Termites are one of the most damaging pests that can infest your bathroom. But, cleaning and vacuuming termite wings and their droppings all over the bathroom floor are the least of your worries.
If you leave termites to invade your bathroom and don’t take immediate action, these pests can cause a huge mess and severe damages. Termites can drill holes all over your bathroom pipes, ceilings, and tiles. They can also cause massive structural damages, like causing sinks and bathtubs to fall off.
Now, that is not the inconvenience and repair expense you want to deal with in your bathroom. Find out how to spot termite infestation in the bathroom, how to get rid of termites, and prevent these pests from returning.
What Should You Know About Termites?
Termites are pesky pests, often called ‘silent destroyers’ that can destroy your bathroom if left unattended.
These insects have six legs body segments that can grow between ¼ to ½ inch in length, although queens and kings can grow up to an inch.
There are around 2,000 known termite species worldwide, but you can classify them as workers and swarmers.
You can identify termite workers with their:
- Cream-colored body
- 3-4 mm in length
- Mud foraging tube
Meanwhile, termite swarmers have:
- Dark brown to black color
- Approximately 4 mm length
- Veiny, translucent wings
The swarmers are winged termites, and while they can fly, they can only do so for a short period. Their wings fall off quickly. They are mainly tasked to reproduce and build new colonies. You might only spot termite swarmers in your bathroom during warmer weather when they go out to find mates.
Meanwhile, termite workers are sterile, so they can’t reproduce, but they feed the entire colony. You can spot termite workers year-round, and they are most active during daylight hours but never exposed to dry air and light. Instead, they stay well inside their mud tubes.
Termites are not known to sting, bite, or spread diseases. But they are dangerous pests for the structural damages they can cause in your bathroom. Another thing to know about termites is that they can survive underwater, but only to an extent. They can stay underwater between 16 to 30 hours, depending on the species.
Why Are There Termites in My Bathroom?
There are only three reasons why termites will come in the bathroom: food, moisture, and warmth. If there’s a termite infestation in your bathroom, it could be either of these reasons.
- Wood building materials
Termites are wood-destroying pests, and they feed on cellulose such as wood. It’s the primary reason why there are termites in bathroom wood panels and ceilings.
- Leaking pipes and fixtures
Water is one of the necessities for termites, no matter the species. They need it to retain the much-needed moisture in their body, and leaking pipes and faucets in your bathroom is an attractive condition for them. Any collected water from these leaks is what helps termites feed and live.
- Damp Shower
A damp bathroom is an ideal environment where termites can thrive, so it’s why you can spot termites in the bathtub, sink, or shower.
- Faulty ventilation system
If your bathroom vent doesn’t work or you don’t have one installed, your bathroom will have a high humidity level. That makes your bathroom an attractive shelter and breeding ground for termites.
If you believe that there is a termite infestation in your bathroom, these tell-tale signs will let you know for sure.
- Mud tubes on your bathroom walls and ceiling
- Fallen off termite wings or dead termites in the bathroom
- Eggs or baby termites in bathroom corners, wall cracks, and damaged ceiling
- Damaged or hollowed-out ceiling and wood baseboards
- Bubbling and peeling paint in the bathroom walls
- Loose or detached floor and wall tiles
- Tiny, oval-shaped, gray droppings on the bathroom floor
- Holes and cracks in water and utility pipes
- Damages on drywall and wallpaper
- Sounds of swarming
If you detect these symptoms, it’s a clear indication of a termite infestation in your bathroom, and prompt preventative measures are necessary.
How Do Termites Get Into the Bathroom?
Termites are small insects, which means they can get into the bathroom through tiny cracks and holes. They can enter your bathroom through hidden breaks and crevices in the walls and flooring. Typically, termites only need an average business card or 1/32-inch thin crack to enter your bathroom.
These pesky insects can also enter through doors that don’t shut properly. Broken screens and windowsills also serve as their entryway to your bathroom. In addition, termites often build their mud tunnels through water pipes, and it’s why you can spot termites coming through drains. Other times, you can see termites coming out of air vents.
