You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Small Water Bugs in Toilet


I need you to identify an colony of insects that frequently appear in my toilet. They appea to be small 1/4 mm indents in the water and move around in groups with the exception of a few (3 to 6 straying). If I want to get red of them I just flush, but after a half-an-hour or so, they re-appear. Of course I haven't seen them re-appear, because I usually have the lids shut. I assume they enter through the gaps between the two lids.
I think they are clear but I cannot identify any other physical features. They move slowly, and then dash fast.


I think you are probably describing "springtails" in the order/class Collembola:

Springtails are best described as a "nuisance pest" because they do not have an adverse effect on human health, pets, or structures.  They graze on mold and fungal spores, decaying organic matter, etc.

Without seeing a clear image, or, even better, specimens, of what you are describing, I cannot guarantee my assessment is correct, but springtails are certainly the most obvious suspect.  Note that not all springtails....spring.  Many, many species lack the jumping organ.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

©2017 All rights reserved.