With the arrival of spring, certain bugs in Michigan become active and invade homes.
Michigan homes also become hibernating paradises for many overwintering bugs during the winter too.
What you’re about to find out is the list of common house bugs in Michigan that every Michigan resident should be aware of.
You’ll find out how to identify these bugs, when they’re most active, how they enter homes, and most importantly, how to secure your home from these pests.
Michigan has a big carpenter ants problem. These big black ants are wood borers.
They drill holes in damp wood to build their colonies and to lay their eggs.
Carpenter ants are easily identifiable. They’re the biggest ants that invade homes.
Carpenter ants grow up to ½ an inch in size, black, and have a prominent abdomen.
Carpenter ants typically target the damp areas of your home where there’s a ready food supply.
So, your kitchen, pantry shelves, and bathroom are their primary targets to nest.
But they can also sneak inside basements because they’re also damp and dark.
Carpenter ants will feed on the food wastes and stored food in your kitchen. They’ll also feed on things like human hair and nails in your bathroom.
Carpenter ants enter homes from the outdoors through the thin gaps and holes on the walls and windowsills.
They sneak inside homes in the form of long ant trails. These trails lead to their nesting sites or food source inside your home.
Swarmers, which are winged ants, can also fly inside your home and cause an infestation.
Spring is the time when carpenter ants infestation spikes up.
Carpenter ants disappear during the winter when they retreat to their colonies inside your home to overwinter.
Clean your outdoors and remove any signs of carpenter ants, like nests (in the form of mud mounds).
Seal the holes and cracks on the window sills and walls to prevent them from sneaking inside.
Carpenter ants can make multiple nests inside your Michigan home.
Destroying these nests and killing the queen ant are vital for removing the ant infestation.
A massive carpenter ant infestation will always need a help of a pest controller.
Other species of ants like sugar ants and pavement ants are also active in Michigan. But it’s the carpenter ants that are the most widespread ant in Michigan homes.
Michigan is known for it’s beetles. There are more than 100 species of beetles in Michigan.
All these Michigan beetles are harmless and dwell outdoors.
But there’s one beetle that you, as a Michigan resident, must be wary of – the carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles are dark brown, black, or spotted beetles. 3 that enter homes to lay eggs.
Adult carpet beetles are harmless. They don’t bite.
But it’s their larvae that inflict terrible damages in your home.
The adult carpet beetles will lay their eggs in fibers made from animal products.
So, rugs, carpets, and clothing made from wool, silk, leather, fur, and feathers are their primary targets.
They’ll also target stored food in your kitchen pantry to oviposit.
The carpet beetles target these places to lay their eggs because the carpet beetle larvae feed on them.
So, they lay their eggs directly on the food source.
Outdoors, carpet beetles will lay their eggs on the carcasses of insects and rodents. Their larvae also feed on them.
If there are dead insects in the wall voids of your home, or in places like attic, cellar, and basement, then carpet beetles will lay their eggs in those places too.
The carpet beetle larvae, which is a brownish hairy worm with yellowish stripes, and ½ an inch long, will cause damages to things like woolen carpets, cotton bedsheets, and silk clothing.
If they’re in the stored foods, they’ll feed on the food too, turning it stale.
The carpet beetle larva will cause threadbare holes on your expensive fabric. They’ll also leave behind fecal deposits and shed skin on natural fibers and stored food.
Denying them entry into your home during the spring is the key to prevent a carpet beetle infestation.
Install window screens with fine mesh and seal the crevices on windows and doors to prevent them from entering your home.
You’ll need to wash the infested clothing and fiber in hot water to remove the larvae.
The larva can also get inside closet and drawers. So, checking those areas and removing them with the help of a vacuum cleaner is what you need to do.
Some of the clothes and furnishings like carpets will need dry cleaning to remove the larvae and the carpet beetle eggs.
If you’ve noticed the larvae inside the storage containers in your kitchen pantry, then throw away the food and thoroughly clean your kitchen.
Woodboring beetles like the Powderpost beetles and the old house wood borer are common in Michigan.
These beetles lay their eggs inside the cracks and holes on the wood during the spring.
Their larvae that hatch out of the eggs drill themselves into the wood.
And they eat the wood from the inside, turning it hollow.
Woodboring beetles primarily target old hardwood and softwood. So, the structural lumber of your home, including your roof, are at an infestation risk.
The larvae can remain inside the wood for 5-7 years, till they pupate and turn into adult.
After maturing, they’ll create holes on the wood from the inside and fly out.
The worst part is that these beetles are ready to breed the moment they turn into adults. And they can breed and lay eggs in the same wooden structure from where they emerged.
