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Ewww...bugs in septic system??? UPDATE: They're Springtails!

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  • Ewww...bugs in septic system??? UPDATE: They're Springtails!

    Okay I know how septic systems work...the waste water goes down into the tank, and microorganisms and creepy crawlies eat the gunk and eventually clean water comes out the other side.

    But since we've moved into our new place on the ranch, I've noticed teeny little bugs venturing out of our drains and into our bathtubs and sinks. They seem to not be bothered by water since I always rinse them down the drain when I see them, but they always come back. Are these the bugs that eat the sewage? If so, is that as disgusting as I think it is that they're coming up and hanging out in my tubs and sinks? What on earth can I do to either get rid of them or convince them to go back underground where they belong???? I am thinking of bringing this up to our landlords, seeing as I consider it a bug infestation, but just wanted to make sure I'm not being a city-fied pansy first.
    Last edited by tbgurl; May. 6, 2010, 07:47 PM.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.

  • #2
    If, by "bugs" you mean "insects", no they probably have nothing to do with the septic system.

    There are plenty of insects (silverfish come to mind) that like to hang out in and around sinks.

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    • #3
      Those are drain flies. (Sometimes called moth flies) They look like little brown fruit flies. They're not from your septic, they fly down your drains and breed in the damp mushy gunk that collects inside your pipes.
      The way to get rid of them is to use a foaming type drain cleaner on any drains you find them around. It will kill the larvae there but what it mostly does is clean out the gunk stuck to the edges that they breed in and prevents more being bred.
      Takes a few days to a week, but they'll disappear without gunky pips to breed in.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • Original Poster

        Aha, thanks MistyBlue! That must be what they are. They are little and brown, tiny like fruit flies. Come to think of it, the drains are slow so there's probably build-up in there that they're living in. Yuck.

        Will be going out TODAY to buy some drain cleaner. I don't like waking up to a tub/sink full of bugs.
        Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.


        • #5
          the organisms in the septic are more bacteria like- not insects!

          good luck with the drain clearer- but be sure its safe for septic systems because you dont want to kill those guys!


          • #6
            Originally posted by starkissed View Post

            good luck with the drain clearer- but be sure its safe for septic systems because you dont want to kill those guys!


            • #7
              Yup, look for drain cleaner that's septic safe. I have a septic too.
              Foaming works best for drain flies, because they beed on just little bits of gunk stuck to the sides of the drains and liquid doesn't get those. Gel type works well too.
              And get your septic pumped at least once every 3 years, although every other year is best.
              Yeah, sounds excessive a bit but if you've ever seen the damage a failed septic can do...and the cost of repairing it...the small cost of a pumping is nothing.
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • #8
                Actually, Misty, once every 3 to 5 years is best, otherwise you remove those little bugs too often and they don't regenerate too well. Unless, of course, there's a billion people using a tank designed for 2-3 people, tops
                But getting the field flushed (professionally) yearly is a heck of a good idea to keep the thing absorbing for many years.


                • #9

                  If you live alone, and have a septic for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house (i.e. a lot bigger than 1 person) how often do you need it pumped?

                  It's been 12 years already...

                  I do feed it regularly.
                  InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                  Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                  • #10
                    I live here alone like you and in 6 years have yet to pump the septic.

                    Friends who have more farm experience tell me they have yet to do theirs & they are 8 years into their current place with 2 of them using the "facilities".

                    I also checked with the guy who installed the septic and he told me once every 5 years or more is fine for my purposes.

                    Fanfayre: intersting...noone had mentioned having the field flushed.
                    I'll have to call septic guy & ask about that.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                    • #11
                      we are required by law to pump our septic tanks every 5 years or less and have to show the receipt on our property taxes.
                      If you have to pump it more often, you can also buy culture starter that you flush down your toilet to kickstart the new colony. Or the old farmer's trick of a pound of rotten hamburger flushed down.

                      The problem with leaving it longer is that you get buildup of solids in the first stage tank, and it overflows to the second stage, where its fine for a very long time, until one day its not and starts pumping sludge through your field and you are faced with a humoungous repair bill. And there's really no way to examine or inspect the system without pumping it anyway. prevention is better.

                      There is a rotating brush thingey like a drain snake that we use to clean the drains in our sinks. My mom once killed our septic tank by using too much bleach, but chlorine bleach is quickly inactivated and it recovered.

                      Our field is built so that you can dig up the outlet pipe from the tank, and also the end of the runs, and pipe water through to clear the pipes. However, the pattern of vegetation over the field is even, so in 15 years we have not flushed it as we believe the system is operating properly and is not clogged.

                      We have also installed a custom steel ïnspection port over the first stage of our septic tank. We can open the sealed lid to pump the tank without digging up the tank, or if so inclined, inspect the first stage to make sure the sludge has not reached the top. Hold your nose.

                      And for those who visit from the city, they are very impressed when we tell them our farm operates on a "Self contained 3 stage organic sewage treatment plant that recycles our water and waste as nutrients to the land."
                      "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                      • #12
                        For your size use, once every five years should be fine to pump it out.
                        The fellow pumping it said to get it started again with some packages of yeast from the grocery store.
                        I asked the installer and he said no, that won't do anything to it, is old wives tales, just used it normally and the good bacteria will grow on their own, as needed.

                        Those little drain flies may also be in your vent pipes right by the sink, so if the foam cleaner doesn't take care of them, try using some volatile insect spray in the vent drain holes also and hope that does it.
                        Just don't nuke the whole bathroom to get those few flies.


                        • Original Poster

                          Lol okay I'll try not to nuke everything to kill the little buggers. I found out that Drano is safe for septic systems, but I don't know if they have a foaming version. I'll read the labels carefully (didn't get a chance to go yesterday...hectic day).

                          Thanks for all the septic advice! The last thing I want is to damage the whole system.
                          Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.


                          • #14
                            Save your $$$ on septic starter or burger. The 1st flush gets the bugs activated. Trust me
                            PP, 2Dogs, Bluey, et al; 5-10 years should be fine, unless local ordinances decree otherwise, as in Cat's case. PP, I would think you should schedule for a pump-out sometime in the next 2-3 years, otherwise you may have a big bill that could curtail your horsey expenditures


                            • Original Poster

                              UPDATE: So after pouring gallons of drain cleaners of multiple types down the drains to no avail, I did a little google searching and found out that they are Springtails and much harder to eradicate than we thought. I will be passing along information to the landlords for how to get rid of them, as they have spread from the sinks to the floors, kitchen counters, and walls now. YUCK.
                              Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.


                              • #16
                                7 Year old Thread
                                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                                • #17
                                  I started getting the little drain bugs, but they were not coming from the drain. I have an undermount sink, and the seam between the sink and the quartz counter tops needed to be caulked. I used clear silicone, and filled it in after I used paper towels to soak the water out of the seam first. The caulking took care of it.
                                  You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by fanfayre View Post
                                    But getting the field flushed (professionally) yearly is a heck of a good idea to keep the thing absorbing for many years.
                                    fanfayre-what do you mean by professionally flushing the septic?

                                    Right now I'm on a 37 yr old septic that has had the septic cleaned every 3 yrs for the last 27 yrs. I live alone. Only once had problems that was a clog of toilet tissue (yes Charmin!) but that was yrs ago and, yes, I'm still using Charmin so I consider that proof that they changed their tissue formula.

                                    And Sonny's Mom, what difference does it make that this thread was started 7 yrs ago? It's a pretty important issue no matter what.


                                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.