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!

Are Spiders Insects?

a Wolf Spider
a Wolf Spider

Are spiders insects? No, they’re insect hunters! 

Insects like mosquitoes carry diseases, and spiders kill our insect enemies.

If the enemy of our enemy is our friend, then spiders are our friends! Even so, we understand that these particular “friends” can be pests.

Protect your home from unwanted pests; reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a quote today.

What’s the Difference Between Spiders and Insects?

Three Wolf Spiders isolated on a white background
spider isolated

As one scientist put it: “Arachnids are as distant from insects, as birds are from fish.” That certainly emphasizes how different they are!

Are Spiders Insects? The Eyes Have It.

Spiders see with eight simple eyes, while insects look through two compound eyes. Either way, you’ll probably have an easier time telling them apart by counting legs instead of tiny eyes.

These Legs Were Made for Walking

A dark fishing spider

Spiders walk with four pairs of legs, while insects have three. 

Insects have six legs. Count eight legs, and you see a spider.

If we scaled the fastest spider to our size, it could move between 50 to 140 miles per hour.

In reality, that spider at its actual size is moving at only about one mile per hour. Any speed can feel too quick for comfort when it comes to spiders!

Contact us at Environmental Pest Management if you’d like support enforcing boundaries that keep them outside. They have important work to do out there, eating insects and feeding birds!

Only Insects Have Wings

Goldenrod Crab Spider on a leaf. Native to Minnesota

Not all insects have wings at all times, but spiders never have wings at any time. 

Are spiders insects? Fortunately not—can you imagine a flying spider?

Spiders cannot fly, but some jump. Some even sail through the air on parachutes they build with their own silk!

Spiders Make Silk

A spiderweb with water on it

Are spiders insects because they make silk?

Not all spiders live in webs of their own making, but all spiders can make silk. Those who spin webs use them as traps to catch their prey, mostly insects.

Some insects can make silk, too, but they live only in tropical or subtropical climates. Here in Minnesota, only spiders are spinning webs.

The Body Of A Spider—Look At The Head And Thorax.

A close-up of a Nursery web spider

Spiders and insects also differ in their number of body parts. Spiders have only two body segments, while insects have three.

It takes a head, thorax, and abdomen to be an insect. Those first two segments are conjoined in spiders as one section called the cephalothorax (or prosoma).

On their abdomens, only spiders have silk spinnerets; insects don’t.

Are Those Chelicerae or Antennae?

A spider anatomy diagram

Another distinction between spiders and insects are their extra appendages.

In front of their first pair of legs, spiders have chelicerae with fangs. The fangs inject venom into prey like insects, or unfortunately, sometimes into people.

Almost all spiders make venom, but only about 1% of spiders species are considered dangerous for people.

Some insects also make venom, but it is through stings, not fangs, when they injure people.

Only insects have antennae on their heads, while spiders never do.

Features in Common

A spider next to an ant

Spiders and insects wouldn’t ever be confused for each other if they didn’t share some common features!

Both spiders and insects have segmented bodies and hard exoskeletons (instead of backbones like humans do). They sometimes shed or molt their exoskeletons to grow bigger.

Also, both have joints in their legs. Accordingly, the animal group they all belong to is called Arthropoda, which means “jointed foot.”

Spiders vs. Insects: an Epic Battle

A Black Widow Spider getting ready to eat it's prey

Scientists recognize groups of animals from Kingdoms down to Phylums down to Classes. The Phylum Arthropoda includes the Class Arachnida and Class Insecta.

Spiders belong to Class Arachnida and insects to Class Insecta. (Other creepy-crawlies like centipedes and millipedes belong to other classes.)

For a million years, Class Arachnida and Class Insecta have been in an epic battle. Humankind does best if neither wins because they’re keeping each other in balance.

Most of us also don’t want their war within the walls of our homes!

If you’re wondering how to keep the fight outside, call Environmental Pest Management. Our professionals want to protect your home from being their battlefield.

Class Arachnida

Common black and yellow fat corn or garden spider (Argiope aurantia) on his web waiting for his prey

Spiders belong to Class Arachnida. Other members of this class are scorpions, mites, and ticks, and they have the classic eight legs of Arachnida.

Scorpions don’t live in Minnesota, but we do have interesting little cousins here called pseudoscorpions.

Good news for us Minnesotans—pseudoscorpions don’t pose any threat to people. If you see a tiny creature that looks like a tick but has pincers, it is harmless.

Unfortunately, ticks can be dangerous because they often carry diseases that they can transmit to people.

Are ticks insects? Are spiders insects? No, they both have those classic eight legs.

Stop signs have eight sides, and arachnids have eight legs—like nature’s Stop! If we count to eight, it’s often safer to take heed.

Call us at Environmental Pest Management to address any concerns you have with spiders or other pests in your home.

Creating a Hostile Environment Against Spiders

A close p of a Daddy Long Leg Spider

Making the areas inside and outside your home unattractive to spiders can naturally encourage them to go elsewhere.

Spiders like dust and they hide in places like stacked boxes. Reducing these areas tells them that they aren’t welcome.

Outside, spiders see bushes, firewood, and other piles as luxury resort accommodations.

Keeping the perimeter directly around your home clear deters spiders from living nearby. Then they’re less likely to take that next eight-legged step into your home.

Check these natural remedies to help keep spiders at bay as well. Spiders detest some herbs and oils, like cinnamon and citrus. 

The same scents that can make your home festive during the holidays can also deter spiders.

