How Are All of the Bugs Getting Into My House?

How Are All of the Bugs Getting Into My House?

Let Bugs Live—Outside

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Bugs, like all creatures, have their rightful place on this earth. But nobody wants that place to be in their home. Like it or not, insects and all manner of creepy-crawlies make their way into our houses. But we don’t have to invite bugs in, or let them stay. Click through and learn how to send some of the most common household bugs packing. istockphoto.com

5: Cover Large Openings

A hole in your roof can mean all the bugs — and bigger intruders — can enter your home. Henry Arden/Getty Images

Some of the largest holes in your home’s exterior are more difficult to cover. After all, you can’t exactly fill your chimney or roof vents with caulk. To fill larger openings and keep bugs out, use very fine wire mesh, often called hardwire cloth. This material comes in rolls that can be stapled over holes to keep out pests. It not only keeps bugs out, but can prevent squirrel and raccoon infestations, which often bring fleas, ticks and other insects into the home [source: Potter].

Look for large holes on the roof, which are often found at the chimney and roof vents. A pre-fabricated chimney cap can be used in lieu of wire mesh, and may be more successful at keeping a variety of pests out of the chimney. Wire mesh should also be installed over holes in crawl spaces and basements, as well as over grills, vents and registers [source: Gouge et al.].

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Some vents have pre-installed dampers, which are designed to keep bugs out. Check to see if yours are operating properly, and repair or replace the dampers as necessary. You can also replace existing grills or vents with screened models that are designed to keep bugs out.

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Ants

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Ants are tiny but relentless home invaders. They enter your home in search of food, water, and shelter, which means your kitchen and bathroom are their prime targets. While baited traps are very effective at eliminating ants, they’re not completely safe to use in areas that small children or pets can access. If you’d rather not use traditional poisons, there are a number of natural remedies you can try. Once you’ve managed to banish these pests, discourage them from returning by vacuuming regularly, wiping down surfaces every day to remove the scent of their trails, and taking out the trash every day. istockphoto.com

Beetles

“Larger beetles, like large stag beetles, can do some damage with their massive mouthparts, usually when they feel threatened or if they’re trying to steady themselves,” James Daniel Ricci, an entomologist, and the co-founder and CTO of Ovipost, a company that produces automation equipment for rearing insects. “Usually this is pretty mild, barely more than a stubbed toe or a pinprick. Ice the area if it’s at all bruised and use a bandage if necessary.”

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Snug as a bug in a rug

Carpeted rooms host a wider array of insects, like this carpet beetle larva. (Photo: D.K. Kucharska/Shutterstock)

According to the new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, arthropods abound in even the cleanest homes. Tidiness does not play a significant role in a home's arthropod diversity, the study found (with the lone exception of cellar spiders, which thrive in cluttered areas of basements and crawlspaces). Neither does the presence of dogs, cats, houseplants, dust or pesticides.

There are plenty of good reasons to keep your home clean and uncluttered, but as the CAS explains in a press release, human behavior plays a "minimal role" in determining which insects and spiders share our homes.

The study did reveal some patterns, though. Arthropods seem to prefer a building's lower levels, with research showing greater diversity on ground floors and in basements, especially large rooms. A wider range was also found in carpeted rooms versus those with bare floors, and in "airier" rooms with more windows and doors. Common areas like living rooms host more biodiversity than bedrooms, bathrooms or kitchens, while basements tend to host unique communities of cave dwellers, like spiders, mites, millipedes, camel crickets and ground beetles.

8. Know when your enemy has you beaten

You did all you could, but not every pest problem can be solved with a dash of chili powder. For instance, getting lots of itchy bites in bed? Could be trouble. “Bed bugs would be the most difficult,” says Kevin Lemasters, President of EnviroPest.

“This pest is one that requires a pest professional to eliminate.” Termites also call for the services of a licensed exterminator, because of the potential for expensive damage. If you find piles of discarded wings or piles of “frass” (a.k.a., termite droppings), they could be signs of a problem best handled by a pro.

