Water Bugs in the Toilet

Written by edriaan koening
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Water Bugs in the Toilet
Water bugs may enter your home through the toilet. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The term "water bug" refers to certain kinds of cockroaches that often live in damp places, such as the bathroom. These water bugs may enter buildings through the plumbing pipes and emerge in the toilet, especially is the building is unoccupied and the toilet is rarely flushed.

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There are two types of cockroaches that people call "water bugs:" the Oriental cockroach and the American cockroach. Both cockroaches are brown, with the Oriental cockroach having a dark reddish tint and the American cockroach having light markings on its head. The Oriental cockroach measures between 1 to 1 1/4 inches, while the slightly larger American cockroach ranges between 1 and 1 3/4 inches. Both cockroach species leave excrement that resemble mouse droppings.


Water bugs, true to the name, like living in damp areas, especially those below ground level, for example in basement toilets and sewers. They can live in dry areas as long as they have access to water. They may live in both indoor and outdoor spaces. While Oriental cockroaches like cool areas, American cockroaches prefer warm spaces. The Oriental cockroach releases a stronger odour compared to the American cockroach.


Both the female Oriental cockroach and the female American cockroach produce egg cases, each of which contains several cockroach embryos. They deposit these egg cases in a hidden area that is close to a food source and safe from predators and parasites. The Oriental cockroach's egg case is almost black and you can usually find it on pieces of food or debris. The American cockroach produces dark brown egg cases and deposits them in damp debris or crevices in pieces of wood.


Water bugs in the bathroom may be attracted to water from the toilet tank, leaking faucets and clogged wash basins. Remove these sources of water to make the bathroom a less attractive area for water bugs. If you have a rarely used bathroom, flush the toilet from time to time to prevent water bugs from crawling up to your bathroom through the pipes. To prevent water bugs from multiplying, minimise clutter in the bathroom. Don't store unnecessary items, such as old newspaper, magazines and paper bags.

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