Basement Bug Identification: 12 Bugs You Can Find in a Basement

Have you ever noticed a strange and unfamiliar pest in your basement? Chances are, it could be one of many types of basement bugs. So, whether you’re concerned about the occasional crawlies that make their way into your living spaces or worried about an infestation, we are here to help! Learning basement bug identification is essential.

We’ll help you figure out which type of bug lurks in your basement. Plus, what is the best course of action is. In this blog post, we will provide pictures and critical observations to help identify 10 common bugs found commonly found in basements across the United States.

What are Common Basement Bugs?

Basements are great storage spaces but can also be home to some unwanted guests: bugs. These common basement bugs have a talent for sneaking into dark corners and hiding in cracks and crevices.

Some common basement bugs include silverfish, spiders, termites, cockroaches, centipedes, and pillbugs. By understanding the different types of basement bugs, you can keep your storage space tidy and free of unwanted roommates.

Common Signs of a Basement Infestation

Uh-oh, have you been noticing strange activity in your basement lately? If so, it might be time to check for a potential infestation. In addition, common signs of a basement infestation include droppings, gnaw marks, and strange smells. If you come across any of these, it’s best to pay attention to them.

A basement infestation can compromise the structural integrity of your home and even pose health risks to you and your family. Luckily, there are steps you can take to tackle the problem.

Some of these include setting traps and enlisting the help of a professional exterminator. Don’t let an infestation take over your home – take action today to keep your basement pest-free!

Basement Bugs Identification List

Here we’ll go over 12 different types of basement bugs and what to do if you find one.

Roaches – Basement Bugs Identification & Prevention Tips

Roaches - Basement Bugs Identification & Prevention Tips

Roaches are one of the number one pests you’ll find in basements. Likely because this is where it’s damp, and often, they come out of the sewer drain.

While there are many different species of roaches, the most common are the German, American, and Oriental roaches. On occasion you may see a water bug in your basement, which are not actually roaches, they are a different species.

Learn more about the differences between water bugs and roaches here.

How to Identify

  • Spiny Legs
  • Reddish Brown Body
  • Long Antennae
  • Wings (some species)

How to Eliminate Roaches in the Basement

  • Use bait like Advion.
  • Reduce clutter, like boxes and hiding spots.
  • Keep food out of the basement.
  • Pour a teaspoon of bleach down the drains each night.
  • Make sure you seal all garbage.
  • Clean out all litter boxes every night because cockroaches feast on kitty litter. Learn the answer to “What do cockroaches eat” and more.

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Centipedes – Common Bug In Basement Identification & Prevention Tips

Centipedes - Common Bug In Basement Identification

If you’ve ever encountered a centipede, you know how creepy these critters can be. With their numerous legs and quick movements, it’s no wonder they frighten people.

The common house centipede is a beneficial hunter; it eats other insects like cockroaches and booklice. While most are harmless, a few species can deliver a painful bite. These simple steps let you keep centipedes at bay and enjoy a bug-free home.

How to Identify

  • Lots of feathery legs for the house centipede.
  • Depending on the species, they can also have bright colors
  • The house centipede is greyish.

How to Eliminate Centipedes in the Basement

  • Inspect Your Basement for Moisture – Centipedes prefer damp and dark areas, so check for water leaks and other sources of moisture in your basement.

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  • Seal Any Cracks and Gaps – Sealing up any cracks or gaps in walls or window frames will help prevent more centipedes from entering the basement.
  • Use Natural Repellents – Set up natural repellents such as peppermint, Wondercide, and citrus peels to deter centipedes from entering your basement. (although the house centipedes will hunt and eat other insects like roaches, so you may not want to repel them)

You May Also Like This Article on: Tiny Bugs in the Bathroom


Bed Bugs – Identification & Prevention Tips

Can Bed Bugs be in a basement

Can bed bugs be in a basement? Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that nobody wants in their home. We find them in areas where humans sleep, such as beds and couches.

However, they can get into a basement if this is where you do laundry. You can quickly transfer a lone bed bug to your basement if it has a laundry where you wash bed bug-infested items.

