21 Common House Bugs – Hidden Terrors In Homes
In this guide, I’ve compiled a list of 21 common house bugs that many homeowners frequently encounter in their homes.
Many bugs in the list thrive in human habitats. But there are some bugs that are occasional or accidental intruders.
In this guide you’ll find out how to identify insect pests, where they come from, and the risks they bring to you and to your home.
List of Common Household Bugs
- Bed Bugs
- House Ants
- Common House Flies
- Old House Borers
- Fruit Flies
- Fungus Gnats
- Cluster Flies
- Stink Bugs
- Dust Mites
- Pantry Bugs
- Carpet Beetles
- House Centipedes
Bed bugs are flat dark brown insects that are ectoparasites. They’re the descendants of bat bugs and they’ve been feeding on human blood for thousands of years.
Bed bug infestations are the one of the worst pest problems that your home can ever have.
Bed bugs enter homes by hitchhiking on infested products. You can also bring bed bugs home if you’ve been to a bed bug-infested home or hotel.
Most DIY ways of getting rid of bed bugs fail unless you’ve caught the infestation early by catching their signs early.
However, in most cases of bed bug infestation, you’ll need to hire pest control experts from a reliable pest control company who can do the job.
Bed bug treatments are not a one-off activity. These bugs are hard to eliminate and bed bug exterminators monitor bed bug activity after the treatment.
So, they chart out a treatment plan that can continue for weeks, in some cases months.
A poorly-executed bed bug treatment always and that makes bed bugs come back even after multiple treatments.
Bed bug bites are intensely itchy and red lumps develop on the skin.
However, some people, who’re not allergic to bug bites, don’t show any itchy red welts on the skin despite bitten by bed bugs.
Fleas are also ectoparasites that primarily target furry animals. They’re common pests on pets.
But fleas can also bite humans in the absence of their primary hosts.
Most flea infestations in homes occur when the pets bring fleas home. However, a home without pets can also have fleas.
Infected pets can transfer fleas to places like bed, couch, carpet, and pet beds.
Fleas are dark brown with a hard shelled oval-shaped body appearing as tiny poppy seeds. These biting bugs feed on their hosts’ blood to survive and to breed.
Flea bites itch a lot and they appear as acnes. A flea will bite multiple times before it gets access to your blood vessel from which it can draw blood.
So, their bites always appear in clusters.
Ticks, such as dog ticks and deer ticks, can also be present in the house if your pet has brought them in or if you’ve been to their habitat such as grassy areas in the woods.
As per the Colorado state university, tick bites can cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky mountain fever in humans.
Ants are common household bugs that enter homes searching for food and shelter. Moisture and food wastes in the house draw ants.
They enter homes through the cracks on the windowsills, walls, and through any other opening that they can find.
There are many household ants that invade homes. The most common ones are carpenter ants, sugar ants, odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, acrobat ants, and yellow crazy ants.
However, the notorious and venomous red fire ants can also invade homes if they’re present in your yard.
Most ant infestations begin from the outdoors, from places like your yard or garden, before they move inside the house looking for nesting sites.
In an apartment complex, ants can spill over from an infested apartment to another.
There’s barely a home standing today that didn’t face the cockroaches.
Cockroaches are common house bugs and they can infest homes in all sorts of locales, starting from slums to upscale neighborhoods.
American cockroaches (which are also known as palmetto bugs), oriental roaches, German roaches, and the brown banded cockroaches are the four most common types of cockroaches in the US homes.
These filthy pests feed on decaying organic wastes. And they can enter homes through any means necessary, including climbing up through the sink and bathroom drains.
They live in damp areas and they are nocturnal insects. So, places like basement, kitchen, and bathroom are their common hiding and nesting grounds.
A severe roach infestation can be hard to eliminate and you’ll certainly need a professional pest control company’s help to get rid of them.
Termites are wood boring insects that infest wooden structures. They eat the wood from the inside and they’re silent destroyers of homes.
These pests are so home-damaging that they can cause significant structural damage to the house.
