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December 31, 2023

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    Do you have an issue with common household pests that you need to eliminate? In this guide, I present the top eight common household bugs known for invading our living spaces and the most effective strategies to eliminate them. Awareness of the most common bugs is crucial in maintaining a bug-free home.

    In my nearly two decades of experience as a pest control expert, I’ve learned that controlling common household bugs is often tougher than you think. If you’re here, you’re probably struggling to find an efficient solution to your pest issues too. Sometimes, the best pest control solution is hiring a professional exterminator.

    What Are the Most Common Household Bugs in the United States?

    The most common household bugs in the United States include ants, cockroaches, termites, flies, spiders, mosquitoes, and wasps/bees. I’ll discuss their characteristics, potential damage, and effective methods for elimination and prevention.

    1. Ants

    Image Credit: Canva

    Ants are social insects that cause damage by contaminating food and leaving behind pheromone trails that lead other ants to the same location. Some of the most common household ants include the odorous house ant, the pavement ant, and the Argentine ant.

    To combat ant infestations, locating and sealing their entry points to your home is essential. Natural remedies such as peppermint oil or cinnamon can act as deterrents, and baiting methods using ant baits or homemade solutions can effectively eliminate ants from places like bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

    What They Look Like

    Ants have slender bodies and distinctly segmented antennae. They come in various colors, including black, brown, red, or yellow, and can range from small to medium-sized.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Ants love kitchens and pantry areas, gravitating to food sources and moisture. Ants, like termites, often set up shop in the same places — such as cracks and crevices in walls, floors, or foundations, as well as in outdoor areas near gardens or tree stumps.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    One of the easiest, most affordable, and highly effective methods for dealing with ants I’ve encountered in my years combating common household bugs is creating a barrier by applying a thin line of petroleum jelly or dish soap along entry points. This DIY control method blocks their access to high-traffic areas and discourages infestation build-ups.

    2. Cockroaches

    Image Credit: Canva

    Cockroaches are ugly little pests that cause significant damage by contaminating food, spreading bacteria, and triggering allergies in some individuals. Unfortunately, they are one of the most common bugs in houses. 

    That’s why it’s important to eliminate food and water sources, seal cracks and crevices, and use cockroach baits or gel-based insecticides to combat cockroach infestations as soon as you even think you may have an infestation.

    What They Look Like

    Cockroaches have flat, oval-shaped bodies and long antennae. They come in various sizes, with some species measuring a few centimeters long.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Cockroaches prefer areas of the house that provide them with access to food, water, and shelter. They often hide in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, and cracks between your baseboards and floors or walls.

    3. Termites

    Image Credit: Canva

    Termites are tiny pests with destructive feeding habits, particularly on wood and other cellulose materials — and they are one of the most costly of the common bugs in your house if left untreated. If not treated in time, termites often cause significant damage to the structure of homes

    To address termite infestations, professional treatment is often necessary. Techniques such as liquid termiticides, bait systems, or fumigation may eliminate termite colonies and prevent further damage to the property.

    What They Look Like

    Termites are small insects with soft bodies and straight antennae. They typically have a pale or translucent appearance. Take it from me–these are some ugly little creepy crawlers you don’t want any part of.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Termites most often exist in areas with high moisture levels, such as damp soil, rotting wood, or areas with water leaks. Even more concerning, they can be present in the structural components of your home, including foundations, walls, and wooden furniture, and can do extreme structural damage. As an experienced pest control professional, the most common place I’ve found them is in the crevices of mattresses and couches.

    Read also: What are the bugs around windows?

    4. Flies

    Image Credit: Canva

    Flies are pests, born from larvae, that buzz loudly and fly erratically around our homes. They are not only a nuisance but pose health risks as they carry and spread diseases. To get rid of flies, it’s important to eliminate their breeding sites, keep food and garbage properly disposed of and tightly sealed, and use fly traps or insecticides designed explicitly for the species.

