“Is this a flea larva?” asks this reader about the array of worm-like critters pictured below. She does not include any more context, and the photo is quite blurry, so it will not be possible for us to give her a straight answer that is 100% certain or accurate. Of course, we will still do the best we can. Now, we assume that although she refers to a larva in the singular, she is actually referring to all of the organisms pictured below. If not, then we do not know which one she is referring to and wondering if it is a flea larva. But, since the organisms all look similar, we feel safe in assuming she is referring to them all. If that is not the case, she is welcome to let us know and resubmit a new photo with the one particular critter she is wondering about.
As we said, the photo is quite blurry. Generally, the creatures are the right size, shape, and color (assuming they are translucent and only appear white against the white object on which they are on), so it is possible that these could be flea larvae. If they have translucent bodies with a dark strip down the middle (which is their entrails), then it is possible that they are flea larvae. Although fleas are dangerous to pets (and sometimes humans, depending on the species), flea larvae are not. Yes, the adult flea is an ectoparasite which feeds on the blood of mammals, but the larvae do not actually share the same diet as their adult counterparts. They feed on discarded hair and fur, as well as dead larvae and faeces. For that reason, they are still often found near infested pets, either on their bedding, or in other spots that the given pet typically spends time in. Some people even find them in their closet, where they would be munching on hair and dead skin. To eliminate flea larvae infestation, we recommend vacuuming one’s home, laundering any infested items, and taking one’s pets to the vet.
That said, another critter which matches this description, physically speaking, is the fungus gnat larva. These critters may look the same, but have a completely different diet, and grow up to be completely different insects, namely flies. These guys are common pests in compost bins and gardens, as they infest potting soil and eat the fungi, algae, mulch, and mold that grow there. If our reader found these guys in her garden, houseplants, or bags of soil, then they could be fungus gnat larvae. In that case, it’s a matter of replacing soil in plants, and making sure to keep one’s home well-ventilated to discourage the soil from rotting and getting moldy in the first place.
In conclusion, these could be flea larvae, though it is impossible for us to say with any conviction given how blurry the photo is. If they look like flea larvae, they could also be fungus gnat larvae. It all depends on where they were found. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best!
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