Today we will respond to a reader who found some tiny worms in her daughter’s foot spa. She explained that the worms are less than 1 cm long and have a brown end with stripes. She is hesitant to wash them down the drain because she fears they might be parasitic. Here is a picture of one of the creatures on the foot spa:
We believe our reader has found drain fly larvae! Like their name suggests, drain fly larvae live inside the plumbing of kitchens and bathrooms. Female adult flies lay their eggs in the organic matter and debris that builds up inside a drain. The eggs then hatch and the larvae begin to feed incessantly. You might even think of these larvae as little plumbers, slowly working away at the grime in the pipes! Although our reader didn’t find these larvae physically in the drain, a foot spa still checks the two most important boxes for an ideal habitat for drain fly larvae: moist and full of organic material. These larvae aren’t parasitic, and they aren’t known for transmitting or carrying human diseases, so our reader doesn’t need to worry too much about these creatures, but we do encourage her to do some cleaning in order to get rid of them.
First, since these larvae are harmless, our reader doesn’t necessarily have to throw out her daughter’s foot spa, but we think that would be the best idea. Although the larvae won’t cause any harm or damage, there is no way of knowing if there are more eggs on the foot spa and if more larvae will continue to appear. So, we think it would be wise to replace it. Now, while she didn’t mention finding these larvae in her bath, sink, or toilet, we still think it would be smart to give these areas a thorough cleaning. She should scrub out all three with a cleaning agent designed to eliminate organic materials and a pipe cleaning brush. To prevent future visits from drain fly larvae, our reader should clean her bathroom every 2 weeks in order to keep organic buildup to a minimum!
In summary, one of our readers found some tiny worms living on her daughter’s foot spa. We have identified these specimens as drain fly larvae, which are common (and harmless) household pests.
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