Minuscule white worms were found by this reader on her coffee maker when she was preparing her coffee for the next day. She found another of the worms in a glass of tap water she had left out overnight, this one being dead, and wonders if we can tell her what these worms are.
Fortunately for us, our reader attached images of excellent quality to her query, which makes it easier for us to identify the critter. Unfortunately for our reader, what this worm most resembles is a threadworm, otherwise known as a pinworm.
Before we go any further, we need to advise our readers that the following includes information about parasites that are hosted by humans, and as we are not medical professionals, we cannot give medical advice, and nothing we say should be construed as medical advice.
Threadworms are tiny, thin white worms that only grow up to 1.3 cm in length. Unlike the Indianmeal moth larva (another white ‘worm’ commonly found in the kitchen), threadworms have a completely smooth exterior, and are devoid of segmentation. Furthermore, threadworms are intestinal parasites that are often found in children, and can cause symptoms of itchiness (especially around the anus), drowsiness, loss of appetite, and more. Although they are usually transmitted to humans through contact with someone else already infested with threadworms, their eggs can be found all over the house if they have been laid there. Threadworm eggs stick to bedding, carpets, clothes and house dust.
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However, threadworms only hatch and mature after being ingested, in the intestines of their host. Although they do later come out in the faeces of their host, or can be found surrounding the anus of their host, it is not common to find them roaming about the house. Of course, nothing should be ruled out as impossible, and despite our reader not detailing any symptoms or causes for worry about a parasitic infestation, we urge our reader to consult a medical professional should she experience any symptoms that give her cause to believe she may be infested with threadworms (or anything else for that matter). Obviously, we are not medical professionals, so this is not something we can diagnose our reader with. All that this conclusively means is that this identification is most definitely not certain. Despite the worm’s uncanny resemblance to threadworms, the location of its discovery is at odds with this correlation. What we can confidently recommend our reader is bringing samples of the worms to her local county extension office or entomology department at a nearby university to get a second opinion on what these worms might be.
In conclusion, we are not entirely sure what these worms are. While they do look like threadworms, their location, as well our reader’s lack of symptoms has us thinking they could very well be something else.