How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in House | Extermination & Prevention

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Water bugs in house: an everyday occurrence. Water bugs or cockroaches are a pest that is found in bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and other areas of the house. Known for being drawn to moist and damp environments, the American and German cockroaches are two water bugs that you can learn to identify, eliminate, and prevent from infesting your home.


With so many different types of little black bugs in the house, you need to know exactly what pest you're dealing with to use the right eradication and prevention techniques. For instance, fruit flies are more yellow-brown with crimson eyes, and pantry moths are known to leave webbing and casings behind.

Types of Water Bugs Commonly Found in Houses

The two most common water bugs in house include the American and German cockroaches:

  • American cockroach: also known as a water bug, these bugs can reach sizes up to 3 inches long and are a lustrous dark brown or black color. Being excellent swimmers, they're usually found in moist, humid environments like basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and areas near drains and sinks.
  • German cockroach: these water bugs in house or in an apartment are lighter, matte brown, and can get as big as 1.5 inches. These insects aren't known to be the best swimmers and can be found in bathrooms or kitchens.

water bugs in basin inside house


The best way to deal with water bugs in house: keep them out of the house. These insects are drawn to warm, humid areas and feed on a wide range of food that includes leftovers, organic debris, starchy materials, and trash.

Here are some recommendations for keeping water bugs out of your house:

  • Keep your kitchen spotless: food attracts water bugs in house, so keep your kitchen clear of crumbs and spills on counters and floors. Also, keep your appliances clear of food scraps, crumbs, and debris, and make sure to store food in airtight containers.
  • Fix leaks and other sources of moisture: water bugs are really attracted to damp environments so address plumbing leaks, clean your gutters, repair faulty faucets, and roof leaks, and learn how to unclog a sink so that there's no attractive still or standing water.
  • Seal potential entrances: water bugs can get into your home through tiny cracks and fissures so caulk gaps around windows and doors, use screens, door sweeps, and weather stripping.
  • Turn off outdoor lights at night: when possible, turn off the lights outdoors when it's nighttime. Male water bugs could be drawn to your house because of these shining lights!
  • Water bugs can enter your home through tiny cracks an
  • Professional pest control: If you suspect an infestation in your house, think about calling a professional pest control expert to inspect your home and put the necessary preventive measures in place.

These pests can reproduce quickly and an infestation can get out of hand after they get into your house. Remember, prevention is the key!

How to Inspect for Water Bugs in the House

Regularly checking for water bugs in house? Here's how to do it right:

  1. Check the kitchen for cockroaches first. They're drawn to moisture and food and your kitchen has both. Look inside and around cabinets, drawers, and appliances for dead water bugs or droppings. Also pay attention to dark, damp places like corners of the room, underneath the sink, or behind the refrigerator.
  2. Contact a professional pest control specialist for routine inspection, an accurate diagnosis, and effective eradication.

How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in House

Water bugs in house can be eradicated with both chemical and natural techniques.

Non-toxic Methods

More DIY and organic techniques or products you can use to get rid of water bugs in the house include:

  • Diatomaceous earth: this fine powder that's made out of small aquatic creature remains can be sprinkled on water bugs or around their usual feeding and breeding grounds. Diatomaceous earth gets into insects' exoskeletons and dries them out which kills them/
  • Boric acid: boric acid is a naturally occurring mineral that's poisonous to water bugs. You can mix boric acid with food or bait to kill cockroaches.
  • Essential oils: if you're looking for a natural insect repellent, you can use peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, cedarwood, cinnamon, or essential oils. If you're using these essential oils in a spray combine them with a carrier oil, like coconut oil.
  • Bay leaves: bay leaves can also repel cockroaches so you can place them in water bug feeding and breeding areas.
  • Bait traps: these devices draw bugs inside and trap them which effectively stops them from fleeing and reproducing. You can buy one online, at hardware, or home improvement store.
  • Sugar and baking soda: mix equal parts of sugar and baking soda and place these in areas where the water bugs are usually seen. The cockroaches will be drawn to the sugar but die because of the baking soda.
  • White vinegar: one of the incredible uses for white vinegar includes being a bug killer. Mix equal parts of white vinegar with water and spray this combination on water bugs. The vinegar's acidity will kill the cockroaches on contact. Read more on does vinegar kill moths?
  • Reduce moisture levels: use a moisture meter to check if your home has high humidity levels and use a dehumidifier as needed.
  • Exclusion: check your piping, wires, floorboards, walls, windows, doors, and the roof for potential entrances like fissures, cracks, holes, and gaps. Use caulking, weather stripping, screens, and door sweeps to keep bugs out.

While these natural alternatives can work well to manage small infestations, they might not be as effective with a serious infestation. Also, these non-toxic methods can cause sensitivities or trigger allergies so try the products or techniques in a small test area first.

