Bugs like a nice home for the same basic reasons you do. They want food, water, and shelter. If they can find these in your house, they'll move in. Bugs commonly found inside homes include ants, cockroaches, earwigs, firebrats, flies, house centipedes, silverfish, and spiders. Pet owners sometimes have to deal with fleas and ticks in the house. Each of these pests can show up at different times of the year, and some are more problematic in certain parts of the countries than others.
Don't Let Bugs Feel at Home
Tiny gaps around the front door and tears in the window screens—these are giant “welcome!” signs inviting bugs into your home. While it seems nearly impossible to keep bugs out all the time, here are some easy ways to help make them scarce.
Seal Up Cracks & Openings
Take a close look at your screens, windows, and doors. If you see any cracks or holes, caulk them or repair them. Add new weather stripping around your door to not only keep out cold drafts but also pesky bugs. Little cracks and openings are like wide-open doors for bugs.
Clean Up the Kitchen
Not only do you peruse the kitchen counter and pantry for a late-night snack, so do bugs, and different bugs like different foods, including flour, cereals, baking mixes, crackers, dried pasta, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn, and even spices. Ants go after the sweet stuff. Indian meal moths (a.k.a. “grain moths”) love rice, flour, cereal, and nuts. Flour beetles prefer a broad range of food including flour, cake mixes, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, and spices. Make sure your food is stored in tightly sealed containers and purchase small packages that can be used up in a shorter period of time. Keep your floors and counters clean and clear of food crumbs. To keep bugs out of your flour, you can store it in the freezer. And don’t forget about your pet’s food; bugs, like the Indian meal moth, will eat that as well.
Dry Up Damp Areas
Bugs are not only seeking food, they are also searching for water. And some home invading pests, such as silverfish, springtails and house centipedes, prefer to hang out in damp places. Fix any leaky faucets, drains, or pipes. Make sure your air conditioner, washing machine, and dryer are all working properly. In areas of your house that are always damp, like the basement, run a dehumidifier. And don’t forget to check the attic to make sure it’s dry.
Clean & Sweep Regularly
Good housekeeping helps keep bugs away, especially in the kitchen where food crumbs can accumulate. Empty trash cans regularly, and vacuum weekly. Don't forget to clean your kitchen-sink and bathtub drains; drain flies will live in there and fly out to look for food. Use a drain cleaner on a regular basis to keep these pests from becoming a problem. Avoid stacks of magazines, newspapers, and boxes—cockroaches love to hang out in them.
Keep the Outside Free of Debris
Firewood stacks, compost bins, and yard waste are good hiding places for bugs that might move indoors. Make sure these places are away from the house. Before you bring in firewood, check it for bugs hitching a free ride. Remove areas of standing water in your yard which can be breeding areas for mosquitoes. Keep landscape beds free of weeds and plant debris which can harbor insect pests, and keep plant branches pruned away from the foundation of your house.
Kill the Bugs You See
To stop small bug problems from becoming big bug problems indoors, control the problem as soon as possible. The Ortho® Home Defense® family of products has a complete line of insect control products to meet all of your indoor bug control needs, including baits, aerosols, and ready-to-use products featuring the Comfort Wand®. (Always apply products following the label directions.) Ortho® Home Defense® also has a line of essential oil products that are safe to use around kids and pets when used as directed.
Create a Barrier to Keep Bugs Out
Use Ortho® Home Defense Max® Indoor Insect Barrier with Extended Reach Comfort Wand® to create a bug barrier inside your home around windows, doors, and along baseboards. Indoors, on non-porous surfaces it will kill and prevent ants, roaches and spiders for up to 12 months. Then, stop bugs outside before they can come in. Use Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes to kill and prevent listed insects in your landscape beds and around the perimeter of your home. To kill bugs hiding in your lawn use Ortho® BugClear™ Lawn Insect Killer. Always follow the label directions.
Common House Bugs to Watch Out For
Ants are expert scavengers and survivors. They’re notorious for finding even little bits of food that haven’t been stored properly. This makes them one of the most annoying house bugs of all time.
Arguably the most despised and dreaded house pest ever is the cockroach. The name alone conjures images of uncleanliness. However, even a clean home could find itself with cockroaches moving in.
With a look worse than their bite, earwigs are much less scary than they appear. If you find them in your home, then they most likely entered by mistake since their preferred food sources are plants and other insects.
If there’s one way to ruin a lovely time indoors, it’s when flies show up. They’re annoying, disruptive, and can carry disease.
If there’s one house bug that fuels nightmares, then it would be the centipede. Their creepy legs and long antennae make them one of the most frightening looking bugs on the list.
If you find a thin, silvery insect at night with 3 long antennae-like tails, then you probably have silverfish in your home. These skinny little bugs like damp areas and eat the starch in paper and book bindings.
While most house bugs move in to snack on whatever food they can find in your pantry, stink bugs prefer to eat your plants.
Spiders are great companions in the garden because they eat insects that can harm plants. Despite their helpfulness outside, they’re not welcome indoors.