It’s quite hard to detect the presence larvae inside the wood.
The only two signs of their presence is fine saw dust on the floor below the holes they create to fly out.
Hiring a pest controller is the best way to detect their presence and for treatment.
Too many of these beetles’ larvae will put the structural integrity of your home at risk.
Since 2010, stink bugs took over the Michigan state. These bugs are invasive species are not native to the US.
Their roots lie in Asia. And since the time they were first found in the US in 1998 in Pennsylvania, they became rampant across the US.
Adult stink bugs are brown and shield-shaped and 5/8 inches in size. Stink bugs can be of different colors like green and gray too.
Stink bugs enter homes during the late fall when the temperature starts to drop.
They look for warm place to overwinter. That’s why these bugs sneak inside homes.
Stink bugs will slide into the thin gaps and cracks on places like attic, basement, and other secluded areas of your house.
They’ll remain hidden in these places till spring arrives. When spring arrives, stink bugs pop out from their overwintering hideouts.
And they try to make their way outside your house by gathering on the windows.
That’s why many Michigan residents notice a sudden appearance of stink bugs inside the house during the spring.
The light from the light bulbs attracts stink bugs inside the house. Stink bugs will fly or crawl inside the house to reach the light source.
Stink bugs don’t bite humans and pets. They don’t spread any diseases either.
However, on being threatened, stink bugs can emit a fluid that “stinks”.
The fluid contain chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions on the skin if the fluid lands on your skin.
The best way to get rid of stink bugs is by vacuum cleaning their hide outs.
Denying them entry by sealing the crevices on your homes windows, doors, and walls is also a proven method to prevent stink bugs.
Installing bug zappers at your outdoor areas, especially near the windows and door ways, helps a lot in eliminating flying bugs that attracted to light from entering the house.
Wasps And Hornets
Eusocial wasps like the common paper wasps (Polistes fuscatus) and European paper wasps (Polistes dominulus) are common Michigan wasps that are active during the spring.
These wasps will build their nests in your property, especially in places like underneath sheds, poles, and on the higher sections of the house.
They can also make their nest inside the wall voids in the different sections of your house.
Wasps are attracted to ripe fruits and the fruity smell. So, they can sneak inside the house chasing these two things.
Wasps are also common in bathrooms especially when there’s a soap or shampoo that emits fruity smell.
The presence of wasps nests at your property is a bad sign.
The nests not only intensify the wasp infestation but also expose you to the risk of wasp stings.
Wasps turn very aggressive even if you unintentionally go close to their nests. And they’ll target humans, birds, rodents, and pets to sting if they come too close to their nests.
Do not try to deal with an active wasp nest in your home or at outdoors.
Always call a pest controller to remove the nests from your property.
Wasps also enter homes during the winter months to overwinter. They’ll hide inside the wall crevices, tight gaps, and nooks and corners of your house.
They’ll remain hidden till spring arrives. So, there’s a sudden appearance of wasps in the house during the spring in closed homes too.
Other stinging insects like bald-faced hornets, carpenter bees, yellow jackets, and honeybees are also active in Michigan.
Point to note here is that wasps and these stinging insects are pollinators. They’re beneficial insects for the environment.
American House Spiders
There are many species of spiders that are active in Michigan. Some of them are the brown recluse, black widows, wolf spiders, huntsman spiders, orb-weaver spiders, and fishing spider.
However, the most common spider in Michigan homes is American house spider.
The American house spider, also known as the common house spider, is a comb-footed spider, that grows between 0.15 – 0.25 inches in size.
The common house spider has long skinny legs with comb -like hair on it’s ankles. These long legs help the spider to navigate on the cobwebs they spin and to catch their prey.
The American house spider has a bulbous abdomen and it’s brown. There are also white and dark zig-zag patterns on their abdomen.
The American house spider is a harmless spider. It’s not aggressive and doesn’t bite humans.
In fact, if you slightly poke these spiders, they play dead!
But bites can occur if you try to handle them. The bites are a bit painful at the outset.
But the pain goes away after a few days. However, people allergic to bug bites can show reactions like swelling, itching, and continuing pain.
These spiders enter homes from the outdoors. When the weather outdoors become extremely hot, cold, or wet, they’ll look for a temperate place to hide.
House spiders will sneak inside the house through the gaps and open windows.
And they’ll choose dark and damp places to hide.
For many, house spiders are beneficial because they keep the insect population inside the home low.
Use a vacuum cleaner to scoop off the spider and throw away the vacuum dust bag along with spider outside of your property.
Remove clutter from your home and ensure you seal all the cracks to deny spiders the entry points.