There are three types of termites that are active in the US –
- Subterranean termites
- Drywood termites
- Formosan termites
Subterranean termites and Formosan termites invade homes from underground. Drywood termites primarily invade homes as winged termites by flying in through the open windows.
One of the confusing signs of termite infestation is the discarded wings on the floor.
You can think of them as ant wings because both winged ants and winged termites have a lot of similarities.
Other signs such as mud tubes on the wooden structures, walls, ceilings, floor, and bubbling paint on the walls and furniture are also signs of termite attack.
A thorough termite control of your property by a pest control professional is essential before termites wreak significant havoc.
Severe termite infestation cases need a home-wide termite fumigation is vital to purge termites.
Common House Flies
House flies are common household flies that lay eggs in wastes (including animal feces) and garbage cans.
These flies are gray, 1/4 inches in size and they’ve dark markings on their thoraxes.
House flies carry diseases because they live and breed in the filthiest of places. According to the University of Florida, these flies carry disease vectors that they can transfer to humans.
These flies will sit on open food to pass on the harmful bacteria that sticks with their bodies.
Old House Borers
Old house borers are wood boring insects that lay their eggs in the cracks on the wooden pieces.
The adults are not wood-damaging pests. But their larvae are.
The old house borer’s larvae are white grubs that keep feeding inside the wood till they mature into adults.
So, the larvae remain unseen till it create holes on the wooden pieces to emerge out as adults.
Other wood borers such as the powderpost beetles also display the same behavior.
The signs of old house borer is fine dust sawdust under the wooden pieces and holes on the wood.
Fruit flies are tiny yellowish or tan flies with red eyes. These flies fly inside the house when they pick up the scents of overripe fruits and vegetables in the home.
Moisture and dampness in the house also play a significant role in drawing these flies indoors.
These flies lay their eggs in ripe fruits. When these eggs hatch, the fruit fly larvae appear which are also known as maggots.
But it’s not the fruits and vegetables that fruit flies target to lay eggs. They can also lay eggs inside the drains, decaying organic matter, and food wastes in the kitchen and yard.
These flies are common kitchen flies and you can also notice them in places like bedroom, bathroom, and basement.
Fungus gnats are tiny black flies that look like mosquitoes. But, unlike mosquitoes, they don’t bite and they have a short flight pattern.
They can barely fly in a straight line and when they fly, they appear more as jumping bugs rather than as flies.
Fungus gnats have six legs and pair of long antennae. They’ve light-colored wings with veins.
These flies breed in the wet soil beds of indoor plants and yard or garden.
Decaying organic wastes such as leaf litter, rotting mulch beds, and compost bins are also their breeding grounds.
Fungus gnats can enter homes from the open windows or through the gaps on the windowsills.
They’re attracted to light, so the glowing light bulb or the reflecting light from the window glass can also draw these flies to your home.
Appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and coffeemakers are also their breeding grounds because of the damp food wastes stuck in them.
Fungus gnats are small black flies in the house and kitchen that are not fruit flies.
Many people confuse between the two because of both are tiny, hard to identify, and show similar infestation habits.
Gnats is a collective term that people use to refer to fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. But these flies belong to different species and have many anatomical differences.
Cluster flies are house fly-like flies but there are some visual differences. These flies have whitish checkered pattern on their abdomen and yellowish hair strands on their thorax.
But these flies are slow moving flies that limit themselves to the outdoors feeding on the flower nectar.
Cluster flies aren’t filthy flies like house flies. So, they don’t breed in wastes.
They lay eggs in earthworm burrows because their larvae are parasitic worms on the earthworms.
Cluster flies do not enter homes, except during the winter months. During the late fall or when the winter arrives, these flies seek shelter in the homes to overwinter or hibernate.
They’ll hide in the wall voids and in the places like the attic and basement where there’s enough warmth and clutter. That’s why cluster flies are also known as winter flies.
When spring arrives, cluster flies come out of hiding. Many of them die in their effort to get out and so you suddenly notice many dead flies in the house.
According to the Michigan state university, “cluster flies don’t bite and they don’t spread any diseases.”
Spiders in the house strikes fear in homeowners. But all spiders are harmless and they’re not interested in biting humans unless you try handle them.
