Have springtails coming out into a toilet bowl in bathroom 1 when flushing. 3 or 4 at a time. None in the tank. Cleaned bowl w/toilet bowl cleaner. No springtails emerged. Filled tank w/half vinegar n/half water, flushed, let it sit. 10 dead came out on next flush. Recently did minor plumbing rerouting of supply lines in bathroom 1. Never unmounted toilet. Did major rerouting of drains and supply lines in bathroom 2 on opposite side of wall from bathroom 1 but did not move or disturb drain lines for the toilets in bathrooms 1 and 2 which presumably share a common drain and vent. Did remove toilet in bathroom 2 as part of renovation. Remounted bathroom 2 toilet. No springtails in toilet in bathroom 2. They seem to be literally living in the flush holes under the lip of the toilet bowl. They never emerge anywhere else. The bowl also has a burnt type odor which was not there before. I cannot understand how they have gotten to where they are without going through either the trap water or the tank water. Your opinion is greatly appreciated. By the way, excellent info on your site. I’m a scientist and can never get enough detail. Thanks in advance for your help.
I have seen this happen many times. To best understand how it can develop, you need to understand how springtails migrate. And the best way to explain their migration is to think small. You see, 1-2 feet for a springtail is a long journey. So when they move, they move by covering small distances and establishing nests along the way.
And they only migrate when any one location isn’t large enough for the current population. This will cause some to move to a new “pocket” or nest. Now if the new pocket can only maintain 5-10 adults, some will move from there once that location hits this population. In some cases they’ll all move but many times some will stay behind. And it might only be a few which in turn can become the supply for future generations even though they’re existence is never observed.
And in a bathroom (as well as many other areas in the home), this pattern will play out over and over. So once they’re in the bathroom, they will migrate from “pocket” to pocket as needed. And the list of pocket nests I’ve seen over the years includes the following but is not limited to under the toilet where it mounts to the floor, under the bolt nut covers that hold the toilet to the floor, in the lip of the toilet where water comes out, in the water tank, in the water supply line that feeds the water tank, under the flip handle for flushing, under the on/off valve handle for the water supply of the toilet, in the drain line of any sink, tub or shower present, in all the fixtures of any sink, tub or shower present, in tile grout, under linoleum, in carpeting, in wall sockets, around medicine cabinets, etc.
Now how they get into the bathroom initially is usually via one of the following. First, one of the most common entry routes is via unused drain lines. Abandoned sinks or tubs are commonly used if the trap water in the elbow dries up. The exterior of any water pipe is another great way they can enter. Basically from below the bathroom they will walk up the exterior of any copper or pvc pipes making their way to the most humid room they can find as they travel. This generally turns out to be a kitchen or bath.
Another great way they enter is “down” vent pipes. Remember, springtails commonly infest trees and vegetation. And any tree litter which makes its way onto your roof will commonly lead to some living on your roof. In most cases these populations live for years unnoticed. But I’ve seen where they will readily migrate down from the roof via vents and exhaust pipes which again, tend to lead to bathrooms and kitchens.
In summary, there are many ways they can get into any room of any house. But once they enter, they will commonly find and use the “best” location for any one pocket nest. And many times these locations turn out to be around the sink, tub, toilet or shower. So what you’re describing is nothing unusual and quite common for springtails to do. The good news is you’ve isolated the problem and with the right material, you can easily control them.
So what is the right material? The PT-221. Labeled for use down drains, if you do a thorough crack and crevice treatment in your bathroom, you should see instant results. Basically by treating every spot that might host a pocket nest, you can both kill and eliminate any opportunity for them to live in the room. Don’t forget to treat down every drain line too. As our article explains, springtails will commonly live just under the drain line cover feeding on all the micro organic matter which clings to the cover and the drain line. But a quick 1-2 second blast of PT-221 will take care of any using this area.
And of course, treating all the baseboards, cracks and crevices of the room will be needed too. But if you do the job right the first time, you should kill them all within 1-2 days and from there, the problem should be resolved!
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