“I found these worms in my room (mostly under my bed)”, states this reader about the segmented, black creature in the photo below. She is wondering if they are “flea larvae”, as her “cat recently started treatment for them”, and she hopes we can help.
Three of these worm-like creatures have been found so far, and our reader is “really worried” that they are “harmful.”
Now, based on the image above, as well as the fact that our reader’s cat has started undergoing treatment for fleas, we would indeed say that these are flea larvae. Although it is difficult to tell from the photo, which is of a quite poor resolution, we think that what appears to be its black body is actually its entrails. In fact, the visibility of its dark entrails is one of the flea larva’s defining characteristics, as well as the transparent skin which makes this possible to begin with. We also want to take note of the small, milky-white orb that the larva seems to be pushing along with it, which fits the description of a flea egg. This further affirms this identification.
To answer our reader’s question, flea larvae are not harmful. Only their adult counterparts actually feed on the blood of mammals, but the larvae eat other organic debris, such as lint, fur, dead insects, and spilled food. Additionally, even the adult flea is not harmful to humans. Of course, they are harmful to cats, so it is good that our reader’s cat is already on treatment.
What we recommend doing in this case is vacuuming up the sites where larvae have been spotted, as well as any other places where our reader’s cat tends to sit or rest. Similarly, our reader may just want to vacuum her entire home for good measure. Doing this will ensure that any roaming larvae and eggs are eliminated, which prevents the continuation of this apparent infestation. We suggest that she keeps vacuuming these spots (at least) a few times a week for the duration of her cat’s treatment. If she lets the larvae run loose and mature into adult fleas, then it will prolong the treatment of her cat, as new fleas will come to take the place of the ones that are being eliminated, and a vicious cycle will be created. After her cat’s treatment is done, we still advise that our reader vacuums her home consistently, especially if her cat is an outdoor cat and could potentially keep bringing critters into the home.
In conclusion, the three “worms” our reader found are indeed flea larvae. They are not harmful to humans or cats, but one does not want to stick around and wait for them to grow up, because then they are harmful to cats and other pets. We hope we answered our reader’s question to a satisfactory degree, and we hope that our reader’s cat’s treatment goes well!
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