    What They Look Like

    Houseflies are small insects with two wings and a compact body. They have large compound eyes, which give them excellent vision and the ability to detect movement.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Common house flies are attracted to areas where organic waste or exposed food is plentiful, such as garbage cans, kitchens, and outdoor spaces. These flying critters easily enter homes through open windows or doors. Fruit flies, conversely, are attracted to the scent of rotten and fermented fruit. Thankfully, most flies don’t require a professional exterminator unless there is a serious underlying cause for their attraction to your home.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Most fly infestations I’ve dealt with were easily remedied by employing a few fly traps and sticky tapes and keeping an extra-clean home — especially the kitchen sink, trash cans, and litter boxes. Tidiness generally goes a long way in eliminating potential breeding sites. Cover trash cans, repair screens, and regularly empty and clean pet waste areas.

    5. Spiders

    Image Credit: Canva

    Spiders are small wingless creepy-crawlies that are more dangerous than destructive. These common household pests have four pairs of legs and come in various sizes, colors, and shapes. Some species are harmless, while others are venomous. 

    Spiders are among North America’s most misunderstood common house bugs. While they are beneficial in controlling other insects, their presence can be unsettling, and some species are dangerous. Reducing their food sources is vital to manage spider populations by controlling other insects in the house. If necessary, pest control methods, including spider traps or insecticides, are highly effective.

    What They Look Like

    Spiders have eight legs — sometimes short, other times with long legs. Likewise, they can be smooth or furry. They are known for a distinctive two-part body structure: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. They vary in size, shape, and color (though light brown and dark brown are commonplace colors for house spiders), with some species featuring unique body patterns.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Spiders are commonly found in areas of the home that provide plenty of shelter and food. They prefer undisturbed locations such as corners, crevices, and areas with low human activity, like basements, attics, garages, and outdoor structures.

    6. Mosquitoes

    Image Credit: Canva

    Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying common bugs in your house. They are genuine nuisances, buzzing around like gnats, but are even worse — these little bloodsuckers may transmit diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus. 

    To reduce mosquito populations, it’s important to eliminate standing water sources, such as emptying containers, cleaning gutters, and using mosquito repellents or screens on doors and windows.

    What They Look Like

    Mosquitoes are small flying insects with slender bodies, long skinny legs, and two wings. They have a proboscis that enables them to feed on the blood of humans and animals.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Mosquitoes are commonly found in areas with standing water, as they require it for breeding. They are often present near ponds, lakes, stagnant pools, and even small water-filled containers.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    I’ve found that the best way to prevent mosquitoes is to keep flower pots, birdbaths, gutters, and other containers around your yard and garden free of water. Consider using outdoor mosquito control methods like mosquito repellents, citronella candles, or sticky mosquito and fly traps.

    7. Wasps and Bees

    Wasps and Bees
    Image Credit: Canva

    Wasps and bees are dangerous flying insects from the Hymenoptera family that appear similar but have distinct differences. That said, they both deliver painful stings, especially to people who are allergic.

    DIY removal of infestations is dangerous, and it’s best to leave it to the professionals who can safely eliminate the nests and relocate bees if possible. However, taking preventive measures such as sealing cracks, securing garbage bins, and minimizing outdoor food sources helps reduce their numbers in and around your home.

    What They Look Like

    Wasps have slender bodies with narrow waists, smooth skin, and a more aggressive nature. Conversely, bees have a rounder and hairier body and play a crucial role in pollination.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Wasps and bees thrive in outdoor areas, such as gardens, parks, and flowering plants. They build nests in various locations, including trees, eaves, attics, and underground burrows. 

    8. Bed Bugs

    Bed Bugs
    Image Credit: Canva

    Bed bugs are among the worst common household bugs I’ve ever dealt with, both as a professional exterminator and homeowner. Taking prompt action and employing a comprehensive approach to deal with them is crucial. This includes thorough cleaning, regular inspection, targeted treatment, and seeking professional pest control services for severe infestations.

    What They Look Like

    Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects with flat, oval-shaped bodies about the size of an apple seed. They have six legs, two antennae, and a distinctly segmented body with a shiny, translucent exoskeleton.

    Where They Are Commonly Found

    Bed bugs are adept hitchhikers found in multiple areas throughout a home. They typically hideout in cracks and crevices near their food source, often in our sleeping areas. Common hiding spots include mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, box springs, and upholstered furniture, while they also infest other locations such as carpets, curtains, electrical outlets, luggage, and clothing.

    What Are Signs Your Home Has a Bug Problem?

