“Every once in a while I’ll find a maggot or 3 on the floor in the bathroom” says this reader. She asks us if we can tell her what to do, how to get rid of said maggots, and what might be causing them to appear.
Although our reader unfortunately did not send any photos of the “very creepy” maggots, she adds that one of the maggots she found was “crawling along the floor near the shower.” Moreover, after checking “every place” (in her home, we assume), she found nothing the day she sent in her submission. Unfortunately, this context gives us very little to go off when trying to identify these maggots, and without photographs or any description of their physical characteristics, it becomes very difficult to provide a certain identification.
Now, our reader refers to the creatures she found in her bathroom as maggots. When people refer to maggots, they can mean all sorts of things, depending on who you ask. Some people mean the grubs they find in their garden whilst others use it as an umbrella term for any ‘gross’, worm-like creature. The term ‘maggot’ actually refers to housefly larvae (or a similar species of fly), who are white in color and can be found in compost bins, faeces and carcasses, where they feed on rotting or dead organic matter. If our reader does mean housefly larvae, then they are likely there because her bathroom has experienced some neglect when it comes to sanitation. There is a build-up of some type of organic matter that is attracting the houseflies and their larvae to come and feast in the bathroom. Getting rid of them merely entails moving the live larvae outside and deep cleaning the bathroom, followed by a consistent routine which keeps the bathroom clean so as to prevent future infestations.
That said, if our reader is not referring specifically to fly larvae, but to some type of larval or worm-like creature in her bathroom, then we think it more likely that she is finding drain fly larvae in her bathroom. Otherwise known as moth flies, drain flies are small, fuzzy, gray/black insects with papery wings that are scarcely bigger than their bodies. Their hair and shape often trick people into thinking they are moths, hence the alternative name, but they are indeed a species of fly. Their larvae are tiny (usually 1/8-inch in length) and either black, or brown/black and white-striped. Just like housefly larvae, drain fly larvae feed on decaying organic matter. They often come up through the pipes and establish their nesting grounds on the fine film that forms just inside the mouth of a bathtub or sink drain.
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Usually, people find drain flies (and their larvae) in their bathrooms after being away from home for a while, as the bathroom will have experienced neglect for a substantial period of time. And this time, we do not only mean in the sense of cleaning one’s bathroom, but in its general use. Just using one’s bathroom regularly, running the taps and flushing the toilet, will keep drain flies at bay, as the organic film does not stick around long enough for the flies to lay their eggs there. However, once drain fly larvae do start to roam one’s bathroom and have gotten comfortable, getting rid of them is not as simple as that, though luckily it is still quite simple.
We recommend that our reader searches for and removes any organic film that might have built up in any of the drains in her bathroom. She can do this with a cotton swab or small brush soaked in bleach (or some other cleaning solution) to make sure it really gets cleaned out of there. Then, we recommend running hot water for a few minutes in her bathtub/shower and sink before pouring bleach down the drains to clean them. Naturally, we also recommend that she cleans her toilet, as drain fly larvae can also surface there. Our reader should then repeat this cleaning regime two-to-three times a week, all the while physically removing any roaming larvae and putting them outside, before she returns to a regular cleaning schedule.
To conclude, it is unclear what our reader found in her bathroom which she refers to as maggots. If they are housefly larvae or drain fly larvae, we suppose that either way our reader is technically correct in calling them maggots, as drain flies are also a species of fly, and so their larvae are maggots. In the case that our reader thinks the creatures she is finding are neither housefly or drain fly larvae, then we encourage her to send photographs over if she has any, or at least more descriptions of their appearance, as well as any more context that might help. Regardless, cleaning one’s bathroom is the key step to preventing infestations of any kind (not that our reader’s bathroom is necessarily infested), so we hope that this article helped in some way!