How do I get rid of dust worms/plaster bagworms?
1. Identify the infested areas
Look for signs of infestation, such as the presence of the larvae and their silken cases. Check areas where the dust worms are most commonly found, such as bathrooms and closets.
2. Clean the areas
Thoroughly clean the areas where the dust worms are present, removing any debris or organic material that can be used as food for the larvae. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust worm and their cases. If it's too much of a hassle to take out the vacuum cleaner just to remove one or two dust worm cases, you can also use a lint roller.
4. Seal cracks and crevices
Seal any cracks or crevices in the walls or floors that can be entry points for the dust worms. This will prevent them from coming back into your home.
5. Use insecticides
Apply an insecticide specifically labelled for use against dust worms, or an all-insect killer, to the infested areas, following the instructions carefully.
Are there natural remedies to remove dust worms/plaster bagworms?
If you have pets or kids at home, using insecticides may be relatively too toxic. Instead, you can opt for these natural ways to get rid of dust worms.
1. Use sticky traps
You can make sticky traps by spreading a layer of sticky material, such as petroleum jelly, on a piece of cardboard or sticky tape. Place the traps in areas where dust worms are likely to be found, and they will get stuck to the sticky surface.
2. Use neem oil
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can be effective against dust worms. Mix a small amount of neem oil with water in a spray bottle and spray the infested areas.
3. Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic powder made from the fossilised remains of small aquatic organisms. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the infested areas, and it will dehydrate and kill the bagworms.
4. Use essential oils
How do I prevent dust worms/plaster bagworms from returning?
Preventing re-infestation may require ongoing efforts, such as maintaining good sanitation practices and regularly monitoring the infested areas. If the infestation is severe or persists despite your efforts, it may be necessary to contact a pest control professional.
Meanwhile, if you're not an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of its deals with a 30-day free trial at amazon.sg/tryprimefree. Also, take S$10 off S$60 your first purchase on App. Enter code NEWBIEAPP at checkout.