Most people share their homes with unwelcome guests: insects. Whether they hop, crawl, run or fly into your home, insects are eager to settle in if they can find food, water and shelter. Discover some of the top places insects hide and how you can make your home a little less insect-friendly.
A basement provides two things insects crave: darkness and dampness. If your basement is moist, run a dehumifidier to help dry the air. Check all plumbing for leaks, and seal any entry points insects might use. Grab a shop vac every few weeks and remove visible insects and spiders. Use a flashlight to inspect dark corners and beneath appliances, including a tank hot water heater.
Insects that hide in basements include: millipedes, centipedes, pillbugs, silverfish, spiders, crickets, ants
Despite temperature extremes, attics offer insects shelter from the elements. If your attic contains a stash of boxes and other unused items, the area becomes even more welcoming. To keep insects out, screen vents. Clear clutter; if you don’t use it, donate, recycle or toss it. If wall voids open into the attic, seal them to reduce insect migration within walls.
Insects that hide in attics include: Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, brown marmorated stink bugs, silverfish, spiders
The space behind wall baseboards or trim usually operates like an insect hotel, hosting all kinds of critters that crave tight spaces. Insects that don’t live behind trim frequently use it as a highway to get from place to place. Many times baseboards float just above the floor or carpet, giving insects easy access to these tight quarters. Use a crevice tool to vacuum along trim, a job you should tackle weekly. Keep trim dusted; a vacuum brush attachment makes that task easy. Look for insecticides specifically labeled for use along and behind trim.
Insects that hide behind baseboards include: boxelder bugs, carpet beetles, clothes moths, book lice, cockroaches, ants, crickets
Insects like the microclimate and rough wood surfaces found in spaces behind walls. These voids provide insects hidden access to multiple rooms or living spaces. To treat interior wall voids, direct insecticide into the space by drilling a hole through drywall. This job is most often done by professionals who have access to insecticides developed for use in wall voids.
Insects that hide in wall voids include: Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, bed bugs, brown marmorated stink bugs, silverfish, cockroaches, spiders, centipedes
The moist, humid environment of a bathroom extends a cozy welcome to insects. Keep your bathroom clean and vacuum up dust and loose hair regularly. Replace the cap on the toothpaste (some ants love this); rinse cups and turn upside down to drain. Check all plumbing for leaks, and wipe down shower stalls, tub floors and sinks before bedtime to reduce available water for thirsty insects.
Insects that hide in bathrooms include: crickets, silverfish, cockroaches, ants
Boxes, stacks of newspapers and even dirty laundry on the floor offer shelter for insects. When new insects find their way into your home, if there’s ample clutter on the floor, they’ll find it easier to move in undetected. Keeping your home neat and clutter-free is a simple prevention against invading insects.
Insects that hide in clutter include: spiders, silverfish, book lice, cockroaches
A trash can is a buffet for foraging insects. Use a trash can with a sealed lid to keep insects out of garbage. Rinse out food containers and wrappers to eliminate potential food sources. Carry household garbage out regularly, storing it in your outside trash bin until pickup day. Regularly rinse household trash cans with a weak bleach solution to eliminate possible insect eggs and crumbs.
Insects that hide in trash cans include: ants, cockroaches, spiders, flies
Rinse all items that head for the recycling bin to remove food or sugary residue. Sloshing a little soapy water or vinegar in recyclables makes them less appealing to hungry or thirsty insects. If you’re storing recyclables inside, take time to clean items well to avoid drawing insects.
Insects that hide in recycling include: ants, roaches, centipedes, spiders, flies
Insects that feed on fabrics find the warm, dark, seldom-disturbed environs of a clothes closet a wonderful haven. Clean closets regularly, and retain only clothing that you wear. Always launder or dry clean new or used clothes before adding them to your closet. Learn other tips on dealing with insects that attack clothes.
Insects that hide in clothes closets include: moths, ants, cockroaches, spiders, silverfish
Open bowls of pet food and water extend a warm invitation to all kinds of insects, especially when they sit open all night long. Store dishes overnight in sealed containers; keep pet food supplies sealed at all times.
Insects that hide in pet food include: ants, cockroaches, flies