We don’t think the red worm our reader found in her toilet is a parasite, rather we believe it is either an earthworm or a bloodworm. Of course, it is good that she went to see a doctor, and she should refer to them for medical advice on the matter!
Today we responded to a reader who was worried that the bloodworms she found in her toilet came from her own body. We are confident that these larvae are coming from her plumbing system, not her body. However, we can’t provide medical advice and we encourage our reader to see a doctor if she is concerned about her health or safety!
We think the creature our reader found in her toilet could be either a bloodworm or an earthworm. It is also possible that it is a different species entirely, but these are two of the most common worms found in toilets, and they share some resemblance to the organism our reader found.
Unless you are a fisherman who lives along the Northeastern coast of the U.S., there is a good chance you haven’t heard of worm picking or worm digging, at least not as a profession. However, worm picking, or the gathering of bloodworms to be sold as fish bait, is a multi-million dollar industry with thousands of licensed practitioners. In any given year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of worms are gathered and sold. But before you quit your job and head northeast to strike it rich, you should know that worm picking can be a brutally difficult job that is really not that remunerative. A lot of luck is involved, and the competition for worms can be fierce. It is also potentially dangerous since a bloodworm bite can cause an allergic reaction.
We received a very specific question from a reader a few days ago about cultivating the “marine bloodworm Glycera dibranchiata.” Glycera dibranchiata are commonly used for fish bait, so the reader’s motivation for rearing or breeding bloodworms – essentially, setting up a bloodworm farm – is presumably tied to fishing. The reader was first of all wondering if bloodworms can be cultivated “successfully,” and if so, he was wondering how he might go about doing so. He also wanted to know if there are any publications that are available to assist with the rearing task.
A reader wrote to us a couple of days ago about a long, thin red worm that she found in the air vent of her bathroom. The worm is about three or four inches (seven to ten centimeters) long and “about half as thick as your typical earthworm.” The head of the worm had two “‘horns'” on it. (The reader put the word “horns” in quotes, of course indicating that she is using the word loosely, and hence the double quotes in the preceding sentence.) The reader had only one question: what is the long, thin red worm (with some sort of horns) in the air vent of the bathroom, assuming it is even a worm?
We recently received an email from a reader who found a small and thin red worm crawling on her shower curtain. The reader immediately goes on to say that she is “assuming the worm is a bloodworm,” and we think this is as reasonable of a suggestion as any. The reader planned to remove the small red worm from her curtain after her shower, but by the time she had finished, the bloodworm (sometimes written as “blood worm”) had disappeared. The reader thought that this might mean that the bloodworm “hitch-hiked a ride somewhere on my body,” which led to her question for us: are bloodworms harmful?
A reader wrote to us a while ago about the prospect of breeding blood worms (sometimes – nay, often – spelled “bloodworms”). He was wondering how to set up a successful blood worm cultivation operation, and sought our assistance to that end. This may seem like a fairly obscure question (and we guess it is), but we’ve actually been asked about breeding worms before; in fact, by far the strangest question we’ve ever received was about breeding worms. However, we’ve never written about breeding blood worms in particular, and we haven’t written a lot about blood worms in general either. So, below is some basic information about blood worms, including a bit about breeding blood worms for the sake of our curious reader.