What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black flying heart-shaped bugs everywhere!
Sat, May 2, 2009 at 5:13 AM
I live in Northwest Ohio. I have had a black heart-shaped bug flying around my house for about 2 or 3 months. I can’t figure out where they are coming from. They seem to like water. They hang around in our bathrooms a lot. I have pictures of them on a recently wet towel. When you kill them, they leave a black residue almost like black dust on your wall. I have not had them bite but they will fly close to people. They also like lamps and light bulbs when it gets dark out. They are about half the size of a common house fly. Please help, I need to get rid of them!!!
Northwest Ohio

Bathroom Fly

Bathroom Fly

Hi Maranda,
You have Bathroom Flies. The larvae of the Bathroom Fly live in the sludge of your sink and tub drains. If you want to get rid of them, you need to have the pipes cleaned.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Ohio
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64 Responses to Bathroom Fly

  1. Gydney says:

    I have lived in two houses in Southern California that had Jacuzzi bathtubs. Both are plagued by these flys. They lay eggs in the jets of the tubs, and everytime you take a bath there are tiny black larval worms, 1/4″ long, hair thickness, wiggling around in the water. Plumber said to fill up tub, add cup or two of bleach and run it for 1/2 hour EVERY WEEK. Current tub is huge like a hot tub, and we have a drought going on, so instead, I just jammed sample size shampoo bottles in jets. Now I only get maybe 3 to 6 per bath. Creepy!! Wrote Jacuzzi about it, surprise, never heard back from them, but I see that newer baths just use air jets, not water jets. Maybe they’re better. Hate these flies!

  2. athenator says:

    After an sewage pipe burst under our apartment, we had quite a swarm of the bathroom flies (or drain flies) we found a chemical online for ours, we could definitely see a difference after a few days of treatment, that combined with raid to get rid of the live ones. although we were sweeping up dead drain flies for awhile.

  3. lovey7 says:

    I call them jail bugs because the first time I saw them was when I spent time in jail when I was younger. And everywhere I have gone since then i see them one or two.. I say its God reminding me to never go back..

    • bugman says:

      Your anecdote is inspirational.

    • Kim kimmy says:

      Lol that’s what I call them…. I was a office…..
      N that’s where I first say them……. When I was like em up….

    • Mari says:

      I’ve seen those in jail too… I called them pee bugs because they hung out in the bathroom. I hadn’t seen them for a long time and now they are all over my bathroom and I clean my bathroom really well, they keep coming back. I’ve also tried vinegar. I don’t know where their coming from or how to get rid of them

  4. ihatebugs says:

    I have these gross bathroom flies, but never had them until my husband put in a new shower.
    please help I am at my wits end

  5. Joyce says:

    How do you get rid of bathroom flies?

  6. Joyce says:

    What do you use to get rid of the sludge

  7. Shirley thomason says:

    i have had these bugs for about 3 weeks now !!! have tryed pouring bleach down drain, this helped for awhile. hate drain bugs!!!!!!!! i wont to know if they bite you?

    • bugman says:

      Drain Flies do not bite. They might carry the remnants of Drain Bacteria on their bodies when they emerge from the pipes.

      • Susan says:

        YES, they DO bite! I have one that is haunting me nightly. I can see it flying against the light of the TV in my living room and against the light of the TV in my bedroom. I get bitten, and just like mosquito bites, they form a welt and itch like CRAZY! These drain flies do not make a “warning” buzz like a mosquito, but do their biting silently. One at a time, they alight in the while porcelain bowl of my bathroom sink, and only if I’m fast enough, can I kill it! Yes, they turn to a kind of dusty powder. Just when I think I’ve conquered the problem, a new one comes out!

        • bugsarecoolsometimes says:

          Susan of one month ago: they don’t bite, calm down. I looked it up. Multiple websites say this. If you legit saw it “bite” you, I guess that’s interesting, but my bet would be it was something else in your house.


          • Angie says:

            I don’t care what multiple websites say, I just had one bite me in the arm the other day while I was sitting still. I smacked at it and missed, and it flew off, I saw it. Then it came back for another, but I got it that time. Hard to tell what they are after you’ve smacked one, unless you see it before as in my case. Didn’t leave a welt on me like a mosquito, but it did feel like a gnat bite. Surely there is something you can buy to get rid of them yourself that will clear the sludge? I would think drano, etc. would do the trick?

