Did you find a colony of small, black-colored insects in your bathroom? They’re probably springtails enjoying the moist environment. In this article, we look at how to get rid of springtails in the bathroom.
Springtails are not harmful to humans, and neither do they bite us. They don’t destroy our furniture or eat up our plants either.
However, people still consider them nuisance pests because once they invade our homes, they multiply quickly and infest in large numbers.
Bathrooms are a favorite breeding ground for them because bathrooms are often damp, and they love moist conditions. In this article, we look at how to get rid of them if they have made a nest for themselves in your bathroom.
What Attracts Springtails to the Bathroom?
The favorite places for springtails to reside in your house are your kitchen or bathroom. These rooms have floors and walls that remain moist every day, and springtails need moisture to thrive. Let’s look at some key reasons why your bathroom has springtails.
Moisture and Warmth
Springtails love humidity and warm temperatures. While they might enter your house through windows or doors, most of them end up in your bathroom.
They nest near the drains of your bathroom, where there is excess moisture. Drains also have organic matter such as bacteria, fungus, plant material, and dead skin and tissue that you scrape off your body during a bath.
Leakages in the Bathroom
Any faulty plumbing work can lead to leakage, which again can attract springtails. In some cases, leakages occur behind the walls or under the floor tiles, keeping the bathroom moist even when you are not using it. When getting rid of springtails from your bathroom, repairing all the leakage is a necessary first step.
Wet Towels, Rugs, and Bathroom Mats
Bathroom mats are another favorite breeding ground for springtails. The underside of bathroom mats is always wet and may contain organic material. To avoid these pests, you must take the mat out and let it dry in the sun once in a while.
Wet Towels that you leave in the bathroom after use make your bathroom’s air humid, thus making the bathroom attractive to pests. You should replace wet towels with dry ones after each use.
How To Get Rid of Springtails in the Bathroom?
There are many techniques that you can use to get rid of springtails if you already have an infestation. Cleaning agents, insecticides, and other natural solutions can help you kill them off.
Cleaning your bathroom fixtures and fixing moisture leaks will prevent future infestations. Let’s look at all this more closely.
Use Household Cleaning Products
Soap water solution might be the easiest way of getting rid of these pests. Use soap water several times in the affected area, and afterward, make sure that the affected area is completely dried off.
You will need to apply soap water many times to get rid of the pests. On the other hand, bleach is more effective than soap in getting rid of them.
Bleach is a corrosive substance that can kill springtails on contact. One drawback is that the smell of bleach is difficult for even humans to stand.
Lastly, the best idea is dry the area thoroughly with the help of a drier and vacuum the walls. You can suck out the tiny insects easily using a vacuum and then just dump them in a nearby landfill.
Household products might work for minor infestations, but for larger springtail infestations, you would need to use insecticides that are safe for indoors.
Insecticides containing chemicals deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, and pyrethroid kill the springtails and their larvae when you apply them 4-5 times.
You can try using vinegar, which is a weak acid and is corrosive to springtails. In fact, you can use vinegar for most pests. However, keep in mind that vinegar leaves behind an awful smell.
Natural oils can help in removing pests such as springtails from your bathroom but also keep the bathroom fresh and odor free.
Neem Oil is efficient in removing springtails, and many consider it to be a natural pesticide. You can use a neem solution with a high concentration on the infested region of your bathroom.
Eucalyptus Oil is antifungal in function, so it helps remove the food source of the pests (springtails feed on fungus). Cedar and clove oil are also natural insecticides and can control the springtail infestations in your bathroom effectively.
You can also use Diatomaceous earth (DE) to eliminate springtails. DE kills pests by removing the waxy outer covering of the springtails that are responsible for keeping them moist.
Natural solutions can easily seep through the cracks in your bathroom, helping to remove pests hiding under them.
Improve Bathroom Ventilation
As mentioned earlier, the humidity and warmth of your bathroom may attract various pests, especially moisture-loving springtails. Lack of proper ventilation makes the air more humid, which aids them.
Installing an exhaust fan, insulator sheets, and a dehumidifier can be a game changer in eliminating springtails.
