The 10 Most Disgusting House Bugs—and the Best Ways to Get Rid of Them
You may be surprised by which of these house bugs are actually helpful and which are downright dangerous. Either way, we’ll show you how to kick them out.
There’s nothing more terrifying than watching a house centipede shoot across your floor and under your couch. It’s safe to say that most people are positively scared of those creepy crawling houseguests. House centipedes typically have 15 legs and can travel 1.3 feet-per-second, which explains why catching one of these bugs is nearly impossible. The typical response to a house centipede probably involves a shoe, but like almost every other bug out there, this particular bug does have a purpose. And yes, that purpose is actually good.
If you want to get rid of house centipedes, get rid of the food they source on. You can do this by making sure there isn’t extra moisture in your walls by using a dehumidifier or installing a fan in the bathroom. Seal off any cracks entering the house so pests don’t have places to lay eggs, and make sure to clear your house of any debris that is causing unnecessary moisture to leak into your walls.
The most effective way to kill fleas directly with a home-safe flea spray. When fleas invade, they tend to spread all around the house, but also congregate in certain areas. Use the spray in places where you see fleas. This can be the back of your sofa, the edge of your carpet, pet bedding and so on. By spraying around your house, you can remove many active fleas immediately, so this is an effective first step. However, there are usually dormant fleas and eggs you also need to remove.
The next step in getting rid of fleas is cleaning. As a general rule, clean everything that has fabric. Thoroughly vacuum your furniture, carpet, drapes, pillows—anything made of fabric. Carpet is especially important, leave no inch un-vacuumed. Take all of your bed linens and wash them, along with any other laundry and towels. If the infestation is bad, throw away pet bedding. If it’s a small outbreak of fleas, clean the pet bedding thoroughly. If you notice more fleas, spray the area with the flea spray.
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Spiders don’t infest a house en masse unless their eggs just hatched. That means that killing every spider you see is actually an effective way to keep spiders under control, especially when combined with our other steps. Also, jumping spiders and similar species are experts at slipping under baseboards or into corners, so kill them fast on sight before they can get away.
While you are nabbing every spider you find, it’s also time to clean up the house. First, take a broom or cobweb cleaner and clean out all corners, ceiling spaces, fans and other areas where webs build up. Even if the spider is dead, those webs could still be harboring eggs or hiding rival spiders waiting to take over. With that done, do a thorough vacuuming of all your carpets and baseboards. Make sure you get in the corners, too. This helps get rid of spiders, spider eggs, and spider food (other bugs) that may be hiding in the cracks around your floors.
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For flies stuck inside the house, your best option is to lure them into inescapable fly traps. A DIY fly trap is very easy to make. Start with an empty two-litre soda bottle and cut the top third cleanly off with scissors. Then turn the top third upside down and put it over the open bottle, like a funnel and secure it with tape or staples. Next, fill the bottom of the bottle with about half an inch of a melted sugar water mixture or another type of sweet sticky liquid and add in a few teaspoons of vinegar, preferably white vinegar. This will help keep bees and other unwanted insects away from the trap. When filling the bottle try and drip the sticky liquid down the edges of the funnel so that when the flies come towards the funnel, they will stick right from the start. This makes it easy for flies to crawl inside, but very difficult for them to ever leave.
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You must find the termite nest. Professional pest services prove very helpful here, because they have imaging technology and other tools to help locate where the most termites live. Once the nest is located, plant bait traps designed to poison the termite queen and the workers. You must place these traps where the termites are congregated for the best effect.
It’s also important to seal any easy access into your home. Check your basement/crawlspace and attic insulation. Look for gaps, cracks and other signs that termites may be able to find their way inside. Make a close inspection of your outer foundation and look for any cracks or possible points of entry. Seal all gaps around cables, wires, and pipes entering your home.
When dealing with how to get rid of termites, remember that defense is as important as offense. There is a second class of termite poison that you spray into a channel that you dig around your house. This creates a long-term barrier that repels or kills any termites that try to get close to it.
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Gnats can prove particularly annoying once they get inside your house—especially since it can be difficult to notice them until an infestation is underway. Gnats have short lifespans, so if you don’t give them a place to reproduce, eventually they won’t be a problem anymore. While gnats don’t necessarily eat rotting fruit or vegetables, they may still linger around trash. To discourage them, keep your trash cans tightly closed, and bag all trash thoroughly so no gnats or fruit flies will find a way to them. Here’s how to get rid of gnats both indoors and out.
Bed bugs don’t like being jostled, so they avoid hanging out in your hair or clothes, but they do like to stay close to their food source, namely you. The mattress is the first place you should inspect. Bed bugs love to hang out in cracks and crevices. They can fit into any gap the thickness of a business card. One of their favourite spots is the piping along the edge of a mattress. Look for the bugs themselves, their dark droppings, your dried blood, eggs and gold-coloured shells that have been left behind after molting.
Perform a quick inspection of the upper piping every time you change your sheets. Make a more thorough examination by folding the piping over and closely inspecting both sides all the way around, top and bottom. Do this a couple times a year or every time you flip or rotate your mattress. If you spot any signs, keep reading to learn how to get rid of bed bugs.
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Cockroaches are notorious for being hard to track down and remove permanently. However, they have a weakness—they only linger in areas rich in resources. Here’s how to get rid of cockroaches and shut down their food supplies so they stay gone for good. For prevention, don’t give cockroaches any hiding places to run to when discovered. Most important, remove any debris or unnecessary supplies from your house. That includes stacks of cardboard, magazines, and newspapers, which cockroaches love. Try to keep everything off the floor unless it is absolutely necessary to store it there.
When you see an ant, your first impulse is probably to step on it. But don’t. You’ll kill it, but for every ant you see, there may be hundreds more hiding in the house. The ones you see are scout ants, foraging for food to take back to the colony. Use these scouts to wipe out the entire colony. Learn more about how to eliminate an ant problem in your house.
Tick experts are saying a tick explosion is set to happen this summer. These pests are dangerous to humans and pets, as they can carry diseases. Deer ticks are found in wooded areas, particularly where humidity levels are high. They enjoy cooler places compared to sunny, manicured lawns, hence why you don’t find ticks crawling around in the middle of your yard. The best way to avoid ticks around your lawn during the summertime is adding an edge around the yard. This edging could be made up of gravel pathways, mulches, decking, stone, tile or other hardscapes.
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Originally published as The 10 Most Disgusting House Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them on ReadersDigest.com.