Little Black Worms in the Shower? How to Get Rid of Drain Flies
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
It can be scary to notice little black worms in your shower. However, there's no need to panic. These tiny worms are just drain fly larvae you can easily get rid of using the procedure below.
Unfortunately, these insects flourish in drains as this is their natural habitat. They can also quickly become a problem if you don't remove them. Let's look at what drain flies are and ways you can get rid of them for good.
What Are Drain Flies?
Drain flies are a breed of fly that lives inside pipes and drains. They thrive in stagnant water and feed on organic matter and grime inside drains. Drain flies usually get found in sinks, showers, and bathtubs.
How Long Do Drain Flies Live?
Drain flies typically live for 20 days, and within this time, they rapidly breed. Female drain flies can produce between 30-100 larvae. These eggs usually hatch within 48 hours.
Are Drain Flies Dangerous?
Luckily, drain flies are harmless. You don't have to worry about them being poisonous or biting you. At most, they are a serious nuisance and should be taken care of right away.
Why Do Drain Flies Live in Drains?
Drain flies love drains because they are the perfect environment to help them sustain themselves. They constantly need moist places, and what better place than a shower drain? Most of the time when you find tiny bugs in your bathroom, they're drain flies and their larvae.
They generally enjoy areas where the water is stagnant and are a breeding ground for organic substances and bacteria.
These locations are ideal breeding grounds for drain flies, especially if these are areas where extended periods are inactive.
Also, if you have a drain that consists of a P-trap, then be careful. Water typically remains stagnant in P-traps by design unless leaking, and drain flies find cozy homes there.
Time Length of Infestations
Drain flies typically live for a 20-day life cycle, equivalent to an infestation's time. Therefore, you must act fast once you notice an infestation, as drain flies typically reproduce very fast.
Upon seeing signs of an infestation, you should remove anything that smells bad or will cause bad smells. You should also remove sewage and water that has been standing.
Removing anything that could encourage them to reproduce in the infested location will help shorten the infestation's length.
Can Drain Fly Worms Be Prevented?
Although you may deal with a ton at once, preventing an infestation is surprisingly easy. It mainly takes regular cleaning. By the way, these aren't really types of worms, they're simply the larva state of the adult drain fly.
Frequently Clean Your Drains
Because drain flies thrive from dirty drains, you must keep them clean. If your drains are free of bacteria, scum, and organic substances, it is difficult for drain flies to live there peacefully.
A great way to do this is by using a drain cleaner. It will eat away at all the gunk in the drains and ultimately deter the drain flies.
You can also try natural methods of preventing sludge buildup. You can try a few concoctions that will help keep drain flies away.
The first is vinegar and water or just using dish soap. Another way is mixing half a cup of salt with half a cup of baking powder. Then flush this mixture down the drain with one cup of white vinegar. It will keep your drains clean and smell fresh. While you have the vinegar out, you can clean your shower head too, though many prefer to clean their shower heads without vinegar due to the lingering smell.
Keep Your Drains Covered
You should keep your drains covered, especially if you're not using them regularly. You can get a drain stopper or a rubber drain cover. This keeps drain flies from laying eggs in your drain and keeps the little black worms in your shower from ever climbing out of the drain opening.
Methods to Check for Drain Fly Worms
There are a few ways to check and see if you have drain flies.
Check the Drain for Eggs
This method may be a little unconventional, but it's one sure way to know if you have drain flies. First, you'll want to take off your drain cover and scrape the sides of it.
If you see tiny black tube shapes, those are likely drain fly larvae. However, if you're sure you have drain flies but don't see any larvae from this method, they may be deeper inside your drain and pipes.
Grab Some Duct Tape
The second way you can check for drain flies is by using duct tape. Place the tape over your drain, ensuring the drain is completely covered. Duct tape isn't waterproof but that doesn't mean you should try to shower with it covering the drain either.
If there are drain flies, they will try to come up out of the drain throughout the night. So it would help if you covered the drain for many nights. This method is more manageable and will give you a better idea of how severe the investigation is, as they will stick to the tape as they attempt to crawl across it.