An exhaust fan improves air circulation, insulator sheets reduce the warmth of your bathroom, and a dehumidifier reduces the overall humidity of the bathroom.
Clean Bathroom Fixtures
While trying to get rid of springtails in your bathroom, cleaning bathroom fixtures is an essential step. Clean the regions susceptible to the growth of algae and moss, such as the sink and the tub.
Make sure to clean under them as mildew could grow in those parts. Applying a little bit of bleach solution will help clean the sink or tub and also remove any springtails already there.
Seal the Cracks
Springtails are tiny, so they love to hide in grooves and cracks in your bathroom. You can use a sealant to cover these cracks in the floor and wall tiles.
Sealants get into the cracks of tiles and prevent pests from inhabiting them. They also stop the growth of fungus and algae in the cracks, thus eliminating the food source of the springtails.
Inspect Potted Plants
In the environment, springtails live in moist soil. Potted greenhouse plants need regular watering, so the soil of the pot creates the perfect environment for springtails.
Ask your vendor to dry out the soil of the plant completely before taking it to your house when you buy indoor plants. Inspect the pots for any springtail or algae build-up before you let them inside your house or near the bathroom.
Hire a Pest Control Professional
You can remove springtails from your home, but it requires you to invest a lot of time and effort in the process. Most of the remedies mentioned above would remove springtails only after multiple rounds of application.
Hiring a pest control could be a good option if you don’t have that kind of time. They will inspect every inch of your house and use advanced techniques to make sure your house is devoid of any pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are springtails?
Springtails are a type of arthropod. Arthropods are small invertebrate organisms similar to insects or spiders. These pests are black or gray in color, small, and wingless. Adult springtails are about 8/100th of an inch fully grown.
Springtails get their name from their ability to jump a distance, many times their size. They do this through the use of a fork-like appendage called furcula under their abdomen. This helps them spread pretty quickly in any place they infest.
Do springtails come up the drain?
Springtails do not come from drains. Instead, they come from open bathroom windows and doors. When you see springtails in the drain, it means that they have crawled down there to get moisture. They will only come from the drain if there is any leakage in the pipes.
What can I pour down the drain to kill springtails?
You can use household chemicals such as bleach, soapy water, and vinegar. You can also try using natural insecticidal oils such as cedar, clove oil, or neem oil which is a natural pesticide.
How do you find a springtail nest?
You can detect the presence of springtail nests only after they have multiplied to a large number. They are so tiny that we can barely see one springtail with the naked eye.
Once they form colonies, you would see them bunched up together in a region. They are easier to see in the winter against the backdrop of the snow because they are black.
Where do springtails lay eggs?
Springtails lay round eggs in small numbers in various places. The most common site for laying eggs is soil with high water levels and high organic content. For example, the soil of potted plants is an ideal place for them to lay eggs.
Springtails do not harm human beings, but that doesn’t mean you would like to have them in your bathroom. You can use various natural remedies such as soap, water, vinegar, or bleach, and you can also use insecticides to remove them.
Once you do it, use the preventive suggestions that we have shared in this article. Thank you for reading!
Letter 1 – Springtails found in Baby Bottle Sanitizer
Subject: Found in baby bottle sanitizer
Location: Southern California
January 3, 2013 2:03 am
Dear Bugman, I’ve been finding these buggers in the machine that I use to sanitize my baby’s bottles. After the steaming cycle is done, I wipe down the excess water, and I leave the cover ajar for all the water to dry, I would often find one or so of these hanging out in the machine.
When the cover is fully on, I’ve never found these bugs…please help, thank you
Signature: Baby’s Safety
This is a Springtail and it is a common insect found worldwide. They are often found in homes if conditions are right. They are benign and will not harm you or your child. We are quite certain the steam kills them when the bottles are being sanitized. Outdoors they aid decomposition and according to BugGuide: “They may also graze on spores of molds and mildews, especially indoors where there is a lack of other food sources.” They could be considered beneficial inside the home as they would inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
Thank you so much Daniel, it relieves me to know that they are benign. Have a good one!
