How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in the House

Carole Ellis

Water bugs are some of the most visually unpleasant household pests imaginable. These giant roach-like critters are disgusting to kill and even more unpleasant to live with.

Fortunately, in many cases your water bug problem can be easily resolved with some simple preventative measures that will render your home less inviting to these pests. Even if you prefer to avoid calling an exterminator, you can likely still rid your house of these pests on your own.

  1. Clean out unused areas of your house. If you have lots of empty boxes sitting around in an unused closet, unfinished basement or collecting moisture in your garage, then you have basically built a water bug resort and invited them in. Clearing out clutter will destroy their hiding places and make them far less likely to move into your home. Even if you need these areas for storage, a thorough dusting, sweeping and wiping down of surfaces can go a long way toward discouraging unwelcome guests.

  2. Run vinegar through your drains. Garage drains, dishwasher drains and the drains on the ground level of your home's showers, tubs and bathrooms are all very attractive to water bugs because of the organic matter that gets stuck in these moist areas. Run your dishwasher on empty with about a cup of vinegar instead of dish detergent, and pour several cups of vinegar down all of your other drains before stopping them temporarily with rags soaked in vinegar. If you are feeling really brave, remove the strainer on the drain and clean out the top 3 to 6 inches of pipe with your vinegar rag. It will be gross, but it will also discourage water bugs from taking up residence in that area.

  3. Trim back foliage from around all entrances to your home, including windows. Water bugs love the moist, damp soil and shady areas next to your house, and if these areas also provide access to your home, it is likely the bugs will invite themselves in.

  4. Protect your pet's food. If you have a cat or dog, their food needs to be sealed rather than simply stored in the bag it came in. Also, if your pet is a sloppy eater, get them a larger bowl to go around their food bowl so that you can clean up the mess easily rather than allowing small kibbles to get into the corners and attract water bugs.

  5. Call an exterminator. If your attempts to control the water bug population naturally fail, then you may need to bring in an exterminator. While you can do this yourself using off-the-shelf bug sprays, you run the risk of poisoning yourself and your pets in the process. Exterminators often have green solutions that will kill or drive away the bugs without hurting any members of your household.