Experts from the National Pest Management Association stress, if you find an infestation of any kind, “It’s important to consult with a licensed professional pest management company to evaluate the extent of the problem.”

Their website, , has a locator to find licensed pest control companies in your zip code. It’s OK to admit defeat. You lost the battle, but hopefully you’ll win the war.

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Clean Up After Your Pets

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Some bugs like pet food, and others like pet waste. Clean your pets' food dishes regularly, and don't leave extra pet food accessible. Store dry food in airtight containers. Scoop and clean your cat's litter box daily. Wash your pet's bed or favorite blanket regularly.

Mosquitoes

Throughout the world, more people are killed by mosquito-borne illness than any other factor. In the United States, mosquitoes can spread different types of encephalitis and can transmit heartworms to domestic animals like dogs and cats.

Seal Cracks in Foundation, Walls, and Vents

zimmytws / Getty Images

Any crack in an exterior wall of your home is like a welcome sign to insects. Grab a tube of caulk and inspect your home from top to bottom. Seal any cracks you find. Insects can also get in through tiny gaps around your dryer vent, gas line, or even a cable wire. Seal these areas from the inside using a spray foam product or caulk, as appropriate.

What are the most common home pests?

The most common types of bugs that will make their way into your home in the winter are:

  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Millipedes
  • Centipedes 
  • Mice

You don’t have to spend the winter in a haven for insects and pests if you follow these simple tips. Got Bugs is your go-to source for professional pest control in the Atlanta area. We can help keep your home pest and insect-free during the cooler months.

What are they up to?

Honestly, not much. They are just biding their time until there is warm weather outside. This means they are not laying eggs, not making more stink bugs, not damaging our homes, and not biting.

At worst, they will release a bad smell when you crush them.

Bugs Have Needs Just Like Us

Even though we look nothing like bugs, insects and crawlers have needs exactly like we do as humans. Bugs also need water to survive, albeit a much smaller amount of it. Bugs need shelter and protection from the sun and the elements, which is why they so often try to make their homes in places that are secluded and at the very least somewhat sheltered.

Bugs also need a stable supply of food, and that’s why they tend to target the places that they do. For example, spiders tend to weave webs in places where they know other bugs will be present. For example, they love to cover gaps between different surfaces, where a passing fly or mosquito might unwittingly fly. When they do, they’ll get stuck in the spider’s web, where they become a free, easy meal for the spider.

Your home is designed to provide for your needs, and thus it very much does the same for bugs. This is what motivates bugs to find their way in, and thus increases your need to protect your home and keep them out.

How Do You Keep Bugs out of Your House?

Bugs and other household pests likely don’t visit you for no reason – they’re looking for something. Whether it’s food, shelter, or a place to nest, your home is a bug’s greatest asset. In order to keep bugs out, we recommend:

While some of these seem intuitive, most homeowners don’t perform correct bug prevention methods until an issue arises. Establishing best pest prevention practices for your home and regularly practicing them will keep you from needing to take further action.

1: Encourage Natural Predators

Bats eat a large variety of bugs and pests, so they can useful to have around. Rapeepong Puttakumwong/Getty Images

One of the simplest methods for bug-proofing your home is to rely on the insects’ natural predators for help. Small insects are the main source of food for a large number of birds and bats. Warblers and swallows, in particular, are potent mosquito killers. Bats eat a much larger variety of bugs and pests, including wasps, flies, spiders, mosquitoes and even scorpions [source: Carstens].

To encourage birds to help with your pest control efforts, it helps to provide trees and bushes where they can establish nests. Add a fresh water supply, and change it often so that it doesn’t grow stagnant. You may also wish to add a birdseed or nectar feeder to supplement their insect-based diet [source: Gouge et al.].

Many homeowners may be hesitant to encourage bats in their yard, despite their ability to help control insect populations. Fortunately, bats sleep during the day and only fly at night, which means you’re unlikely to even notice them. As you’re sleeping they’ll be hard at work getting rid of bugs before they can crawl their way into your home. Encourage bats by installing a bat house or roost in your yard.

Originally Published: Aug 10, 2009

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