Letter 2 – Springtails in Australia
Subject: Query about bug in the house
Location: Perth Western Australia
October 26, 2015 5:48 pm
I was wondering if you could help us identify the bug we found in our house, in Perth, Western Australia.
I first found it in the bathroom table sink, and sometime on the wall, and they are not coming in a group like ant.
Thanks in advance for your help.
The photos of the bug are as follow :
Signature: no preference
You have Springtails, which are benign creatures that frequent damp locations. They can be a nuisance if they get plentiful.
Letter 3 – Springtails inside home
Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Queens, NY
March 15, 2015 2:27 pm
I live in an apartment in Queens, NY and we have these little bugs swarming on our kitchen counter, close to the wall. They’re close to the sink. We also see them on the edge of the sink in our bathroom.
They’re pretty calm, but dart around when you bother them (like when I took their picture).
Do you know what these are? Thank you!
This is a Springtail, arguably the most common hexapod on the planet. Springtails are beneficial creatures that help break down organic matter, and though they are fine in nature and in the garden, they can become a nuisance indoors. Springtails thrive under damp conditions, and since you are finding them near the sink, we can’t help but wonder if you have a leaky pipe that is causing problems inside the walls. If mold is growing, it can be acting as a food source for the Springtails. You might want to get the plumbing checked.
Letter 4 – Possibly Springtails in Hong Kong
Subject: Psocid or springtail?
Location: Hong Kong
January 4, 2014 1:24 pm
I discovered these little black(ish) bugs in my bed. I have not seen them anywhere else, but maybe that’s just because they are tiny and are hard to see unless contrasted against my white sheets and appearing close to my eyes.
They are only about 1mm (1/16 inch I believe) long and have two, for its size, long antennae sticking out straight forward.
After a look of web searches, springtail or psocids seem to fit.
Springtail appear to come from outside from what I’ve read, which I suppose is unlikely since I live on the 38th floor on top of a shopping mall. The floor above is a rooftop where some neighbors keep flowers, not sure if that can be the cause.
I live in Hong Kong and it is extremely humid here, I often get mold on the walls.
They are so tiny that I find it impossible to see if it’s a psocid or a springtail. I saw one larger that walked up on my iPad, when i slowly lifted the iPad the bug either jumped off or just slid off very fast. Another big one (1mm) seemed to vanish when I poked it so that might have jumped, but again I’m not sure as it was so small. A third one was smaller and definitely did not jump when I poked at it several times until it died.
I do not have any bites (as far as I can tell).
I managed to get a couple of photos of one on my bare mattress (using a clip-on lens for my iPhone as it’s otherwise impossible to photograph the tiny thing.
Booklice or Psocids are generally light in color, so we are favoring Springtails for your identification. The Slender Springtails in the family Entomobryidae pictured on BugGuide look close to your image.
I’m not a bug lover (especially when finding them in my bed, but your website is great! Amazing that you guys answer emails in your free time, especially with the amount your website said you get.
Btw, after putting my dehumidifier (as I read that both booklice and springtails need very high humidity levels) on clothes drying (max effect) and turning on an air heater that further reduces humidity for a few days I haven’t seen any. Hopefully I’ve gotten them out of my apartment and my bed!
Letter 5 – Springtails in the Bathtub
tiny bugs in the bathtub
Hi there – I hope you can help me. I live in Southern New Jersey and for the past week or so I’ve been finding tiny little bugs in my bathtub but, thankfully, no where else. They are about 1/16th of an inch long, and they smush very easily. I am not sure where they are coming from. They appear to have antennae and I think 6 legs, although it is very hard to tell because they are so small. They are sort of a grayish color. I’ve been washing them down the drain but they come back every day. Do you have any ideas?
Also – they appeared to jump when I sprayed the tub with vinegar, but maybe that was my imagination. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.Thank you so
Rebecca in NJ
Perhaps Colembola, springtails.
Thanks for replying! You are right! In the meantime I was able to find out that they were in fact, springtails. Thanks again for the reply! it’s good to know there’s help out there!!