“I found these in our toilet after five days of no use”, writes Cindy about the swarm of black worm-like creatures pictured below. “One of my grandchildren used the toilet last. Could these be pinworms?” First and foremost, we have to make clear that we will unfortunately not be able to confirm or deny if these are pinworms. For context, pinworms are parasitic worms that situate themselves in the intestines of their hosts. They are very common in children, so we understand Cindy’s concern, especially since these were found in a toilet. However, we are not qualified or legally able to identify parasites, given that their presence indicates a medical situation. Only a medical professional is able to identify such organisms, as that identification acts as the diagnosis which determines what kind of treatment may or may not be needed for the person afflicted.
What we will do is continue on the assumption that these are not pinworms and offer an alternative identification and explanation for their presence in the toilet. However, if Cindy is genuinely concerned that these are pinworms or some form of parasite (for example, her grandkids have developed symptoms), she should disregard all of the information we give concerning alternative identifications and instead seek the opinion of a medical professional. We specifically recommend consulting a medical parasitologist, as they specialize in this area, whereas primary care physicians often do not receive training in diagnosing and treating parasitic infections.
To find a medical parasitologist or other health care provider who can actually help, Cindy can do one or more of the following:
– Visit our parasite care resources page here: https://www.allaboutworms.com/get-medical-attention-and-tests-for-parasites
– Search for a medical parasitologist in her area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
– Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
Now, provided that these are not parasites, we think they could be drain fly larvae. Drain flies are little moth-like insects which lay eggs on the organic film that forms on the lip of a drain that is either not used often or not cleaned often (or both). The larvae are not harmful to humans, but are more of a nuisance than anything. They will swarm the bathroom looking for organic materials to feed on like bacteria and algae. They especially love feeding on any of the microorganisms that form in stagnant water, which is why these will have flocked to the toilet. The best way to tackle a drain fly infestation is via prevention: clean the drains out (and keep doing so regularly) with boiling water and a chemical agent (eg: bleach), and keep the bathroom clean in general. Any live larvae can be moved outside, where they will surely find a different body of stagnant water to occupy.
In conclusion, it is not possible to identify these with confidence given Cindy’s concerns about pinworms. But, provided that Cindy has consulted a medical professional who has confirmed that these are not parasites, we would say these are probably drain fly larvae. We hope this helps, and we wish Cindy, as well as her grandchildren, the very best.
All About Worms is always free, always reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP Publishing.