        • Sharon Bradshaw says:

          Ur right. They bite!

  8. hannah scott says:

    What is the best way to clean our bathroom drains ? We are overun with bathroom bugs. We have live at our home for almost ten years and we are just having trouble with these bathroom bugs. Please help

    • bugman says:

      We don’t have any suggestions, but perhaps one of our readers can provide information.

      • Korysma says:

        What an incompetent exterminator! Why post if you cannot help!

        • Susan says:

          I’m told that it’s not permissible for any professional exterminator to put anything down the drain due to environmental laws. Too bad; these drain flies are driving me wild! Yes, they DO bite, and leave itchy welts too!

          • R Williams says:

            All you need to do is take bicarbonate of soda and throw it into the trap of your sink and then add a bit of water, then let it sit for about an hour, then take some hot vinegar and our it into the trap. It should dissolve the drain sludge.

    • Sharon says:

      You have to get rid of the dampness in your bathroom also. Not just the gunk in the drains. Crawl under your house and make sure something isn’t leaking from your pipes into the crawl space., even the tub can leak from the drain. just a drip every few minutes is enough to cause damage to your home, create mold and fungus. The fungus and mold can attract other bugs than drain flies. If you r bathroom stays damp a lot of the time cause of showering.
      If your house creates a lot of condensation on the windows in your main house get damp or bedroom , try sleeping with the bedroom door open a little. If you cook at nite and use a lot of water, like boiling water for pasta, doing dishes by hand, crack the window closet too you while your doing dishes or cooking.
      This moisture can create mold which is unhealthy and as mentioned can attract drain flies fungus gnats. Too much moisture can break down your dry wall too. Plus some molds snd fungus can make you very very sick for a long time.
      Double pane windows will help too.
      Good luck

    • Tad says:

      I had same problem. Would easy kill them with electric mesh. It only kept their number down.
      But it looks much better if you get an insecticide spray.
      After just few short shots in whole bathroom
      they all disapeard.
      it looks like

  9. roseann says:

    I think they are very cute and are harmless . They don’t bite at all they are God’s creation.

    • angry says:

      no one cares roseann

    • Lps Red says:

      I feel the same exact way! They are literally heart shaped! These bugs have never actually annoyed me, unlike deer flies or fruit flies, and I find them as a kind little presence! This view also helps with the fact that we’ve never had a problem with them!

    • Duane says:

      Not everything is God’s creation, sorry.

    • Chris says:

      You’re kidding, right? You must be one of those Animal Rights Fascists: “Animals Before People”, “Everything that Grows is Sentient!”

      • bugsarecoolsometimes says:

        why are all of you people even on this website lol. This is a website made by a person who wants to educate people about bugs, not by arrogant people who think that every bug is icky and gross and wants to burn em all, or by an exterminator. Drain flies are unwanted, and that’s understandable. I also think that they’re cute. A cute health hazard. They are preferable in places where people don’t reside.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    These bugs that look like a fly pop up around bathtub faucet and where they were fixing pipes top of the bathroom ceiling, they are everywhere! What do I do? What can I get to get rid of them?

  11. Melissa says:

    actually, drain flies so most definitely bite!!! I know this to be a fact because I have been bit by them.

  12. ude says:

    I didn’t think so but yes, they do bite, I can tell you. They’re in my basement bathroom and one got upstairs in my bedroom and I saw it flying around me. My arm had a couple of bites in the morning. They’re hard to kill, too. It’s like they know you’re going to swat them.

    • Yes, I live in Boynton Beach, FL and now I finally know what has been biting me! I knew it didn’t look like a mosquito, and from the shape I learned it’s a drain or bathroom fly! Every night, I can see it fly across to TV screen in our living room and also in the bedroom. It’s impossible to catch! Even when it alights in my bathroom sink, I can’t swat it or spray it fast enough! I’m going NUTS!

