A reader just reached out to us from the UK. He is currently involved with the refurbishment of a house built in the 1970s-1980s in Chelsea, London. The house was vacant for just over a month, and then the owner returned last week. He discovered the toilet bowl full of worms. He said that both toilet cisterns are clear, and he doesn’t understand how the worms might have arrived in the toilet. He is curious about the species of worm and the treatment for a situation like this. He sent us two photos:
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The first photo shows a very dirty toilet bowl. There is a lot of dirt in the bowl, as well as at least 50 or so worm-like organisms floating around. The second photo shows a much cleaner bowl, with only a few worms in it. The reader didn’t specify if the two photos are from two different toilets, or if they are from the same toilet over time. Here is the second picture:
The organisms in question are small and black, and if you zoom in you can see that they have a rough texture to their bodies. We are confident that these are drain fly larvae. Drain fly larvae are common household pests, especially in the bathroom. These larvae feed on organic matter and sewage, making a toilet (especially a dirty one) a perfect home for them.
Adult drain flies lay eggs anywhere that decomposing organic materials are found. When conditions are favorable, up to three generations can occur in a week, which could explain why there are suddenly so many in one of the toilets. Luckily for our reader, these larvae are harmless, and getting rid of them just involves cleaning.
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Our reader will need to physically remove all the dirt from the toilet, and then thoroughly scrub the bowl and pipe with a cleaning agent designed to kill organic material. There might still be some adult flies lingering around, so it is crucial to keep the toilets clean so that they don’t have any organic material to lay eggs in!
To conclude, one of our readers found lots of small, dark, worm-like organisms in the toilets of the house he is doing work on. These specimens are drain fly larvae, and he can get rid of them by cleaning!