There are various species of spiders that enter homes. The most common spiders are the American house spiders.
However, venomous spiders like the black widow spiders, wolf spider, and brown recluse spiders can also invade homes.
Spiders enter homes looking for shelter and prey. The presence of other insects in the house play a significant role in attracting these arachnids into your house because spiders hunt and eat all household insects.
Insects, such as camel crickets, in the house are one of their favorite meals.
Cluttered areas and areas that receive less light and human footfalls, such as basement, garage, and storage rooms are their favorite hiding spots.
However, spiders can end up in your bedroom and in storage areas such as closets and wardrobe.
Spiders can breed in the house and lay hundreds of eggs. They bundle these eggs in the form of balls which are known as egg sacs.
These eggs produce hundreds of tiny spiders leading to serious spider infestations in the house.
Common entry points for spiders are cracks on the windowsills, door frames, and any void that is wide enough for them to crawl through.
Wasps are stinging flies that can make their nests inside the house. The primary areas where wasps build nests are in the lofty places such roofs, eaves, and even inside the wall voids.
Wall voids in places like bathroom, basement, and garages are some of the common areas where you’re most likely to find wasp nests.
Their close cousins, hornets and yellow jackets, which are more aggressive than wasps, can also invade homes to build nests.
Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are active during the spring and summer months.
Like the cluster flies, wasps too enter homes to overwinter.
That’s why you may also notice lethargic wasps in the house during the winter or when they come out of hiding during the spring.
Like the wasps, stink bugs too enter homes to overwinter. These bugs are common winter bugs in the house that hide in places like attic, basement, and other cluttered areas of your home.
Stink bugs are attracted to light. So, they gather near windows trying to make their way inside the house to reach the light source.
Stink bugs are shield-shaped bugs with a rugged appearance. They come in different colors such as brown, black, and their nymphs are green.
Stink bugs generally don’t bite. But they’ve got sharp mouthparts that can penetrate your skin if you try to handle them.
They got their names because they emit nasty stench when they feel threatened.
They belong to the true bugs family. Kissing bugs, which are also true bugs, are also home invaders on occasions.
But they’re not common as common in homes as the other bugs in the list.
Silverfish are wiggly scaly insects that are dark gray or silver. They’ve tapered bodies with a pair of antennae and two appendages in their abdomen.
Like the pill bugs, silverfish are crustaceans. They’re moisture bugs that enter homes when the weather outdoors becomes too dry or hot.
Silverfish don’t bite humans and they don’t cause any significant damage to your homes. However, they can also feed on stored foods, molds on books, fabric, and dead insects.
Silverfish hide in damp areas such as bathroom, basement, and kitchen where they feed on the molds.
There are various mites species that are common house bugs. One of the most common ones are the dust mites.
These mites are white or grayish, and they’re invisible microscopic bugs. Dust mites are allergens that cause skin rashes and running noses.
Under the microscope dust mites appear as translucent or clear white bugs with an oval-shaped body and eight legs.
For asthma patients, dust mites can be deadly because they enter the respiratory systems and cause difficulty breathing.
Dust mites are hard to detect while they’re in small numbers. But when there are too many of them, these tiny white bugs look like dust.
Other types of human biting bites such as rat mites and bird mites can also be present in homes by latching onto their hosts, rodents and birds respectively. These tiny black bugs bite humans and their bites are intensely itchy.
Many homeowners also have the clover mites problem in their homes during the spring and fall months.
Clover mites are tiny red mites, and they don’t bite humans.
But clover mites can be a nuisance in the house when they enter homes in large numbers and end up in unlikely places like beds, carpets, and couches.
Clover mites in bed can trick you into thinking that they’re bed bugs because of their red color and tiny size.
Booklice, also known as psocids, are soft-bodied moisture bugs that are harmless insects.
They feed on the molds and fungi that form on the damp areas of the house such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Booklice are tan or whitish and they grow between 2-5 mm in size. Booklice look like tiny roaches. But unlike roaches, booklice don’t carry any diseases.
