Picture this: You’re going to your sink just to wash your hands, and you see little dark worms around your drain. Yuck! Even if you have the cleanest of houses, drain worms and drain flies are actually a very common occurrence. Read on to find out more about what they are exactly, and how to get rid of them.
Are they worms? Or flies? Or both?
Actually, according to a couple of plumbers I’ve spoken to, they’re both. Also, this website confirms it. The little worms are the larvae (or hatched eggs) of the end result, which is the fly.
Are they harmful?
Not really. The flies don’t really bite, but they’re just more of a nuisance. If enough of the flies form, they’ll look to hang out near the sink drain itself, but might also move onto any light fixtures (as many flying bugs do). The worms also are not dangerous to humans, however, keep in mind that what you see on the surface of your sink may only be the beginning, and there may be many more of them further down your drain.
Why are they there?
You might clean your sink once a week or maybe even more, but that doesn’t mean your home is immune to drain flies and drain worms. The fact is, most normal homes don’t take the time to clean any pipes or drains, simply because we don’t think of it and if things flow properly, then we know there’s no blockage. But sometimes, there can be a buildup of things in drains (hair, mildew, skin from washing hands, and even food particles, etc.) and that provides a good feeding ground for drain worms and flies. Seeing worms in the sink is just an indication that there’s a bigger problem where you can’t see.
Is it expensive to fix?
Not usually. The problem is that most people haven’t ever seen them, and since the worms look kind of scary, folks are quick to call their local plumber or pest control company and may pay for a consultation. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to try a couple of things yourself to take care of the issue:
If you can manage it, your best bet is to manually clean whatever pipe or drain the worms are coming out of. You can try to clean as deep as you can go with a strong long-handled brush. If you’re able to get a bunch of gunk out (especially if there’s worms with the gunk), then you’ve probably gotten to the root of your problem.
You could also try a drain cleaner, and it’s a bonus if the label tells you it’ll clean organic material (which is what the worms love to feed on). This is a good way to clean up any build-up in your drain or pipes without getting your hands dirty. As a side note, although it’s usually on the instructions for drain cleaners anyway, make sure to flush after it’s done it’s work with HOT water, as this will aid the cleaning agents in flushing away any gunk, but can also help kill off any larvae in your drain.
Most likely, a combination of both methods will take care of the problem with minimal effort.
Could I use bleach?
Bleach is a really strong chemical that probably shouldn’t be used in any kind of pipes. According to this message board and the plumber that I was able to confirm with, bleach may harm certain types of pipes and fittings. And how often does a homeowner know exactly what type of piping they have? Also, it doesn’t work as well as a common drain cleaner. Also, with using bleach, you run quite a great risk of creating a very dangerous environment in your home, since it could possibly be mixed with other chemicals and create extremely dangerous fumes.
Could I use insecticides?
It stands to reason that since you’re dealing with insects, maybe you could use insecticides. However, all that does is ‘mask’ the real problem. While it would in fact kill the flies, or even maybe the larvae if you use a drain insecticide, that doesn’t take care of the root of the problem, which is build-up in your drain. Also, if any of the eggs survive, the infestation will just come back again eventually anyway.
I hope these tips and tricks have helped you to determine what might be happening with your drain and how to tackle the problem. And remember, when in doubt, call a plumber!