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What a shock! They were just about to take a pleasant bath and suddenly there were numerous brown bugs crawling around in the sink, which kept popping up even after they had been flushed away with the shower or gathered in ever-growing groups on the wall and lived there. What kind of animal is it? And the more important question: how do you get rid of them so that you can enjoy your bathroom again.

animal species

What kind of animals are they?

Silverfish are a classic bathroom visitor. However, there are different brown nuisances that belong to different species and must therefore be dealt with differently.

  • dust lice (Psocoptera)
  • brass beetle (Niptus hololeucus)
  • carpet beetle (Anthrenus scrophulariae)

Some people assume that the beetle could be bread beetles. Although these belong to the family of nail beetle (Ptinidae) like the brass beetle, but these usually only infest food and only very rarely get lost in the bathroom, where they shouldn't be able to find anything to eat. Individual animals require different approaches to effectively drive them away, especially in the case of an acute infestation. Since all of the above-mentioned animals can easily appear in the event of an infestation, it is important to compare them with each other.

Carpet beetle, Anthrenus scrophulariae, larva

Tip: In case you are not sure which insect it is, you should enter the above names into a search engine and look for pictures. Compare them and you will find out in no time what type it is and can then prepare appropriate countermeasures.

General countermeasures

Preparing the bath appropriately can help curb the infestation. Often a clean bath is less affected, and some of the bugs even flee because they can't find food.

Typical actions include the following:

  • clean bathrooms completely
  • don't forget any spot, for example under and behind the washing machine, on cupboards or behind the boiler
  • this allows you to check the room for possible mold and damp spots on walls and ceilings
  • disinfect the room, especially tile floors and walls, bathtubs, showers and even air intakes
  • ventilate sufficiently if you have a window in the bathroom
  • if you don't have windows, leave the door open late or use a dehumidifier
  • check the room for possible damage that bugs can get in through
  • seal these with silicone or putty, as there are often cracks that are used for access
Dust louse, Psocoptera, larva


Classic traps are of little help in this case, since these are usually designed for infestation by silverfish or ants and therefore have no effect on the other animals. Brown animals must therefore be treated differently, but the previous cleaning and disinfection of the premises offers you a good basis for being able to continue to act. You can also check exactly where the bugs come from, which is particularly important.

dust lice

What to do against dust lice?

The booklice is an order of insects, of which around 100 of the more than 5,600 species occur in Germany.

The characteristics:

  • light brown
  • Size: 0.7 - 10 mm, depending on the species
  • Common names: book louse, paper louse
  • can jump
  • can trigger allergies, similar to house dust mites
Dust louse, Psocoptera

These beetles need a certain level of humidity and quite high temperatures. For this reason, an infestation of these little animals always indicates that the humidity in the bathroom is too high. Accordingly, you should ventilate sufficiently and use a dehumidifier as described above if you do not have a window. Just an open door after bathing or showering is sometimes enough. A possible mold infestation can be related to the animals, since they feed on fungi.

The following measures help against the beetles:

  • Bug sprays work extremely well because the lice aren't actually bugs
  • Due to their sensitive physique, they absorb the toxins of the spray extremely well
  • Openings, gaps and cracks should be treated with the spray
  • Dust lice traps can be used very successfully here
  • mostly these are traps for silverfish
  • put a heater in the bathroom to dry the air and increase the heat
  • Booklice don't like the heat at all
  • dry your laundry well, as damp textiles are also tempting for the little animals
  • the beetles can even be picked up with a cloth

Commissioning an exterminator is only necessary in the case of a very large infestation, which is usually associated with mold or damp walls. Otherwise, with patience, you can fight the booklice yourself and even successfully.

brass beetle

What to do against brass beetles?

Brass beetles are an unwelcome evil, as they like to settle in large groups and are a bane in old buildings. Half-timbered houses are particularly affected by them, as they only have hollow roofs and false ceilings. The brass beetles can nest in these and, depending on the access, populate the bathroom or wander into it from time to time.

The identifying features:

  • Colour: reddish-brown, entire body covered with brassy hairs
  • Size: maximum 5mm
  • Physique resembles that of a spider, clearly divided segments
  • has wings
  • are not disease vectors
  • do not trigger allergic reactions
  • stay away from people
Brass beetle, Niptus hololeucus

Brass beetles are considered building pests because they eat a wide range of materials in the house, including insulation and textiles. Dirty and damp laundry in particular exerts a great attraction on them. Wet rooms are often used as living space because they prefer moisture. There isn't much you can do about brass beetles per se and you need to contact a professional. However, you can dehumidify and clean the bathroom as described above. You should also wash infested laundry at 60°C and hang it up outside or machine dry it. Do not wait to fight, it could be expensive.

carpet beetle

What to do against carpet beetles?

The carpet beetle is also a small, brown nuisance, mainly focused on textiles, as the name suggests.

The characteristics:

  • Color: black, gray, brown, patterned
  • Size: 3 - 4.5mm
  • Body shape: oval, reminiscent of a pinhead
  • Arrow hairs of the larvae can lead to symptoms of poisoning in allergy sufferers
  • Larvae: brown-reddish, elongated shape, afraid of light
Carpet beetle, Anthrenus scrophulariae

Carpet beetles cause a lot of material damage and feed mainly on substances containing chitin and keratin, including hair, skin and numerous other materials such as natural fibers and even paper. They are found in the bathroom mainly in dirty laundry and less often in damp places. The beetle even nests in garbage cans or the sink in the bathroom as soon as hair, fingernails and toenails, as well as skin flakes are found here.

Proceed as follows:

  • look for the source of the carpet beetles
  • Vacuum infested textiles, brush off and clean at 60°
  • vacuum all cracks, corners, crevices, just about anything where brown bugs could possibly be
  • then apply diatomaceous earth to these places; this works effectively against the animals
  • then seal these areas, including loose wallpaper ends
  • Fly screens are generally a recommendation worth mentioning so that the animals cannot get into the living areas
  • You should remove old bird nests near the house, as this is where the beetles like to nest
  • set a carpet beetle trap in the bathroom near the spring
  • this works on the basis of pheromones and works effectively against the animals
  • this reduces the infestation, but does not stop it completely

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