Chemical Remedies

Chemical products can be successful when dealing with water bugs in house. Several pesticides, such as the following, are efficient against cockroaches:

  • Pyrethrin: this pesticide pyrethrin is made from chrysanthemum flowers and works well against water bugs while being suitable for use in kitchens and other areas with food.
  • Cypermethrin: this synthetic pyrethroid can be sprayed in areas with cockroaches and poison them.

Whether you're using a pesticide, insecticide, or other chemical product, here's how to use them safely to deal with water bugs in house:

  • Thoroughly read the product label and take note of warning signs, directions, and safety precautions.
  • Use the chemical according to the manufacturer's instructions and only use the recommended amount of the products. This way, there won't be any harmful chemical buildup on surfaces and in the air.
  • Keep children and pets away from chemicals. These products should be stored in a locked cabinet or room that's off-limits to them
  • Only use chemicals in recommended areas. Never apply insecticides and pesticides in food preparation, storage, or consumption areas.
  • Put on safety gear. Wear gloves, goggles, and a mask!
  • Make sure that the area is well-ventilated. Use a fan or open the windows.
  • Dispose of chemical products properly according to manufacturer instructions or the rules and regulations in your state.

We recommend using insecticides and pesticides as a last resort and using physical removal, baits, or traps first.

Professional Treatment

To completely get rid of water bugs in house and prevent a future infestation, get expert pest control specialists for the job. Qualified exterminators can pinpoint the exact species that are infesting your house, use the proper equipment and extermination products, and put together an effective prevention strategy.

When to Call a Professional Exterminator

While insects are annoying, some can be harmful to your health and home. You should contact a qualified pest control specialist when:

  • You have a significant and serious infestation
  • You're having trouble identifying the bug species
  • The kitchen's being infested
  • You've tries the DIY methods to get rid of water bugs in house and they didn't work
  • You have health issues due to the insects
  • There's potential property damage because of the infestation

An expert exterminator will have the skills and experience necessary to get rid of the infestation and stop it from happening again. They may use a combination of techniques and products formulated for water bug extermination.

many water bugs within house

Bottom Line: Water Bugs in House

Cockroaches or water bugs in house are a reality for lots of homeowners and renters. These insects can carry around diseases, infest food, and cause allergic reactions in certain people. If the American or German cockroach is an issue you your basement, kitchen, or bathroom, there are different ways to get rid of them if you find their bodies or feces.

You can use natural, non-toxic methods like diatomaceous earth or essential oils as well as chemical insecticides or pesticides. We recommend using a combination of both but leaning more towards organic means. When you've done everything in your power to get rid of these bugs but they won't go away, reach out to a professional pest control specialist.

FAQs on Water Bugs in House

What do water bugs do and why should I be worried about these insects at home?

Water bugs can carry a variety of diseases and bacteria as well as infest food, clothes, organic materials, and personal belongings.

How do I recognize water bugs?

Water bugs are usually found in warm, moist environments with potential food sources. You can find these black or brown pests that are 1.5 to 3 inches in size in the basement, kitchen, or bathroom.

What are some typical water bug species that inhabit homes?

The most prevalent water bugs in the house are the American and German cockroaches.

How do I tell water bugs apart from other pests?

Water bugs are usually bigger than other pests and are usually found in warm, moist, or humid areas around the house.

How can I keep water bugs out of my house?

The best ways to keep water bugs from your house are by keeping it clean, turning off outdoor lights at night, keeping moisture levels down, and sealing off any potential entrances.

What are some safe, at-home treatments for eliminating water bugs?

You can use water and white vinegar or sugar and baking soda solution to get rid of these pests in your house.

How are water bugs repelled by essential oils?

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, cinnamon, cedarwood, and citrus naturally repel pests because of their smell.

What are some chemical treatments for infestations of water bugs?

There are chemical insecticides and pesticides that are available as bait, dust, and sprays.

What types of pesticides and insecticides work well against water bugs?

The most common pesticides and used against water bugs include boric acid, pyrethrin, diatomaceous earth, and cypermethrin.

How can I use chemicals inside my home safely?

To use chemicals in your home safely, read and follow instructions on the label, use the recommended amount, apply the product in suggested areas, wear protective gear, and keep the area of application well-ventilated.

What exactly is exclusion, and how can it be used to combat pests?

Exclusion physically prevents pests from getting into a house in the first place. This can be done with screens, learning how to caulk like a pro, door sweeps, and weather stripping.

How can I lower the amount of moisture in my home so that water bugs won't find it as appealing?

First, use a moisture meter and then a dehumidifier to reduce high humidity levels inside of your home. You can also clean up spills, remove standing or still water, fix plumbing issues, address leaks, and use a fan to keep rooms well-ventilated.

Abigail Clemente

Abigail is an experienced content creator who has worked with several big names in the home decor and interior design industry. She comes to our team with almost 6 years of experience of working as a full time content writer.

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