Look Out for These Basement Bugs

A basement window with cobwebs.
A basement window with cobwebs.

What do you do if you see basement bugs? Instinct might say “sell the house!” but good news: you have less drastic solutions available.

Let’s look at what kinds of bugs you might find downstairs and how to prevent and eliminate these pest problems.

Like pill bugs, some might be annoying, while others, like termites, could damage your home.

If you are unsure if you have bugs in your basement, call the experts. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

What Basement Bugs Might Homeowners See? 

A centipede is a common basement bug. See one crawling across a baseboard.

You might not see any if you don’t look quickly when you click on the lights! Basement bugs scooch out of sight because most prefer places that are dark and damp.

Here are the usual suspects:

  • Earwigs and spiders
  • Termites and carpenter ants
  • Pillbugs and sowbugs
  • Centipedes and millipedes
  • Camel crickets and cockroaches

Let’s look at who’s on the lineup for pest control services.

Earwigs and Spiders

A small spider on a shelf in a basement bathroom.

Earwigs are also called pincer bugs because of the pincers they use to fight other earwigs. They may appear scary but are rarely harmful to humans.

They like being outside where they can feast on decaying plant matter. They may have accidentally hitchhiked to your basement in boxes or come in an unsealed crack.

With their trademark eight legs (instead of the buggy six), spiders are not insects. Their presence may still bug you, though! Like earwigs, they look frightening to many people and are undesirable visitors.

Termites and Carpenter Ants

In Minnesota, we’re more likely to deal with dry wood than subterranean termites, but both do show up here.

Termites are not directly dangerous to you and your family, but they can cause significant harm to your home. 

Carpenter ants might bite you, but again, the biggest trouble with them is they’re likely to damage structures. Professional pest control will evict these unwelcome wood destroyers.

Pill Bugs and Sowbugs

A Sowbug on a white background. These are common basement bugs.

You may have fun childhood memories of pillbugs as the roly-poly bugs that ball up when touched. Sowbugs look similar but don’t roll into balls.

These bugs are not scientifically insects. Instead, they are crustaceans related to their water cousins like crawdads and lobsters.

As land-dwelling crustaceans, pillbugs and sowbugs need reliable moisture sources to survive.

Centipedes and Millipedes

A centipede crawling along a basement floor.

Centipedes have 30 legs, not a hundred as their name might suggest. Likewise, millipedes don’t have a thousand legs but do have up to 90.

Both come inside buildings seeking warmth.

Millipedes won’t usually live long indoors. They may produce a foul-smelling liquid in self-defense. Avoid touching them as this can be irritating to bare skin.

Centipedes are an ally in that they eat other pests like spiders and flies. Even so, they can bite, so avoid contact with them.

If you see centipedes, let it be a red flag that other basement bugs likely need removal.

Camel Crickets and Cockroaches

A closeup of a large camel cricket on basement carpet

Camel crickets have a humpback shape for which they’re named. You won’t hear camel crickets as they don’t make chirps. They do jump, so watch out!

Cockroaches are winged red-brown oval-shaped bugs about an inch or longer. They don’t bite often but can transmit diseases.

You may see their feces or eggs before you see them. They’re also foul-smelling, so their odor may give them away too.

What Keeps the Bugs Out? 

A man sealing a window with caulk to prevent basement bugs.

Take these steps to reduce the number of basement bugs that make their way inside.

Block Their Entry Point

Basement bugs use nearby brush and debris as bridges from their natural outdoor environment into your home. Keeping the foundation cleared helps deter them.

Clean the perimeter as the first line of defense.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Get out your caulk gun and go hunting to seal any cracks you find. All of these basement bugs will take advantage of tiny openings.

Remove Their Food Source

Removing leaves and decaying garden matter from nearby your home will shut down the outdoor bug buffet. 

Inside your basement, keep your food stored on shelves in sealed containers. This will prevent your food from becoming theirs!

Eliminate Moisture

Water is the enemy of housing structures. Ensuring a dry building helps your home itself and keeps it unwelcoming to basement bugs.

Many bugs like centipedes need dark and damp habitats to survive. Making your basement light, bright, and dry will be comfortable for you and hostile to pests.

Audit the pipes and plumbing in your downstairs rooms and crawl spaces to confirm there are no leaks. Fix any drips or condensation problems.

How Do You Get Free of Basement Bugs? 

A dead cockroach on its back on a white background.

After you’ve taken measures to secure your home, you may still discover basement bugs.

Catch and Release

If you feel inclined, you can escort the trespasser off-premises. Cover it with a clear glass container and slide a piece of firm paper or cardstock underneath.

Take care if you try this approach, as some basement bugs do bite or pinch! Cautiously carry the covered critter outside and release it far away from your home.

License to Kill

Of course, this is your home, and you can kill basement bugs at will! There are some simple weapons to use against them.

Boric acid powder works to kill the invaders.

You can keep a spray bottle of water and rubbing alcohol and fire a shot of this at bugs you find. Label the sprayer to prevent misuse, and store it away from children.

Vacuum up basement bugs for handy removal. Empty the bag or canister to be sure they and any viable eggs leave from your home.

Call Professional Pest Control

A woman calling fro pest control on her large, rose gold iPhone.

If you see something scurry, there’s no need to worry! We have decades of experience identifying and removing pests and infestations.

We use Integrated Pest Management, so if we can choose non-chemical control, we do. We come to your home to clear it of pests and keep it safe for you and your family.

