Before taking a bath or shower, the last thing anyone wants to imagine are worms in the tub. Unfortunately, it’s something that plagues people across the globe as these tiny black worms appear in damp areas indoors.
Removing these drain worms is easier than you think, and with our tips, your shower and sinks will be pest-free.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand what causes black worms to appear and what they are so that you can prevent them from reoccurring in the future.
What Are Black Worms?
When you see a black worm wriggling around near a drain, the first instinct is to destroy them as quickly as possible. Well, that’s a good idea considering these tiny black worms are only in their infant form and will transform into something else entirely within a few weeks.
Black worms are actually drain fly larvae. They’ve been referred to as drain moths, black worms, drain flies, and sewer flies. Regardless of the name, remember they are larvae that will grow wings and buzz around a bathroom if you don’t handle them.
Even if you don’t see black worms but have noticed small moths around a drain – you probably have drain fly larvae.
Causes of Drain Worms in Homes
Identifying the cause of drain worms in a home is just as important as removing them. They could be mistaken for fruit flies given their size but are fuzzy little flies that only linger around moist areas like drains in bathrooms and kitchens.
Drain flies lay eggs inside areas with excess moisture, and those eggs will transform into pesky drain flies. The drain fly larvae need organic matter to thrive along with water.
That’s something commonly found in and around drains – especially ones with blockages.
The flies are nocturnal, so they typically come out at night. If you’re unsure where they are coming from, you can try the “duct tape test” by placing a piece of tape over the drain.
In the morning, you should see drain worms or flies attached to the tape if they are present in that drain.
Under normal conditions, you should never see these flies or black drain worms in a shower. They are generally a sign that there’s an underlying problem.
Clogged drains in a shower or sink are ideal breeding grounds because of stagnant dirty water and organic matter like hair and skin cells.
These flies and drain worms can also appear in rarely used bathrooms and rental properties.
How to Get Rid of Drain Fly Larvae and Drain Worms?
Killing any drain fly larvae and drain worms in your shower is something anyone can achieve in a matter of minutes.
The methods below are ranked by how easy they are to perform with things you should have around the house. They won’t take care of adult drain flies that have already left the drain, however.
Before you do anything, check for drain blockages. If the shower drain is clogged, adding more liquid certainly isn’t going to help.
The easiest way to check for a clog in a sink or tub is to pour water around the drain. If the water stands, the drain is blocked, and you’ll want to follow the steps in our guide before proceeding.
If the water drains as usual or a bit slowly, it’s time to try our first method.
1. Hot Water
One way to clear a small drain blockage is to use hot water, and it’s a great way to drown and wash away black drain worms as well.
This is particularly effective in drains that haven’t been used in a while but work properly otherwise.
It’s essential to only use very hot water, not boiling water. Pouring boiling water down drains could potentially damage PVC fittings or pipes, leading to leaks over time.
Bleach is used for various things around the house and is particularly useful in bathrooms and kitchens. You also don’t need much bleach to kill black worms in a drain.
Open the bleach and pour one capful into the lid. Pour bleach into the shower or sink drain where the drain worms reside.
You can rinse it down with warm water if you choose or simply wait until the next time you take a shower.
3. Vinegar and Baking soda
Vinegar and baking soda are also two household ingredients that are handy in bathrooms. They are used to unstop drains but can also do damage to creatures lurking in the pipes or around shower drains.
Use 1/3 cup of baking soda and pour it down the affected drain. Afterward, take 1/3 cup of vinegar to set off a fizzle in the drain pipes.
You can let this mixture sit overnight or for several hours before rinsing it away with hot water. This will flush the drain pipes, clear any minor clogs, and kill black drain worms in the drain.
4. Enzymatic Drain Cleaners
Drain cleaners are a quick way to clear stubborn blockages in pipes, even if some aren’t the safest solutions. Enzyme drain cleaner is the best option when you want to kill drain flies in the pipes without compromising their integrity.
The unique design of enzyme cleaners allows them to dissolve organic material in the pipes and around drains. That material is what drain flies thrive on in their larval stage. Using this type of drain cleaner will kill a worm’s food source and the worms themselves.
There are a number of “green” formulas on the market. While an enzyme cleaner can clear clogs and food sources, they can’t measure up to dedicated products engineered to destroy drain flies.
5. Drain Fly Killer
When any pest is as troublesome as drain flies, products will be designed specifically for them. That means you can purchase drain fly killer, which comes from dozens of brands and frequently labeled as fruit fly repellant.
The most significant difference between these treatments and eco-friendly cleaners is that they aren’t designed to unclog drains.
Whereas an enzymatic drain cleaner can clear clogs, this liquid coats pipes with a thick drainage cleaning gel. It’s particularly useful with P-traps under sink drains but will work wonders with a shower drain as well.
How To Prevent Drain Flies
Once you’ve taken care of the infestation in the pipes, you need to eliminate any existing flies in the room that might be buzzing about. This keeps them from laying eggs and ensures you’re ready for the next steps.
The key to keeping drain flies out of the pipes is routine maintenance. You don’t need to dry the shower drain or sink after each use, but this is an area where common sense can go a long way.
Always make sure the drains in the shower or sink are free of clogs. You can do this by introducing the soda and vinegar mixture to the drains every few months just to keep things moving along smoothly.
Do you have a shower head that drips or a stripped valve handle that never completely shuts off the flow?
Both of these issues can lead to black worms and drain flies. Any area in your bathroom that stays damp with stagnant water can be a place for them to breed.
If you have unused showers or sinks in your home, you can purchase a drain cover or stopper to keep flies at bay until the plumbing is put back in use. Good bathroom ventilation is also key to keeping moisture levels at bay and these pesky flies away.
The Bottom Line
Our methods will clear up any drain fly infestation in minutes while leaving you with a sense of peace the next time you set foot in the shower.
If the issue persists, you may have a more serious problem like blockage or leak. In this case, the best course of action is to call in a plumber to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue that causes black worms and drain flies to return.
Are Black Worms Harmful to Humans?
No, but they are unsanitary. Like any fly or pest, drain flies can carry disease as they move about your home and onto other surfaces undetected.
Will Salt and Baking Soda Work With Drain Flies?
Salt is commonly used along with vinegar and baking soda to clear clogged drains and kill drain fly eggs before they hatch.
Does Regular Drain Cleaner Kill Drain Flies
Drain cleaners will kill or drown the worms while unclogging the pipes. There’s no guarantee they will remove organic matter, so it’s best to stick with formulas designed for flies or black worms.
Will Cold Weather Kill Drain Flies in a Shower Drain?
Drain flies need warm, damp conditions to thrive. In winter, they will die off but can hibernate and come back when things warm up if not addressed.