“What type of worm is this?” asks this reader in her submission regarding the tiny, white creature pictured below. “I found this on our washing up sponge. It is white, translucent, with a dark-coloured tip (possibly dark red). It wasn’t so clear to me as I was so grossed out. We do not have pets and I often disinfect the kitchen and change my sponge every other week or so. What could this be? And how can I stop having worms? I am scared that my family, especially my little one, will ingest it. I squished the other end by accident. I washed my hands several times after that.”
Firstly, we have to point out that, unfortunately, since the photo is taken quite far away from the creature, and is quite blurry (making it impossible to see the minute details of the creature’s physical appearance), we cannot identify the creature with any significant degree of certainty or accuracy. Of course, we will still provide our best educated guess and give advice accordingly. Secondly, despite the photo being blurry, we do want to commend our reader on giving important context and asking great questions. That still helps us greatly. Given this context, and the identifying information we can make out from the photo, we think it’s possible that this is a mosquito larva.
At first, the relative difference between the size of its head and the size of its body stumped us. We could think of a few creatures that matched this description, but none that were this small or that would be found in a sponge. That said, we eventually discovered that its size and appearance did remind us of mosquito larvae. If this is the case, then it would make sense for our reader to have found the larvae in this spot. Adult mosquito mothers lay their eggs in bodies of water, so we think it’s possible that she laid them inside the sink, or maybe even in the sponge if it was wet enough. Now, even though our reader replaces the spong once a week, the life cycle of a mosquito is very fast, and eggs hatch within a few days, meaning that they would still have time to hatch and produce the larvae before our reader replaced the sponge.
To stop more invasions, we recommend cleaning out the drain as often as she cleans out the sponge and disinfects the kitchen. There are other organisms that also lay their eggs inside drains that she would prevent from invading her home. Of course, if the mother mosquito laid her eggs inside the sponge, there was no real way she could have prevented that: the mosquito likely flew in through an open window or door. But if that is the case, then throwing out the sponge in an outdoors garbage can should do the trick. We understand that our reader is scared for her family, and since we do not know where she lives, we promise that she should not be worried, since adult mosquitos are disease spreaders in certain areas. That said, mosquito larvae are harmless, and will not bite humans. Instead, they eat the algae that forms in water. That tells us that our reader likely does not clean her drain often enough, as it is only when stagnant water forms that algae (and other organic matter) starts to grow.
In conclusion, we cannot say for certain if the worms our reader found are mosquito larvae, but that is our best guess. We hope this helps, and we wish her the very best!
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