The presence of earwigs in Michigan dates to the 1930s when they first made their appearance.
Earwigs are pincer bugs that love decaying organic matter and moist environments. They feed on them and on the bugs that hide in them.
Earwigs will also hide in protected areas like underneath plant pots, rocks, woodpiles, and logs in your outdoors.
When the weather becomes dry, earwigs make a move inside the house.
Earwigs can also be in the soil beds of potted plants. So, if you bring a potted plant with an earwig in it inside the house, you can bring an earwig home.
They’ll hide in the damp areas of your house like the bathroom and basement.
Despite looking scary, earwigs are harmless bugs. They don’t bite humans and pets.
But they’ll use their pinchers to bite you if you try to handle them. However, that bite is harmless and doesn’t puncture the skin.
You’ll only feel a pinch.
Earwigs are nocturnal bugs. So, you’ll notice them mostly during the night when they’re out scavenging for food in places like your bathroom.
They’ll feed on dead insects and other damp bugs like psocids mites and silverfish.
Earwigs dark reddish-brown, elongated, and grow up to 1.5 inches in size.
Do not get scared if you notice earwigs in your home, especially in your bathroom.
Take vacuum cleaner and remove it off the surface. You can also keep sticky bug traps where you’ve noticed earwigs.
Earwigs in the house rarely cause an infestation.
But if there are too many cracks and voids on the floor and walls, and there’s high dampness in the house, they can deposit their eggs there.
And no, earwigs don’t get inside your ears. They don’t lay eggs in your ears or inside your brains either.
In fact, earwigs will not even close to your bed. They prefer to avoid human contact.
No Michigan resident is stranger to tiny red bugs on the windowsills or in the doorways. These are clover mites that are widespread in Michigan homes with lush green lawns.
Clover mites will gather on the entry points, like windows, decks, doors, to enter homes during the summer and winter months.
They don’t like the extreme weathers. So, clover mites try to invade homes when the weather becomes too hot or cold.
Also, if there are too many clover mites on your outdoors, then also they can invade homes looking for alternative food sources.
But clover mites are absolutely harmless bugs. They look like tiny spiders, with long frontal legs, and they grow up to 1/30 inches in size.
Clover mites look like tiny reddish-black specks on the windowsills.
However, these bugs are nuisance pests. And if they enter homes in droves, they’ll spread everywhere in your house.
Sightings of clover mites in bed, curtains, drapes, couches, and carpets are common if too many clover mites invaded your home.
The best way, and the only way to get rid of clover mites is by vacuum cleaning.
Also, using repellants like peppermint oil on the windowsills, doorways, and decks keep clover mites away.
Sealing the thinnest of cracks and tinniest of holes denies them the entry points that they need to sneak inside homes.
Clover mites release a red fluid if you crush them. The fluid causes reddish stains which are very difficult to remove.
So, be a bit careful while vacuum cleaning your home so that you don’t crush the clover mites.
House centipedes are common home-invading centipedes. They sneak inside homes from the outdoors.
And the worst part is that these centipedes are capable enough to lay their eggs inside your house and cause an infestation.
Centipedes mostly invade Michigan homes during the summer.
They’ll choose the damp and dark areas of your house to hide.
So, places like bathroom, basement, laundry room, and, at times, kitchen are their prime real estates in your home.
Centipedes are nocturnal bugs. So, they’ll remain hidden in the gaps and cracks on these places during the day.
You’ll notice baby centipedes (if there’s an infestation) and adult centipedes at night scavenging for food.
Centipedes are carnivores and they hunt other bugs and insects in the house to eat.
House centipedes can bite. But the bites are harmless.
House centipedes are scared of you more than you’re scared of them. That’s why they’ll scurry across the surface to hide.
Controlling the dampness levels of your house, filling up the cracks, and ensuring these bugs don’t bugs enter homes are keys to remove house centipedes.
Pesticide sprays and bug traps are also viable options to get rid of them.
Boxelder bugs invade Michigan homes during the winter when they’re looking for an overwintering site.
These bugs are flat, oval, black with red marks, and they grow up to half-an-inch in size.
Boxelder bugs live outdoors. They feed on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods of the boxelder trees.
Boxelder bugs will gather side on the sunny side of the house, like on the windows, piece of wood, or rock during the late fall.
And if there are entry points, like a gap or crack on the window and walls, then they’ll sneak inside the house.
Inside the house, boxelder bugs will hide in the cracks and voids.
But boxelder bugs are absolutely harmless. They don’t bite or cause any diseases.
The best way to eliminate boxelder bugs is by spraying soapy water on them.