    • Cyndi says:

      Yep they sure do….I thought I was going crazy, my husband was convinced I was crazy, and it took months to even get a picture of the culperate…It definitely looked like a drain fly but everything I read said they don’t bite or carry diseases… Now…..since I know they do bite some people can they transmit diseases???
      We figured out our problem was a crack in the outside pipe that carries waste from the home to the septic tank….grosssss. So I got a few flying in or hitchhiking on someone when they entered the home every week.
      Anyway… maybe my exp is similar to someone else who keeps being told it can’t be….hope it helps.
      I noticed once I settled in at night on the couch, lights out, tv on I kept feeling like I was being bit. Couldn’t hear or see anything, but it definitely was itchy and left small red bump. Eventually one evening this tiny fly hovered around my face. Was too fast and too small for me to follow thought it must have been a gnat…. but realized gnats aren’t as shy and they don’t care day or night…. Then I was on a mission so one evening I finally decided to shut all the doors in the house and once it quit biting me I was going to find that lil bastard. Took a while…wasn’t expecting to find it resting on a baseboard. Yes it had cute heart shaped wings, a lot smaller than a house fly, and amazingly never moved and was easy to kill. Right to dust it went which sucked because I was going to take it to be identified… So if anyone else has this issue and you keep being told it couldn’t be a drain/sewage fly because they don’t bite, I promise you they are wrong. No they don’t bite my husband…but they love me. They stay low on the wall a foot or less from the floor. Real easy to kill when at rest, obviously like to feed at night, but pretty hard to see due to size and they fly low to the ground which most of us wouldn’t expect. I could have had this taken care of long ago if all these so called professionals knew what they were talking about smh. They need to test with people who get flea and mosquito bites when no one else does lol… Some of us are just more delicious than others.

      • Sharon Bradshaw says:

        I own a rental house, that I lived in for 10 yrs and never had an issue. I got this back in the 80s. It was hellish. I was lucky. I was able to clear it.
        Well now my friend who has been renting is havingtbis issue. U mention a crack in a pipe. That makes me recall, we had a pipe from toilet crack. We didn’t know it at first. But I started smelling poop. So poop was going into the crawl space under the house.
        My husband spent a week trying figure out and fix the toilet. Which he did.
        But now I’m wondering if the pipe burst again. Perhaps for a longtime.
        That could explain it.
        Sadly the tiny town where My cool old river rock house with huge barn, is SOOO far out from other towns , no one will come out to fix it!!! The town doesn’t have a plumber. Hardly has a grocery store. Lol.
        My hubby died 2 yrs ago. So I have no one to fix it. I don’t want to sell it, and make others sick. Tho I read of people selling their infested houses often.
        Then also read of people that were fine, then moved into a new house, and out of the blue, they experience this bug/ fungus issue.
        Makes me wonder how many people may have a faulty plumbing and have no idea.
        Thank you for ur story. These post help all of us helpeach other.

  13. Benay says:

    In a plastic spray bottle I mixed white vinager, peroxide, mouth wash, liquid dish soap and about ten drops of peppermint essential oil with a little water. Then I spragyed then the mat under our dogs food n water bowl, the walls in the shower, the tub, toilets and all the sinks and even damp mopped the bathrooms, hall, foyer n kitchen tile floors because they loved my white-white walls. They were dropping like flies! (no pun intended 😉 as I sprayed it directly on them. I treated all the drains with a scoop of baking soda followed with a chaser of peroxide, enough to wash down the baking soda. Then after about ten minutes I poured boiling water into the drains to flush them, even doing it to the toilets. I also placed drain screens in the sinks and rubber flat stoppers over the shower and tub drain. I covered the sink overflow slots with a piece of decrarive duct tape. Sorry I don’t measure. I was on a mission. I rarely see one of then now. I think they might come in once in a while from outside when we open one of the doors. Next to Spic n Span all those black streaks on my white-white walls. Before I mixed my desperate concoction I would use a knit garden glove that had a rubber palm without putting it on to swat them n I discovered that you had to swat them head on so they couldn’t fly away from you. They are fast n so tiny but they can’t fly backwards! This worked for me.

  14. l white says:

    Yes they do bite,and I found out that it’s hard to swat them because they are so light that the wind force as you swat pushes them away if you swat easy perfect, and you can buy what’s call boi invade liquid to rid themselves.

  15. So Blessed! says:

    Thank you all! My husband and I thought we were losing our mind! We had never seen them before we moved into our new apt. I was so happy to have a bathroom in my bedroom until we realized that we had an infestation of sorts. Everyday I would kill like 4-5 of these little black winged bugs. I covered up the drain in the shower but neglected to do the same in the sink! Now thanks to you all I have the answer. THANK YOU!!!!

  16. Dennis says:

    I’ve had great success using a product = InVade Bio Drain. You pour around 4-5 oz a day for about a week and flies are gone (actually gone in about 2 days for me), but kept pouring just to make sure! Good Luck!

