“What is this?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the translucent organisms pictured below. “It is about 1/4 inch long and is under my sticky tile on my floor next to the plywood. There are millions of babies and white looking eggs.” We think that the organisms our reader found are flea larvae: their translucent bodies and dark entrails point to this fact. The location in which they were found is quite strange: usually they are found near a source of food, like on a bed or in a wardrobe.
Our reader might be thinking, why would a flea larvae find food in a wardrobe? Surely there wouldn’t be something in the wardrobe that the flea larvae could suck blood from? Well, the thing is that flea larvae, unlike the adult fleas, do not feed on blood. While the adult flea is an ectoparasite (a parasite feeding on the outside of their hosts) that sucks the blood from mammals, flea larvae only eat organic matter that has been shed from an animal, such as fur or hair. They also eat the eggs and larvae of other insects, as well as faecal matter.
That said, flea larva infestations should still be taken seriously, as they will eventually grow into the blood-sucking adults. It should be noted that the species of flea most commonly found in urban areas will not feed on humans, but if our reader has pets, she might want to get them checked for fleas at the vet. Luckily for our reader, she seems already to have found the source of the infestation, which is the first step to eliminating it. At this point, she will want to vacuum up the larvae and eggs she found under the tiles, and do a deep clean of that area.
She might also want to check the rest of her home for roaming larvae, and give it a vacuum, just to be safe. If she finds more, and particularly if she finds them on clothing or bed sheets, she might want to launder the infested textiles so as to eliminate any other larvae or eggs that might reside there. Additionally, we want to note that while we do not normally recommend killing worm-like organisms, we always recommend that people put the health of themselves and their pets first, and eliminating a flea infestation is in favor of that: it is for that reason that, in this case, we recommend eliminating the larvae and the eggs.
In conclusion, the clear worm-like creatures our reader found under the tiles are flea larvae. They are not harmful to her potential pets right now, but if they grow up into adult fleas, then they can be. We hope this helps and we wish our reader the very best!
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