This woman found a clear larva under one of her fingernails, and wonders if we can identify it for her. The worm is minuscule in size, transparent in color, and was first dismissed as “nail dirt” before she saw it moving.
Our reader introduced her query by saying that she had “read about the worm-like larva thing” and that the worm she found a “very similar one”, but she did not specify which one. Fortunately, she did provide a high quality video of the worm, from which the image above is taken, which shows the worm wriggling forward. It is clear from the video that the worm does not have legs, which helps narrow down the potential species. Furthermore, since the worm is clear, but has a black inside, our first assumption is that this would be a flea larva. And yet, given that the black inside appears to be segmented, we are dissuaded from identifying it as such. Upon scouring the internet, we found no worms or larvae that exactly matched the one in this video. It is still possible that it is a flea larvae; no one can claim that every one should look identical, but we simply want to point out that it is possible that it may be something else.
Fleas are external parasites that feed off the blood of various animals, including domestic pets such as dogs and cats, and certain farm animals, such as horses and cows. There are fleas that feed on humans, but they are rare, and so our reader most likely has nothing to worry about. Of course, if later she discovers small insects in her skin, she should contact a medical professional to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment (something we cannot provide as we are not medical professionals). In order to combat a potential flea infestation, our reader should locate the source of the fleas, which will be characterized by clusters of eggs. These can usually be found in carpets, underneath or behind upholstered furniture, or in any place that pets may often rest that is made of fabric (if this is applicable to our reader). Once the source is located, the eggs and larvae should all be vacuumed up. Then, in order to ensure the elimination of all flea organisms, it is important to wash all the fabrics that they may have resided on with extremely hot water.
Of course, like we said, it is not certain that this larva is that of a flea. Because of this, we recommend that if our reader finds any more of these larvae, that she puts a couple of them inside a container with some food and air holes and waits to see what they grow into. As the larvae mature more, it will become easier to identify unique characteristics and find a match! If our reader does apply this method, she may feel free to send more pictures our way.
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In conclusion, the worm our reader found may have been a flea larva, though it is unclear exactly what species it was. Generally, the advice given above on how to rid one’s home of fleas is applicable to many larvae, and so we recommend following those steps regardless of whether or not the larva is actually a flea larva.