Using a vacuum cleaner on them to remove them off the surface is also a smart hack to get rid of boxelder bugs.
Preventing them from entering the house is a key to solve the boxelder bug problem.
So, removal of boxelder trees, and using repellants like white vinegar or peppermint on the windows, doorways, and decks prevents these bugs from congregating on these places.
Seal the gaps and cracks on the walls, windows, and doors, and rubber strips to close the gaps in the windows and doors.
That will prevent these bugs from entering the house.
Giant Water Bugs
Giant water bugs are the biggest true bugs in Michigan. These bugs grow up to three inches in size, brown, and their appearance is like that of cockroaches.
Giant water bugs dwell in shallow marsh waters. As they’re attracted to light, these bugs will fly into homes chasing the light source.
This behavior of giant water bugs following the light source from the home earned them a nickname electric light bug.
Sightings of Giant water bugs are common in summer especially in Michigan homes that are close to water bodies.
They’ll appear underneath porch lights, garage lights, and in illuminated parking lots.
Giant water bugs feed on insects that live in shallow waters. So, tadpoles, salamanders, and other aquatic insects are their primary preys.
Giant water bugs are fierce biters too. They’ll bite on your barefoot if you step close to them.
That’s why they’re also known as toe-biters in Michigan.
Handling them can also cause a bite. But these bugs are sluggish in the colder months, so, they might not bite you if you pick them up with bare hands during the winter.
However, giant water bugs are active during the summer and most bites take place during these periods.
Illuminated swimming pools and outdoor ponds are their favorite. The light around these water bodies will draw these giant water bugs.
There’s no specific way to prevent these bugs.
The best method is to either squish them under your boots.
And install a bug zapper around the windows, swimming pool, and driveways of your house to electrocute these bugs.
Bed bugs are widespread bugs in the US. In the state of Michigan bed bugs are a big problem too.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers. They spread from one to another by latching onto clothes, furniture, cardboard boxes, and luggage.
Bed bugs hide in places where they’re most likely to get their bloodmeals. Your bed is the most obvious place where bed bugs hide.
Bed bugs are nocturnal bugs. They’ll hide in the mattress seams, bed frame, headboard, and nearby furniture during the day.
When the infestation becomes bad, these biting parasites can even hide in places like wall cracks, floor cracks, dresser drawers, and even inside electrical sockets.
Bed bugs are so bad in Michigan that in Orkin’s 2023 list of most bed bug cites, there are four Michigan cities –
- Detroit – Ranked 6th with highest number bed bug infestations.
- Grand Rapids – Ranked 12th
- Flint – Ranked 21st
- Lansing – Ranked 42nd
It’s essential that you’re wary of signs of bed bug infestation in your house.
You can get rid of bed bugs on your own by repeated DIY treatments when the infestation is at the early stages.
But if the infestation level is severe, then DIY methods fail.
Bed bugs have the proclivity to return after treatment. So, always rely on professional pest control if the infestation is severe.
House flies like the common house flies, cluster flies, drain flies, fungus gnats, phorid flies, and fruit flies are nuisance pests in Michigan.
These flies multiply in decaying organic wastes, choked drains, and, flies like drain flies, breed in open sewers.
All of these flies are active most of the time during the year, except on winters when their activities dwindle.
Flies are unhygienic. And they carry disease vectors that they can transfer to your food making you sick.
So, eliminate organic wastes from your property. And ensure that there are no choked drains.
Use insecticide sprays on their habitat to kill their eggs and their larvae.
And, most importantly, don’t let standing water accumulate on your yard or garden. They become the breeding grounds for many flies, including mosquitoes.
Black Legged Tick
If there’s any tick in Michigan that you need to aware of, it’s the Black legged tick.
Black legged tick are dark brown, with black legs, oval-shaped, and they’re of the size of a sesame seed.
Like the bed bugs, black legged ticks are parasites. They feed on the blood of humans and animals.
Black legged ticks are common in the low forest and thin vegetation. They hide in the grasses and shrubs waiting for a host to pass by to latch onto.
You can bring black legged ticks home if you’re in their habitat doing any outdoor activities during the summer months.
They’ll latch onto your clothes and luggage and travel with you to your home.
Black legged ticks will bite you when they’re hungry. After feeding on your blood, the ticks grow ½ an inch larger.
So, if you’ve been outdoors during the summer, then wash your clothes in hot water before putting them back to your closet or wardrobe.
Don’t bring your luggage indoor till you haven’t used any insecticide spray on the luggage and other belongings to kill any ticks in them.
Black legged ticks are serious spreaders of Lyme disease.
More than 20 counties in Michigan have reported cases of Lyme disease.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!