Sometimes, it’s challenging to spot swarmers infesting your bathroom as they mostly hang out in dark and undisturbed parts of the bathroom. Termites can stay inside walls undetected for a long time, especially dry wood termites in the bathroom. They can also create tunnels along the floor, under the tiles, where the humidity level is high.
Some termite species also get attracted to light. Hence, you may see some termites in bathroom lights or near the windows.
Termites can also select bathtub drain and bathroom vanity as their breeding ground due to possible clogs. Clogged pipes allow these pests to create mud shelters to house a colony.
How to Get Rid of Termites in the Bathroom
If you encounter a termite infestation in your bathroom, immediate termite control measures are necessary to prevent further damages, and here’s how.
If you want the instant way of getting rid of termites in the bathroom, chemical solutions effectively terminate termite colonies. They will feed off these chemical-infused baits and soon die.
Three effective chemical solutions can kill and get rid of termites swarming your bathroom.
- Chemical pesticides applied on wood surfaces to keep termites away
- Pesticides used to infuse in building materials, often on wood, to deter termites
- Liquid chemicals for treating soil surfaces around the bathroom to prevent termite infestation
But remember, when treating the bathroom using chemical-based pesticides, make sure to wear protective gear.
However, if you don’t want to use chemicals to eliminate termites in the bathroom, the following natural methods can help eradicate them.
Method #1. Open your bathroom doors and windows
Termites detest sunlight, and too much exposure to sunlight and heat can kill them. If opening your bathroom doors and windows is not enough, you can also set up a UV lamp to shine on infested spots or nearby termite colonies.
Method #2. Set a wet cardboard bait
Take a piece of cardboard and spray it with water, then set it near a termite colony.
This termite bait has two components that these pests love: cellulose and water. It’s an eat-all-you-can buffet for the termites in your bathroom, which can lure them out of hiding.
Once termites start to settle into the soaked cardboard, take it out and throw it far away or burn it to kill the pests.
Repeat the process until there are no termites left in the toilet.
Method #3. Sprinkle cayenne pepper around infested spots
Sprinkle an ample amount of cayenne pepper in your drain, sink, or anywhere termites are hanging out in your bathroom. Repeat this until all termites are killed or gone.
The capsaicin compound in cayenne pepper is an active chemical that can give a nice kick to a colony of termites. The spice will naturally damage their nervous system and ultimately killing them.
Method #4. Make an orange oil spray
To make this solution, fill a spray bottle with tap water and add a few drops of orange essential oil. Spray it directly to termites you found on-site or inside their mud tubes.
This natural termite-killing spray is handier for getting rid of them if they hang out in hard-to-reach spots, like deeper wall and ceiling cracks. Orange oil dissolves the pest’s exoskeletons, drying out its body until it eventually dies.
How to Prevent Termites From Coming Back to Your Bathroom
Although you’ve gotten rid of termites in your bathroom, they can come back and cause severe infestation. But these few steps will help keep your bathroom a termite-free zone, keeping the pests from returning inside.
- Keep your bathroom well-ventilated. Frequently check if your shower’s ventilation system is working correctly. If you don’t have a bathroom vent installed, open the windows and doors after showering or taking a bath to remove excess humidity.
- Repair or replace any leaky faucets and pipes to prevent excess moisture and water dripping on the floor that attracts termites into the bathroom.
- Clean out drain pipes often to avoid clogging.
- Caulk cracked and broken windowsills and repair walls and ceiling that could serve as an entry point for termites into your bathroom.
- Inspect floor and wall tiles for a hollow-like sound and repair loose tiles to prevent any chances of termites living under them.
- Replace any rotting or damaged wood in your bathroom.
- Get rid of any sources of standing water inside and outside of your bathroom to avoid any moisture problems that can attract termites.
- Spray termite deterrents around your bathroom periodically to keep them away.