Call the Professionals at Environmental Pest Management

Someone spraying a pest control treatment on flowers

Are spiders insects? No, but you probably still don’t want them in your home.

We practice integrated pest management. We know spiders play important roles in our world, and we recognize their value—outside!

We work to keep them outside in an environmentally mindful way. We choose non-chemical means whenever we can.

Call us at Environmental Pest Management for a free quote. We’ll solve your pest problem by addressing the source of concern for safe and long-term results.

8 Legs and Lots of Fear: Spider 101

web on wild meadow, closeup view
web on wild meadow, closeup view

Spiders have a bad reputation. So many people are afraid of them, that fear of spiders has its own name; Arachnophobia. 

Here at Environmental Pest Management, we want to show you why spiders are essential. While they might be a little scary, spiders play an indispensable role in their environments and, beyond that, they are simply fascinating.

If you have any bug questions or concerns, contact us for a free quote. Bugs belong outside your home, and we will make sure they stay away. 

Now, let’s dive into some fun spider facts!

Wasp spider in the center of its web in a spring garden in a close up view of nature with blades of green grass in the background

What are they?

Spiders are arachnids. They are a class of arthropods. Other arthropods include scorpions, mites, and ticks. 

There are about 45,000 species of spiders around the world. You can find spiders on every continent except Antarctica. Interestingly enough, scientists believe that we have discovered and classified less than half of the spider species in existence.   

Spiders can range in size from a few millimeters to almost a foot long. There are so many varied types of spiders that it is hard to believe that they are all in the same family!

Where do they live?

Because there are so many different types of spiders, it is hard to pinpoint only one kind of habitat. Spiders live in almost every climate on earth. 

There are a few types of spiders that live almost exclusively indoors. These common house spiders like to make their homes in the forgotten corners of your home. You will find them tucked away behind boxes, stowed away on shelves, or hiding in the dark spaces of your basement or attic.

Most of these house spiders are harmless and actually do you a favor by eating other bugs that may be harmful to you and your family.

What do they eat?

Spiders are carnivorous. A spider’s primary diet is composed of the insects we consider pests. Some of these include roaches, flies, mosquitoes, moths, and earwigs, to name a few. Because of this, spiders are very effective at pest control.

Not only are spiders good at keeping pest populations at bay, but they can also help reduce the spread of diseases. Many common pests can transmit harmful bacteria and viruses to humans; spiders are nature’s disease prevention. 

Spiders also eat other spiders. When two spiders meet, they usually engage in a battle royale of sorts. The victor eats the loser. Interestingly, long-legged cellar spiders, commonly known as daddy long legs, have been known to kill and eat black widow spiders.   

Black Widow Spider

Are they dangerous?

All spiders do contain some degree of venom. Most spiders though are not dangerous to humans. In fact, there are only three poisonous spiders in the US.

Black Widow 

There are three separate species of the black widow spider; the Southern black widow, the Western black widow, and the Northern black widow. 

Black widows are aggressive, and you should avoid them at all costs. If a black widow bites you, seek medical attention immediately. 

Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider can also be known as the fiddleback or violin spider because of its distinctive markings. They like to hide in cool, dark places, like your attic, basement, or even piles of wood.

The bite from a brown recluse is very toxic. Its venom is destructive to human flesh and can cause extensive damage to the tissue which can lead to infection. If a brown recluse bites you, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Hobo

The hobo spider is a funnel-web spider that is found exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. It waits at the bottom of its web for its prey. 

Although the hobo spider is aggressive, it avoids humans and rarely bites. Like the brown recluse, the bite from a hobo can cause tissue damage at the site. If bitten, seek medical attention.

Close up of a spider in a web

How long do spiders live?

This question is difficult to answer as there are so many different species of spiders. Suffice it to say; most spiders can live about one to two years. Some species live longer, and the oldest known spider lived to the ripe old age of 43!

All About Webs!

All spiders are capable of making silk. Not all spiders spin webs though. Some use their silk as a means of travel. No spider can fly, but with these nifty parachutes, they are able to traverse great distances. 

When spiders spin webs, they do so for many different purposes. Spiders live on their nest, and they use them to attract and trap prey. 

Once the prey is trapped, the spider will inject the insect with a liquefying toxin, essentially allowing the spider to drink its prey from the inside out. Gruesome, yes, but utterly fascinating and essential for the ecosystem. Spiders are necessary because they kill and eat bothersome pests that destroy crops.

How do I keep them out?

  • Prevent spiders and other insects from entering your home by sealing up their entrances. Use caulk or silicone to block any place a pest may infiltrate your home; such as doorways, windows, or vents. 
  • Clear away debris from the outside of your home. Trash,  dead leaves, mulch, and plant debris can be a good place for spiders to congregate. Keep these places of refuge away from your home.
  • Store your clothing and other items in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Cardboard boxes attract insects, which in turn attracts spiders.
  • Store your firewood far away from your house to avoid transporting spiders and other insects indoors. Shake off and bang your wood on the ground or a tree to dislodge hidden pests. 
  • Use a pesticide around your home, especially in the typical places spiders live. We recommend an environmentally friendly option like vinegar or chili powder. Check out this great list of all-natural spider removal techniques.
  • Contact Environmental Pest Management, and we will apply an outdoor pest treatment around the foundation of your home. 

Poisonous spider indoors, dangerous venomous animal. Aracanophobia concept, care to avoid spiders

Hopefully, with some of this new information, you have a more favorable opinion of spiders. They are an essential component of their environment. Without them, the world would literally be crawling with bugs.

If you are experiencing pest problems, contact Environmental Pest Management for your free quote.