  17. Fla barry says:

    Some drano in each drain works for me

  18. Nancy says:

    The picture above is exactly what these bathroom flies look like! It took me awhile to find the right insect picture until entering “small black flies with tiny black wings”on the internet. I just treated mine today with Zep, a product similar to Draino, then pouring boiling hot water in each tub and sink drain. I may need to do the treatment again, then I will let you know if it is successful.

  19. Torre says:

    I sprayed on Tilex on them and they dropped dead as a door nail. Gonna try bleach see what happens.

  20. Norma says:

    Thanks everyone. It really helped. The concoction with vinegar & mouth wash and the like worked but was a chore making it and the InVade Bio Drain was already done. Just pour & wait for death & disappeance of those critters.

  21. Jon says:

    I used to try to squish them with a piece of damp toilet paper, but found that putting an empty, small, clear-plastic peanut-butter jar over them and quickly putting the lid on after they fly into the jar is the most reliable way I’ve found to get them.

  22. Donna says:

    Where do you buy the invade bio drain?

  23. Tina says:

    I have them around my fish tank and I cannot use anything harsh in fear of messing with my fish…. any recommendations?

  24. Jane says:

    I use product called Earthworm – which is all enzymes – to keep drains from being slow. No harsh chemicals. But I’ve been out of it for few months & drains getting slow & flies showed up. It’s not enough to kill flies THEY ARE LAYING LARVAE IN YOUR DRAINS! caustic materials will not cleanse the thin layer of organic debris in the pipes that they live off of (these are also called sewer flies). The enzyme products stay put, foam, and decompose the organic material so no place for fly to lay eggs. Halp, my skin is crawling from this talk!!

  25. Thank you all for your suggestions to get rid of this horrible pest! I hope it works! In all the years of living in my house, this is the one insect that I can’t catch or eliminate! I get bitten every night! I knew it wasn’t a mosquito, and finally googled the triangle or heart-shape of the bug and found the answer: a drain fly. The only place it alights is my bathroom sink, but it flies around the whole house until it bites me without making the buzzing sound associated with a mosquito. It’s driving me crazy!

  26. We have had these little bugs for 2 years, and we think we just got rid of them. It took 2 days. I poured Pectracide Bug Stop (indoor plus outdoor)
    down all our drains (bathroom sinks and bathtub, shower and sink in 2nd bathroom, kitchen sinks). one cup for each drain. We quit seeing them yesterday, except for a few who we think have died now of old age. They definitely are breeding in the drains. Whenever we had to take a shower or bath, we replaced the spectracide when the water drained. The stuff costs about $7 at WM. I only used 1 jug which was 1.33 gal., but I bought another for maintenance.

  27. Laurie says:

    Any enzyme drain cleaner will get rid of the drain flies. They contain natural non-toxic enzymes that feast on the organic matter and slime that builds up in our drains which is where the drain flies lay their eggs. The enzymes get rid of the slimy build up therefore eliminating the drain flies and their eggs . You must be vigilant and use it periodically in your drains to keep them free from organic matter. As for the comments above that said the drain flies are cute because they’re heart shaped, they are FLIES and can carry disease. Yes, they are small, but they ARE a true fly. Would you want your house to be overrun by house flies? I don’t think so…..They are truly disgusting. Ugh!

    • Laurie says:

      Draino and other chemical drain cleaners will not get rid of these pests permanently. You have to use a natural enzyme drain cleaner!!! Putting harsh chemicals down a drain is very bad for the environment and it does not work on this fly problem.

  28. Linda says:

    We have had these flies for about 2 years now and we have lived in this house for 14 years. We have a septic system and I always thought this was where they were coming from, I just kill as I see them but now there are more and more of them . I’m going to try some of the suggestions above, wish me luck. Oh, and by the way, if they are God’;s creation well, everyone makes mistakes at times, and this isn’t the only one I can think of.

  29. Jon says:

    Per someone else’s suggestion, I boil a large pot of water and somewhat slowly pour it all down the drain, including into the overflow hole of a bathroom sink. This *does* seem to get rid of them. Also, drains not in constant use (like perhaps shower drains) can be tightly covered to keep the flies from getting into them and laying eggs. I’ve also found that it’s more effective to catch the flies in a clear plastic jar than to try to smash them.

  30. Alexis SKORINKO says:

    What enzyme product can be safely used around my dog and cat?

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