The Tiny Pest That May Be Lurking In Your Shower Grout (& How To Eliminate Them)

To many, the shower is a haven from everyday stressors. It's not only a place to get clean — it's also a place to get a few relaxing moments alone. Unfortunately, this tranquility can quickly be interrupted if you notice bugs in the shower grout — yikes. Many bugs like to make their home in the bathroom due to the moisture it provides. If they do, you may wonder how they got there and what you can do to get rid of them.

Although there are a few different insects you may come across in your shower, one that you may not be familiar with is the psocid, also known as booklice. These pests get their name because they're commonly found around books, but they can also appear in areas of the home where moisture is present, such as the bathroom or kitchen. If you notice these tiny insects in your shower, chances are you want to get rid of them ASAP. To prevent or get rid of these pests, you'll take nearly identical steps. Primarily, you'll need to eliminate moisture in the bathroom while ensuring that there's nothing around that can serve as a food source for them.

Identifying psocids in your shower

In addition to psocids, there are many different bugs that you may come across in the shower. This includes silverfish, drain flies, ants, cockroaches, centipedes, and more. To identify whether psocids are the pest you're dealing with, you'll first want to consider their size. Psocids tend to have a length of one to two mm as well as a soft body, a long nose, and two thin antennas. They'll be either white, brown, or gray and could be wingless or have four wings. Remember that psocids are insects rather than arachnids, so they'll have six legs.

Booklice aren't generally harmful to people or pets, but it can be unsettling to notice them in the shower -– particularly if there are a lot of them. Psocids are also usually a sign of a deeper issue. These little pests feed on a few different things including books, paper, and dead organic material such as other insects. They also eat mold and fungi, so if you notice them in the shower grout, it could be a sign that there are significant moisture issues in your bathroom. You'll want to evaluate your shower and bathroom and look for ways to clean mold if needed.

How to banish psocids from your bathroom

The best way to get rid of psocids is to eliminate the things that brought them to your bathroom in the first place. Eliminating moisture, mold, and mildew is paramount to both preventing psocids and getting rid of them once they appear. Look for sources of moisture in your bathroom, eliminate any leaks, and ensure there's adequate ventilation. 

Reducing the humidity in the bathroom with a dehumidifier can kill psocids. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, the pest can't survive if the humidity levels go below 45-50%. Other changes that you can make include sealing gaps and cracks in your grout, getting rid of any potential food sources in the area, and keeping the area generally clean and tidy. Psocids tend to thrive in darker environments, so you should also take steps to increase the amount of natural light in your bathroom.

To eliminate psocids directly, you can do so using a simple mixture of hand soap and water or diluted bleach. When you clean your bathroom with bleach, it will kill psocids and other pests while also eliminating mold and mildew. You may also want to try using commercial pesticides such as pyrethrin, permethrin, and chlorpyrifos to get rid of booklice and other pests. If you decide to use commercial pesticides, however, proceed with caution. They can be dangerous, so you'll want to follow all manufacturer's instructions to eliminate the pest safely.