“I found this worm on my laundered bed sheet as I was making my bed,” says this reader about the multi-colored object pictured below. Our reader asks if we can identify it for him and specifically if it is a midge fly larva.
“I have been besieged by every bug/worm known to man over the past 9 weeks,” states our reader at the very beginning of his submission. He does not give any more context than this, so we are not sure if we are meant to interpret this as our reader’s home having been “besieged” by bugs and worms, or if our reader means that he himself is plagued by bugs and worms. If the latter is the case, then we suggest that our reader consult a parasitologist. To find one, we can recommend that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in his area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) 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)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
Moving on, midge fly larvae go by many names: red midge fly larvae, non-biting midge larvae, and bloodworms, and these are the larval forms of the mosquito-like midge fly. Typically, midge fly larvae have a red color (due to the excess production of hemoglobin which enables them to sustain long periods of time without oxygen), and it might be the red parts of the object in the photo that had our reader thinking this is a midge fly larva. Either way, the object our reader found on his bed sheet is definitely not a midge fly larva. Thanks to the excellent quality of the photo our reader sent in, we can tell that this object is neither segmented nor completely red like a midge fly larva would be.
Additionally, the photo tells us that what looks to be different threads of color making up the multicolored patchwork of its body may in fact be actual threads. What we are trying to say here is that we do not think this object is an organism at all, but rather a piece of lint. It is often easy to mistake a piece of lint for a bug, so we understand our reader’s confusion. It is especially understandable considering that our reader has been finding so many bugs and worms for the past three months: naturally he would always be on the alert for any new organisms. With that said, it is true that some pieces of lint are actually silken tubes that house worms/larvae (the most common coming from the casemaking clothes moth larva), but they tend to be a white/cream color. This object is clearly made from several different colored strands, which tells us that it is not made by a larva, but instead that it is a piece of lint.
To conclude, the “worm” our reader found on his bed sheet is actually a piece of lint. Given that it was found on his bed sheet, this makes even more sense. We hope that this consoles our reader, and we hope that he is able to eliminate the infestations of other bugs and worms that have been bothering him these past nine weeks.
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