Small Worms in the Bathroom

A reader wrote to us wondering what the “thin wiggly worms” found in his bathroom might be. Unfortunately, “thin” and “wiggly” are the only adjectives used to describe the bathroom worm, and we’re not sure what part of the world the reader wrote in from. Given these facts, we can only speculate, but in speculating, we can at least point out a couple of worms – or rather larvae – commonly found in bathrooms.

The first possible answer to our reader’s question is the larvae of a moth fly, which are frequently found on bathroom floors and around sink and shower drains. Moth flies have hundreds of small hairs covering their bodies and are dark in color (often they are a grayish color). Moth flies are also known as “filter flies,” “drain flies,” and “sewer flies.” As you might have guessed, moth flies are often found in the bathroom, resting on walls or near drains with their wings spread over their heads.

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The larvae of moth flies are very small – they are less than a quarter of an inch long – and are worm-like in shape. They do not have any legs and their bodies are slightly flattened. If you have good eyes, you might be able to tell that the head is distinct from the rest of the worm-like body.

It’s also possible that our reader came across carpet beetle larvae, which are normally brown with pale strips and have small hairs on their bodies, with longer hairs near the tail end of the creature. They are not only found in bathrooms, but also floors and walls around the house, especially in closets, where they can infest clothing, and kitchens, where they get into food packages.

Assuming our reader is afflicted with one of these pests, what should he or any other person with this problem do? With regard to the moth fly larvae, you should make sure to reduce moisture in the house when possible and keep organic debris to a minimum. Make sure to also fix leaking water fixtures, and while you’re at it clean the muck that accumulates around drains. (For that matter, you should clean away any stuff that may have accumulated around household items that involve water, like the top of drain pipes.) If you don’t have them already, you should also consider putting screens on your windows and doors to help keep moth flies out to begin with.

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As far as the carpet beetle larvae go, the best solution is to simply vacuum really thoroughly, and make sure to continue to vacuum regularly, as this keeps the problem under control to begin with. Any clothing that may have been infested should be dry-cleaned or thrown away, and any infested food should be gotten rid of.

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