    There are countless signs that your home has a bug problem; however, some are more prevalent than others:

    • Bite marks or skin irritation: If you or your family experience unexplained bites or skin irritation, it’s usually a sign of bed bugs, fleas, or other biting insects.
    • Droppings or excrement: Finding droppings or excrement in your home indicates pest infestation. Different pests leave different types of droppings, so identifying the type helps determine the type(s) of pest you’re dealing with.
    • Presence of live or dead insects: An increase in common bugs in your home, especially in low-traffic areas, indicates an infestation.
    • Unusual sounds or smells: Pests sometimes make unusual sounds, such as scratching, rustling, or squeaking. Additionally, certain pests, like cockroaches, often produce distinctive odors when an infestation occurs.
    • Visible damage: Look for signs of damage, such as chewed wires, gnawed furniture, or holes in fabric or wood. These are indications of pests like rodents or termites.
    • Visible nests or webs: Discovering nests, webs, or egg casings in and around your home strongly indicates a pest infestation. You see this with pests like wasps, spiders, or termites.

    If you observe any signs, contact a pest control company like Terminix or Orkin to properly assess, identify, and implement effective treatment to eliminate the infestation.

    How Should You Deal With Insects in a New Home?

    Dealing with insects in a new home requires a systematic approach. To eliminate existing pests and prevent future infestations, consider the following remedies:

    • Install screens and seal openings: Install screens on doors and windows to prevent insects from entering the home. Seal any openings or gaps in walls, windows, and doors with weatherstripping or caulk to deny pests access.
    • Implement preventive measures: Consider preventive treatments, such as applying insecticide barriers around the home’s perimeter or using traps in areas prone to pest activity. Before applying these barriers, take a look at some of the top insecticides for home use.
    • Remove food and water sources: Food and water attract common bugs into your house, so ensure proper food storage in sealed containers and promptly fix leaks and plumbing issues that provide water sources to pests.
    • Regular cleaning and maintenance: Regularly clean your home, paying attention to areas where pests are likely to hide, such as kitchen cabinets, basements, and crawl spaces. Regular maintenance is important for dealing with ladybugs and other pests. Seal any cracks or openings that could serve as entry points for pests.
    • Practice proper waste management: Dispose of garbage regularly in tightly sealed containers to prevent attracting pests. Keep outdoor trash bins away from the house and ensure they have tight-fitting lids.
    • Hire a professional pest control company: A reputable pest control company comprehensively assesses your home’s pest situation. They tailor treatment plans to address specific pest issues and help ensure the home remains pest-free.

    Remember, every home and pest situation is unique, so consulting with professional pest control companies that offer customized plans with ongoing visits and treatments to ensure your new home remains pest-free is best.

    Final Recommendations on Common Household Bugs

    Dealing with common bugs in your house is a nuisance and poses potential health risks. Understanding their characteristics, habits, and the damage they cause is crucial for exterminating them. 

    While DIY methods are available, seeking professional assistance from a reputable pest control service company is often the most efficient and cost-effective solution in the long run. These experts have the knowledge, experience, and tools to tackle infestations efficiently and safely.

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    FAQs About Common Household Bugs

    What house bugs are harmful?

    Some common bugs in your house, such as mosquitoes, roaches, and ticks, are as harmful as they are annoying, transmitting diseases to humans. Other harmful bugs include bed bugs and some spiders, which can cause skin irritations and sleep disturbances.

    What house bugs come out at night?

    Several house bugs, including cockroaches, spiders, and silverfish, are nocturnal and more active at night. They prefer to hide during the day and come out searching for food and mates or exploring their surroundings in the darkness of night.

    Can a house be completely bug-free?

    While it’s challenging (nearly impossible) to have a completely bug-free home, proper preventive measures, regular cleaning, and professional pest control treatments significantly reduce the presence of bugs. Effective pest control helps minimize infestations of common bugs in your house and creates a more comfortable living environment, but some occasional sightings or small insect populations are practically unavoidable.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

    Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

    Expert Writer & Reviewer

    Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas is a globetrotting content writer hailing from the USA. With a passion for pest control, he brings a unique perspective to his writing from his early years working for one of the largest pest control companies in America. Throughout his early 20s, Jordan gained valuable experience and knowledge in the field, tackling pest infestations head-on and ensuring the well-being of countless homes.

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    photo of Roxanne Downer

    Roxanne Downer


    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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