How to Get Rid of Drain Worms in Your Shower or Sink
Luckily, getting rid of them is easy, and you can do it yourself. It's especially beneficial because you won't have to come out of pocket to pay for a professional.
However, you do need to start the process of removing them very fast. That is because drain flies are constantly replicating their life cycle.
Unclog Your Drains
First, you need to unclog your drains. If your drain is full of grime, sludge, and other particles, there won't be any reason for the drain flies to leave. So, unclog them first to make room for correctly flushing them out. This can be done with commercial products or you can even unclog a drain with salt.
Clean the Drain
Next, you need to clean your drains. Again, it's best to do it manually with a snake as it allows you to eliminate more debris.
Upon putting the snake in the drain, gently scrub it so you can get it clean as possible. Also, let warm water run down the drain before using the snake. That will help to loosen up the debris.
Clean Your U-Trap
The U-Trap can typically get found underneath the sink. Unfortunately, drain flies also love to gather here, which is why you must clean them during this process.
Apply An Enzyme Cleaner
Now you'll want to use an enzyme cleaner. This cleaner will essentially coat the inside of the drain. That will provide a slippery layer that will help sludge and grime go down the drain much easier later. There are other options such as using bleach to kill drain flies, but it's not your best choice. Enzyme cleaners are as effective without the downsides, and will clean out your pipes too.
Rinse the Drain
Lastly, you want to rinse your drain thoroughly. Once the enzyme cleaner sits in the drain per the instructed amount of time, flush the drain with warm water. Allow the water to run for between two and three minutes, and you’re finished.
Chemical Methods to Get Rid of Little Black Worms in Your Shower
Chemical methods of getting rid of drain flies usually work pretty well. However, it's essential to keep in mind not to mix any chemicals. Doing so could easily result in a hazardous chemical reaction that could lead to damaged pipes or worse.
Drain Fly Killer
If your drain is clear and free of clogs, a great go-to option is a drain fly killer. Natural drain fly killers are recommended as they aren't as harsh as using Drano to kill drain flies, though you can. Otherwise you need to learn how to snake a shower drain as a first measure.
A natural option will work to kill the flies, eggs, and larvae while also getting rid of their food source, which is the sludge and slime. No sustenance equals no little black worms in your shower under your feet.
Drain cleaner is super effective in clearing out your drain. Draino is the ideal heavy-duty option to flush your drains and anything living in it.
An added benefit to using drain cleaner is it will help remove any eggs in the sludge that clogs your drains. Of course, getting rid of any eggs before they reach maturation is always good.
Natural Methods to Destroy the Tiny Black Worms
A lot of people prefer going green and only using products that are healthy for the environment to get rid of those tiny black worms in the shower. Natural methods of killing shower worms are perfect, especially if you have a chemical sensitivity.
Use Boiling Water
Boiling water may seem like a simple way to get rid of drain flies, but it works. First, you must ensure it's burning hot and not just hot.
Once it's ready, take the water and pour it down the drain. That should help to kill bacteria and also melt away sludge. You’ll want to do this twice daily for five days.
Vinegar & Baking Soda Mixture
Baking soda and vinegar are both powerful natural remedies when it comes to cleaning. For example, combining them can guarantee exceptional results when getting rid of drain flies.
Follow these five steps for this mixture:
- Mix 1 cup baking soda with 1 tbsp of salt
- Pour the mixture into the drain
- Next, pour 1 cup of white vinegar; you should immediately hear everything reacting together
- It's best to let it sit in the drain overnight. The longer it sits, the better it will work
- Lastly, use boiling water to flush the mixture out
This should solve your problem much better than boiling water alone and is worth the small amount of extra effort to get rid of those small black worms.
Post Shower Worm Infestation Practices
After you have cleared the infestation, you must keep up with cleaning your drains. If they remain clean, it decreases the chances of another infestation.
An excellent way to consistently keep them clean is with an enzyme solution. You'll want to pour it in your drains weekly.
Pouring vinegar into your drains weekly will also help keep them clear of any little black worms in the shower. In addition, the vinegar will get rid of limescale while deodorizing and keeping your drains fresh.