Call the bug busters at Environmental Pest Management for a free consultation or more information today. We’re ready to relieve you! Say goodbye to “ughs” over basement bugs!

Cockroaches, the Seemingly Invincible Pest

AdobeStock 197886748
AdobeStock 197886748

When it comes to the creepy-crawlies, none is quite so creepy or crawly as the cockroach. The mere mention of the word roach causes even the stoutest among us to get the chills. Anyone who has ever dealt with a cockroach infestation only has one question on the mind-

How do I get rid of these roaches?

Environmental Pest Management is here for all your pest questions and removal needs. Contact us for help with your cockroach problem. Get your free estimate today. 

Before you can know if you have a cockroach infestation, you need to know precisely what a cockroach is so you can accurately identify the pest. 

A cockroach stuck to sticky paper. Home of the harmful insect. Close up.

What is a Cockroach?

The most common form of cockroach in the US is the American cockroach. The American cockroach, also known as the water bug, is the largest of all the house-infesting roaches. Considering it is named the American cockroach, you might be surprised to learn that it is not native to North America.

They are believed to have originated in Africa. There is some evidence to suggest that they were first introduced in the early 1600s on trade ships. Most likely due to their adaptability, you can find the American cockroach all over the world. 

You will know an American cockroach by its reddish-brown color, oval shape, and length of about 1 ½ inches. They have six legs and antennae. Look out, both the male and female cockroach has wings and can fly. 

As if you needed one more reason to be wary of the American cockroach, they can bite humans. Fortunately, they rarely do, but a bite can become infected. If you are bitten, seek the proper medical attention. 

The American cockroach can be the bearer of around 33 different kinds of bacteria. Some of these include-

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Parasitic worms
  • Dangerous human pathogens

Because cockroaches are attracted to decaying matter, they frequently carry viruses or bacteria that are found in sewage and other filth. 

Close up Cockroach on white a bowl

What are the Habits of the Cockroach?

Cockroaches can be found both in and outdoors, though they generally prefer the latter. Typically, they can be found in drains or sewers or anywhere that water is readily available. 

In warmer climates, where water is more scarce, you can commonly find cockroaches in shady, humid areas- think flower beds or mulch piles. 

Cockroaches will eat almost any organic matter that they can easily find. They are omnivorous scavengers and are highly adaptable. 

They prefer meats, starches, and sweets. In a pinch, though, they will feed on such items as hair, books, or decaying matter. 

When they face a food shortage or a significant change in their environment or climate, they often move indoors. Their ideal temperature range is between seventy and eighty degrees Fahrenheit. 

The most common form of entry is as passengers on human clothes or belongings, access through pipes from the sewer, or even mass migration from dumpsters or trash cans. 

Once they enter a residence or commercial building, they often make their way to the places with the most abundant food supplies. In your home, that means your kitchen, bathroom, basement, or laundry room. 

In commercial buildings, a cockroach infestation can be anywhere. Cockroaches are most common in factories and restaurants where the high concentration of food can be hard for the swarms to resist. 

As we mentioned, cockroaches will eat almost any organic matter, but they tend to prefer fermenting or decaying material. A home with an abundance of litter or crumbs is an attractive space for the American cockroach. 

Close up of cockroach on a slice of bread

How Do I Know if I Have a Cockroach Infestation?

It is often hard to tell if your home is infested with this elusive pest. Cockroaches are nocturnal, and therefore most active at night. The hours between dusk and dawn is when they tend to travel to feed. 

Because of this proclivity to the dark, they prefer to live and hide in dark places. If the area is also moist and musty, all the better. 

When searching your home for a cockroach infestation, there are four main signs-

1. Cockroach Droppings

One of the earliest signs of a cockroach infestation is the feces they leave behind. These droppings resemble black pepper or coffee grounds. These remains can be even larger and more cylindrical, depending on the size of your roaches.

They can become so large that people often mistake them for mice droppings. The more feces you find, the more roaches you have, and the longer the infestation has lasted. 

2. Cockroach Eggs

Another sure sign that you may be facing a cockroach infestation is the presence of cockroach eggs. The egg of the American cockroach is oval-shaped. You will typically find them out of sight in areas of lower traffic. 

3. Unpleasant Odors

Many species of cockroaches emit an unpleasant odor. These pheromones are often described as oily or musty. This odor springs from pheromones intentionally released by live cockroaches or the bodies of the dead and decaying specimen. 

4. Cockroach Sightings

The last and most obvious clue that you have a cockroach problem is a sighting of the pests themselves. Rest assured, if you see one bug, you are playing host to many more unseen pests. 

Close up a cockroach on white cupboard in the kitchen

How Do I Prevent a Cockroach Infestation?

Unfortunately for those who suffer from an infestation, cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the entire world. They are uniquely adept at surviving and are even able to live without their head for a week. 

In light of that terrifying information, it is easier to keep them out than to get to remove them. The most effective preventative measures are cleanliness and barrier exclusion. 

Clean Your Area

The best way to keep cockroaches out of your home is by maintaining an unwelcoming environment. To a cockroach, a clean home free of debris is incredibly unwelcoming. 

Keep your counters, cabinets, sinks, tables, and floors free of crumbs and clutter. Clean and put away your dishes promptly and store your food in airtight containers. 

Barrier Exclusion

Cover or fill any small cracks and gaps in walls, electric sockets, drains, or switch plates. Whenever you find an opening, seal it with silicone-based caulk. 

If you find that preventative measures have come too late and you are facing a full-blown infestation, contact Environmental Pest Management today.