Little worms in water butt!

My cat loves water from the water butt in the garden which I've only had in place for about a month, and I was horrified this morning to see that there are tiny little red worms in the water, only a few millimetres long.

I have read that it could be midge or mosquito larvae. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem and can advise how to stop this happening again, I'm thinking maybe some fine mesh over the hole into the butt?

It is just one slimline butt with one connector coming in from a drainpipe.

Thanks in advance.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    Yes, they are insect larvae, one of the midges those red wrigglers. They won't hurt the cat. Cats and midges co-existed before we started worrying about it all.

  • Nut is right as usual it is harmless so dont worry about it.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    Don't confuse them with intestinal worms, they are insect larvae. Totally different. 

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    Easiest way to stop the larva is to put a solid lid on the water butt and take the water out from the tap at the base.

  • Loz46Loz46 Posts: 74

    Thanks for your replies.
    I'm surprised they got in there, as there always is a lid on the water butt and the whole connection from the drain pipe is very secure, so I think they must have got in through the gutter and down the drain pipe.

    I washed it out last night and found a few dead mosquitos in there, so hopefully that might be the end of it, at least for now.

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    I spent a very amusing few minutes last night watching one of our cats dipping his paw in the waterbutt, trying to catch some of the mosquito larva which are in there.

    There are ways of killing the larva, WD40 sprayed on the top, or a little cooking oil, nough to cover the surface, will do the trick. they have to come to the surface to breathe and the oil stops them. I have been known to add just a teaspoon of insecticide to a 40 gallong container. It is enough to kill off anything in the water, but at a very low concentration so it is not doing too much damage elsewhere. Only do that to the water butt I use for the Alpine house as there are no bees in there.

  • Hi just reading up on this and was wondering if it could harm my puppy that is 19weeks old 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    If you read the whole thread, which isn't very long,  you'll get the info, pezza. It's all there in a few posts  image

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,092
    Fairygirl says:

    If you read the whole thread, which isn't very long,  you'll get the info, pezza. It's all there in a few posts  image

    See original post

     Alternatively, a simple answer of "No they won't harm the puppy" would be a helpful one.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Well - clearly you know about dogs KT.  I don't know anything about them so couldn't have given that advice

    I merely guided the poster to the info that's already there.  Sorry if you think I was 'unhelpful' in some way  image

  • Bit puzzled as to how cats or dogs can access water butts ?  All come with with lids so there is only the inlet which you would usually affix a little "grid" to ( to avoid debris washing down from your roof into the butt ) and an outlet for the tap.

    Insects can gain access but surely not much else ?

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,485

    A neighbour found a cat drowned in her water butt. No gory detail but suffice to say it had probably been in there sometime...image

    She posted a message on our village "Jungle Drums" in case anybody had been missing their pet but nobody came forward. We assume it was a stray or one of the farm cats which got up to have a drink and fell inimage

    Moral of that story (& probably the ones above) is to keep a lid on the butt so animals can't get to the water.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,400

    Agree.. keep them covered, you don't know exactly what else they could be drinking. Rain water is always more attractive to pets than the harder tap water. I wouldn't have an animal near an uncovered water butt. 

    Last edited: 10 March 2017 18:38:34

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    I find myself wondering what harm might be done to an animal drinking water with mosquito (or any other) larvae in it.

  • 1Runnybeak11Runnybeak1 Posts: 7,022

    As already said several times, keep your butt covered.  

    I used to keep geese and chickens and the big bath the geese used to drink from sometimes got little worms and insects twitching about on the surface.   A good splash of vinegar, cider vinegar is best, killed them immediately and was also good for the birds gut. 

    FAIRY.   I have some of those creamy buttered coloured crocus in a pot but can't for the life of me remember what their name is,   I think you know as if I recall correctly you have some.   What's the name of them ? 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,839

    Wonky's Papa Womble had to be rescued from a full to the brim uncovered water butt when he was four years old. He'd gone in head first and fortunately a neighbour saw what was happening and grabbed his ankles just in time!

    Always cover your water butt securely!!!

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692
    1Runnybeak1 says:

    As already said several times, keep your butt covered.  

    See original post

     I always try to - especially in public....image

    I have Cream Beauty - is that the ones you mean?

  • 1Runnybeak11Runnybeak1 Posts: 7,022

    Ah that's the one.   Thanks FG.  They are beauties too.    everytime I looked at them ......I can sleep sound tonight now.  

    Me too.....image

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,270


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
Sign In or Register to comment.