Frederick M. Hueston, PhD

I was on my to the vet, to take my chihuahua in for a checkup. What I wasn’t expecting is that she had a case of worms. Now, that’s not usually funny (especially for the dog),  but as I was leaving the vet’s office with worm meds, my phone rang.

The voice on the other end of was frantic. The lady was crying and screaming at her kids, while trying to explain to me about the issue she had with grout in her shower. So basically, all I heard was her yelling at the kids — “Get out of there and stop playing with them!”

There are days when my job is more like the plot of a B-grade horror flick. Yep, those things are just what they look like – but there’s a solution…

There are days when my job is more like the plot of a B-grade horror flick. Yep, those things are just what they look like – but there’s a solution…


Playing with what? I thought. Well, kids are kids, and I assumed they were playing in the bathtub, or worst-case scenario, the toilet. All of a sudden she yelled, “OH, my goodness…They’re alive?”

The first thing I thought of was that scene in Young Frankenstein where Gene Wilder yells, “IT’S ALIVE!’

Well, that got my attention. She may have been hysterical, but managed to convey that “they” were crawling all over the place, and she didn’t know what to do. I tried calming her down to find out what creature she was talking about. She said, “I have worms.”

Well, my first reaction was to tell her to go to the doctor and get some meds. But as you’ve probably guessed she was talking about worms in her shower. Well, this was a first for me. I’ve seen all kinds of things in this business, but I have never heard of worms. She insisted that I come over and take a look at it. I almost told her she needed to call an exterminator instead, but I had to see this for myself. So, there was no way of worming myself out of this one. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

I told her I could be there first thing the next morning. After all, the early bird gets the… never mind. I better stop with the puns before I open a can of worms. OK— I’ll stop. Really. 

The next morning I headed over to the worm lady’s house. I pulled up and she and her kids were sitting on the front porch. When she saw me pull up, she ran out to me and was still in hysterics. She kept repeating, “I can’t go in there.”

Well, that wasn’t creepy, at all. Actually, it was all I could do to keep from laughing, but I composed myself, and asked her to show me where “they” were. She pointed to the front door and told me to go upstairs, and it was down the hall. 

I walked up the stairs and into the bath, opened the shower door and there they were. They were indeed crawling all over the place. 

If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. I took out my phone and took a pic and a video. (Seriously. The video is posted on my Facebook page if you would like to see it.)

Luckily for me, I did some research before I headed out, so I marched back down the steps and told the lady she had worms from a fly known as a drain fly. The drain fly lays its eggs in moist areas like a shower drain and the larvae crawl out of the drain looking for food. I told her there was an easy fix: Pour in 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda plus a cup of white vinegar. Allow it to work its magic overnight then flush the drain with hot or boiling water the next morning.

This will sanitize the drain and kill the flies and their eggs. 

Another case solved, and it’s one for the books. Now, I can add exterminator to my resume.

The Stone Detective is a fictional character created by Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD, written to entertain and educate. Dr. Fred has written over 33 books on stone and tile installations, fabrication and restoration and also serves as an expert for many legal cases across the world. Fred has also been writing for the
Slippery Rock Gazette since 1997. 

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