And booklice aren’t true lice like headlice or body lice, so they don’t bite either.
However, these bugs can infest stored grains like rice, flour, and other grains in your kitchen pantry.
There are a ton of pantry bugs that infest stored foods like flour, rice, cereals, grains, spices, pasta, and bread.
The most widespread ones are –
- Kitchen mites
- Rice weevils
- Granary weevils
- Red flour beetles
- Drugstore beetles
- Spider beetles
The source of these pantry pests are the infested food bags that you buy from the grocery stores.
However, some of them can also fly or crawl inside the house from the outdoors or from the neighboring apartments.
These pantry bugs will feed on the stored foods, and they’ll also lay eggs in them.
Their larvae will feed on the grains and cereals leaving behind holes, fecal matter, and their shed-skin.
Failing to get rid of these bugs causes a serious infestation and destroy stored foods.
Carpet beetles are tiny beetles that sneak inside homes to lay their eggs on natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, feathers, and fur.
They can also lay eggs on the dead insects in the wall voids of your house and in the other areas of your home.
The reason they lay eggs in these areas is that their larvae, the carpet beetle larvae, feed on these items.
Carpet beetles are damaging pests in their larval form.
The carpet beetle larva will feed on the natural fabrics. They’ll leave behind tiny chewed holes, fecal matter, and their shed skin on clothes, carpets, and rugs.
The carpet beetle larvae can also end up on your bed while searching for food. That’s why the larvae is also called as bed worms when people see them on the bed.
Likewise, clothes moth larvae and larder beetle larvae are also damaging fabric pests.
All these larvae can sneak inside clothing storage areas such as closet, wardrobe, and dresser drawers to feed on the fabric.
Carpet beetles are not only fabric pests but also food pests. The adult beetles can lay eggs in the stored foods, including pet foods, so that their larvae have direct access to the food source.
Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs, are dark brown to reddish brown in color. They have long bodies that grow between 0.25 and 1 inch in size.
Earwigs look scary because of their strong pinchers on their abdomen. But they don’t bite humans unless you try to handle them or if they feel under threat.
They’ll use the pinchers to “pinch” your skin. But their pinch rarely breaks your skin.
Earwigs enter homes to escape the heat and dry weather outdoors. They seek moist areas so they hide in places like your bathroom and basement.
Another pincher bug, pseudoscorpion, also hide in these areas. But they’re not as common as earwigs.
Earwigs in the house hunt other insects and they don’t cause any damage to your home. And earwigs do not get inside human ears.
Another scary looking bug in the house is the house centipede. House centipedes are yellowish brown 1-2 inches in size, and they’ve 15 pairs of long legs.
Centipedes (along with millipedes) are also called as thousand leggers because they’ve lots of legs.
House centipedes are venomous and they can bite humans if they get pressed against your skin or if you try to handle them. But a house centipede’s bite won’t kill you.
Centipedes, like spiders, are shy and they avoid humans and pets.
That’s why they scurry through the surface and hide in any possible crack they can find when they come across a human.
Centipedes will hide in places like bathroom and basement. But these insects can lay eggs in the house leading to an infestation.
And when their numbers increase, you can find centipedes in your bedroom.
Centipedes in the house will eat other common insects hiding in the house. But they do not cause any structural damage to your home.
When it comes to tiny black flies that bite and itch, then mosquitoes are the number one on the list.
Mosquitoes are a year-round problem in many homes and apartments across the nation. They lay eggs in standing water and in damp organic wastes.
Mosquito eggs are black and can be hard to see with the naked eye.
The mosquito larvae, which are tiny brownish wiggly worm, float on the water’s surface and they’re visible on the stagnant water.
Homes with poorly maintained swimming pools and waste problems can have severe mosquito infestation.
There are no mosquito-borne diseases in the US.
But sightings of tiny mosquitoes, such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, that carry diseases such as dengue fever and Lyme disease have raised the alarm bells of state health officials.
Mosquitoes are often confused with biting midges or no-see-ums. Midges are biting gnats that also feed on human and animal blood.
But biting midges are tinier than mosquitoes and can be hard to detect.