“I keep finding these small worms in the toilet”, states this reader concerning the minuscule, clear-white organism pictured below. “Can you confirm what they may be?”
“I’m not sure if they’re from a person urinating, or the toilet,” continues our reader. “I have found different sized ones – largest about 5cm, smallest around 1cm.”
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Upon zooming in on this incredibly small creature, we have come to think that this may be a flea larva. We are not entirely sure of this, given its apparent lack of dark entrails, which are usually visible through a flea larva’s transparent skin, but this is our best guess.
Fleas are external parasites that feed on the blood of mammals. The most common species that we find in urban areas feed on cats and dogs, though there are flea species (usually found on pig farms) that feed on pigs and humans. Regardless, the larvae of fleas are completely harmless. They solely feed on feathers, faeces, dead insects, and dead skin.
If our reader finds more of these, particularly in other areas of her home (and especially if she has pets), she should vacuum her home several times a week for a minimum of two weeks. On top of that, laundering any textiles in rooms where flea larvae were found is a good idea, as they typically like to roam there to find food. If she does have pets, it might be worth taking them to the vet to check for fleas.
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In the case that she does not find more of these, and she does not have pets, she is probably fine not following these steps. Of course, it is also entirely possible that these are not flea larvae. After all, the toilet is a strange place to find them. If only one of them had been found, we would suggest that one had fallen off her clothes. But the fact that multiple of them are being found on a regular basis makes this case quite odd.
That said, this organism does not resemble any of the typical worms that come up people’s toilets. If these really are flea larvae, then perhaps there is a cluster of eggs somewhere in the bathroom, and the larvae are finding themselves attracted to the toilet, as organic matter does get ‘deposited’ in there. In any case, we recommend that our reader sanitize and vacuum her bathroom (even the walls and ceiling, as the eggs might be stuck there).
Generally speaking, consistent cleaning of one’s bathroom helps prevent a lot of organisms which people can find in their bathrooms.
We particularly recommend pouring boiling water down one’s drains, followed by bleach, followed by boiling water again, with a waiting time of ten minutes between each step. If our reader has other drain-cleaning products besides bleach that she prefers, those work too.
To conclude, the small worms our reader has been finding in her toilet may be flea larvae, or something else. Unfortunately, we are not able to give a concrete answer, for which we are sorry, but we hope that the information we did provide proves helpful nonetheless. We wish our reader the very best.