“I was folding some laundry and found some super small worms in some of my shirts,” this reader says. The small worms in question appear to be translucent, with long, black entrails extending the length of their bodies.
In conjunction with the photographs our reader sent in, she also explains that the shirts on which she found the worms were brought in off the clothesline from outside, “which is hung under trees.” She noticed that the worms were “squiggly and writhing around.” After that, she discovered that the worms were now in her armoire as a result of putting away the laundry that had been hanging outside. Following this, she sprayed the worms with Lysol, as she did not want any chemical smells in her bedroom before going to bed. The Lysol seems to have worked, effectively killing the worms, but our reader still wants our help. She does not specify what she wants help with, but we will assume it is with identifying the worms, and so identify them we will.
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To us, these look like flea larvae. Fleas, as we are sure our reader knows, are common external parasites of mammals. The most common sort will often cling to the skin of dogs and cats, where they suck the animal’s blood to feed themselves, and can prove to be quite the nuisance for domesticated animals and their owners alike. It is not common for these types of fleas to attach themselves to humans, so we do not think our reader needs to worry for her own safety. That said, there are fleas that feed on humans, but these are generally found out in more rural areas, such as farms. Now, although dog/cat fleas are most commonly found in homes where there are pets (being found usually where the given dog/cat usually sleeps or sits for extended periods of time), there are cases where they are found in homes devoid of any animals whatsoever. And interestingly enough, the larvae tend to attach themselves to fabrics, such as bed sheets or clothing.
One way or another, we suppose that the flea larvae somehow attached themselves to the clothing hanging on the clothesline. If our reader has pets, it is possible that her dog or cat has fleas and brushed themselves up against the clothing outside as it was hanging there. In the case that our reader does not have pets, it is possible the larvae fell from the tree from a bird’s nest or an opossum (squirrels and other rodents do not get fleas). Either way, the fleas found themselves on our reader’s clothing, and now she needs to know how to eliminate them.
First of all, spraying the worms with Lysol is probably not the most effective way of getting rid of a flea infestation (supposing it is an infestation). Secondly, it is also not the most effective way of avoiding a chemical smell, especially in one’s clothing. What our reader is going to want to do is thoroughly clean her home so as to eradicate the infestation and prevent future infestations. To do this, she will want to: A) Clean out the source of the infestation; our reader has already located this as the armoire. Launder the infested clothing and vacuum the inside of the drawers (or clean in an equally effective way). B) If she has pets, clean any place that her pet consistently sits or sleeps. This also constitutes vacuuming and potential laundering. C) Vacuum the rest of her home’s rugs and carpets, as well as launder any other clothing she feels might be at risk. D) Check for roaming fleas and larvae for the next week or so, and if more are spotted, repeat steps A through C. As a side note, if our reader does have pets, we also recommend that she takes them to the vet for a check-up so that they can get treated for fleas should they have them.
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To conclude, the worms our reader found on her clothing are flea larvae. Although we doubt these are human fleas, dog and cat fleas are still not a welcome presence in the home, especially if one has pets. We hope that the information provided in this article will prove helpful to our reader in checking for and eliminating any fleas and larvae that may be roaming her home. We wish her the best of luck!