I went to college for biology, so I don’t really like to use the word “bug” to describe something. It is just too vague a word for it to really mean much. But it is commonly used, so I shall do my best to define for you what a bug exactly is. Bugs are arthropods. Arthropods have exoskeletons, which means their skeletal structure is on the outside of their bodies. In the phylum Arthropoda, you will find insects, arachnids, myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), and crustaceans. Only a few land-dwelling crustaceans are commonly referred to as bugs—mainly the pill bug and sow bug. Even though crabs and lobsters are not normally referred to as bugs, they do meet the criteria to be a bug, however vague the definition may be.
So now you have a better understanding of bugs, but how does that help you get rid of them? Well we have an extensive pest control section here on Get Rid of Things and chances are we have written an article on the bug that you want to get rid of. Below I have broken bugs into five categories. Use the five categories to narrow your bug search down. The categories will have links to some of the companion articles to help you navigate the site. I have included some general bug-ridding methods as well.
- Bed Bugs
- Box Elder Bugs
- Codling Moths
- Fungus Gnats
- Stink Bugs
How to Kill Bugs
Gnats, mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies are bugs that want to suck your blood. To keep these bugs out of your home, use a fine screen and seal up any holes in your home. Also, don’t leave the door open for very long when going in and out. For getting rid of them outside, use a mosquito dunk or larvacide to kill the larvae found in standing water. There are also other insecticides available. Because of these bugs’ ability to travel great distances, it may take a larger group effort to get rid of a large community of blood-sucking bugs.
Bugs that come into your home to make a home out of your home include spiders, lady bugs, Japanese beetles, box elder bugs, silverfish, firebrats, earwigs, crickets, dust mites, and termites. These bugs are harder to get rid of because it’s hard to get rid of the thing drawing them to your home, which is your home. Some bugs can be excluded from entering your home by sealing up cracks, holes, and other entry points. Some bugs you will just have to manually eradicate with insecticides, and others can be trapped using cone traps. Some of these bugs, once established in your home, are difficult to get rid of. But there is some excellent advice in these articles.
Stinging bugs likes wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and bees are a cause for concern when they infest your home. Finding the entry point, and then blocking it will help there. Getting rid of a wasp nest can seem like a pretty daunting task, but at night when they are sleeping is the time to attack. Use a wasp killer, and apply it two nights in a row. You should be able to remove the nest without too much cause for concern during the next day. Other wasps like yellow jackets make their homes in the ground. Couldn’t tell you how many times I have found their nests while mowing—good times. The same nighttime technique is used for these ground-dwelling wasps.
For the bugs coming into your house looking for a meal like ants, flies, and cockroaches, you will need to execute a combined effort of exclusion, poisoning, trapping, and removal of food attractants. The bugs are getting into your home somehow, and you need to seal up those holes as best you can. One of the best bug killers is boric acid. They get some on their bodies and ingest it when they preen themselves. There are lots of traps available, from sticky paper to ultraviolet light traps. In order to keep them from coming back, you will want to keep your home clean and free of uncovered food.
Parasite bugs are the creepy crawly bugs that we don’t really see so much as we feel them. These bugs include lice, fleas, and mites. To get rid of lice, you will want to try a lice insecticide or pyrethoid once you have a visual confirmation of infestation. There are tons of flea treatments on the market these days for our pets. The articles on fleas talk about how to prevent reinfestation by sanitizing your home and yard. Some mites like dust mites aren’t really parasites since they live on our waste, but the scabies mite is most definitely a parasite, as it burrows into your skin and drinks your blood like a tick. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
Preventing Bug Infestation
Killing bugs is only a temporary solution in most cases. The bugs inside your home got in there somehow. It would be wise of you to figure out why and how bugs keep showing up inside. It may be as simple as replacing your screens with a finer mesh. Or it may as complicated as resealing your entire home. Either way, the less time you have to spend killing and trapping bugs, the more you will have to do other things.
Insecticides kill bugs, but they are not the best thing for humans to be exposed to. So, if you are going to use chemicals, read the warning label and follow the directions. All chemicals come with a material safety data sheet (MSDS). This contains all potentially harmful effects the particular chemical may have. When you buy a single can of spray, you will not get an MSDS, as they only include them in cases. But you can look up any MSDS online.
Best Natural Bug Control Methods
Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis, or Bti for short, is an environmentally friendly method of mosquito control. Because of Bti’s ability to target and kill only mosquito larvae, it has little or no effect on other water-dwelling creatures, or humans for that matter. It is labeled and sold as mosquito dunks or mosquito bits.
There are lots of ways to trap bugs. You can purchase baited traps or you can make your own from a 2 liter soda bottle. Cut the top off just above the label and invert it so the funnel leads to the bottom. Tape the seam and put an inch or two of sugary water with a drop of soap in it. The bugs will crawl into the bottom and drown in the sugar water.
Boric acid has been used for a long time to kill cockroaches. These days it has been quite effective at killing flies, as well, for the same reason. Both cockroaches and flies have hairy bodies, and when they preen themselves, they ingest the boric acid and die. Amazon sells straight Boric Acid if you’re interested in this option.
Attract natural predator birds. Put up a bird feeder or two and get some more birds in your yard. If that isn’t enough, get some chickens. They are awesome at pest control. They will eat frogs, toads, snakes, snails, scorpions, and bugs.
Sodium lights. A recent study in Japan tested the bug attractiveness of sodium lights to mercury lamps. The sodium lights were 1/60th as attractive to bugs as the mercury lamp. So use sodium lamps for outdoor lighting. You will have fewer bugs. You can find a wide variety of sodium lighting products at Amazon.