How to Identify

  • A reddish-brown bug between 1.5-7 mm (depending on when they last had a blood meal.
  • You’ll see bed bug droppings that can turn up as black spots on walls.
  • The bed bug may wander around, looking for a blood meal.

How to Eliminate Bed Bugs in the Basement

  • If you sleep in the basement, you’ll need professional treatment for bed bugs.
  • Seeing random bed bugs in the basement is a tell tale sign for infestation somewhere.
  • Look for the source; if you find the source, you’ll eliminate the bed bugs in the basement.


Termites – Common Basement Bugs Identification & Prevention Tips

Termites - Common Basement Bugs Identification & Prevention Tips

Termites are wood-destroying insects that are attracted to damp, dark environments. Basements are often the perfect often unseen breeding ground for termites, providing the moisture and warmth these pests need to thrive.

Furthermore, Termites can travel underground and find their way into your basement. If you have untreated wood in your basement, such as support beams or wooden furniture, termites may see your basement as a prime target for infestation.

Furthermore termites are infamous for their ability to cause significant damage to wooden structures. Plus, if left unchecked, they can compromise the structural integrity of your home.

How to Identify

  • Termites are small, winged destructive insects that are often mistaken for ants. However, termites have straight antennae, a broad waist, and two pairs of wings that are equal in length. Learn more: Carpenter ants vs termites.

  • Unlike ants, termites are a pale or creamy color, while ants are typically darker. Learn more about the differences here.

  • Identifying termites means looking for signs of infestation, such as mud tubes or tunnels on your walls or floors. You may also notice small piles of sawdust or discarded wings near wooden structures.

How to Eliminate Termites in the Basement

  • Start by removing any sources of moisture in your basement, such as leaky pipes or standing water. Termites thrive in damp environments, so reducing moisture levels can help deter them from infesting your home.

  • Consider using a termite baiting system to eliminate termites in your basement. These systems use bait stations that contain a slow-acting toxin that termites will carry back to their colony, effectively wiping out the entire infestation.

  • If you have a severe/noticeable termite infestation in your basement, it’s about time to call a professional pest control service. A termite specialist can assess the extent of the wood damage and recommend the best course of action to eliminate termites and prevent them from coming back.


Booklice -Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Booklice -Basement Bug Identification

Booklice, or psocids, are tiny insects commonly found in damp, humid environments like basements. Furthermore these pests are attracted to moisture and can often be located near leaky pipes or moist areas.

While they don’t directly threaten humans or pets, booklice can be a nuisance, primarily if they infest your books or other paper materials. Due to their size and light color, some people mistake them for bed bug nymphs.

How to Identify

  • Booklice are tiny insects about the size of a pinhead (1 mm). They are usually light brown or cream-colored and have long, slender bodies.
  • Unlike other bugs named “lice,” booklice do not feed on blood. Instead, they feed on mold and mildew that grows on damp paper materials like books and cardboard boxes.

How to Reduce Booklice in the Basement

  • The first step is to reduce the moisture and mold issues. Booklice cannot service in low humidity, so once you address the humidity level, the booklice will decrease in numbers. A dehumidifier can help.

  • De-clutter your basement. Remove boxes that can hold moisture and mold; instead, use airtight snap bins, like the IRIS USA 19 Quart WEATHERPRO.

Spiders – Identification & Basement Prevention Tips

Spiders - Identification & basement Prevention Tips

Spiders are wonderful creatures that play an essential role in the ecosystem. However, many people shudder at the thought of encountering them in their basements.

Identifying different types of spiders can be helpful when trying to prevent them from entering your living space. Vacuum regularly in your basement, seal gaps or cracks in your home’s foundation, and turn outdoor lights off at night.

Spiders are predators and eat many other insects. By implementing these spider prevention tips, you can enjoy a spider-free home while still appreciating these fascinating creatures from a safe distance. However, keep in mind that if you eliminate all the spiders, other insects may start increasing in numbers.

How to Identify

  • Look for an eight-legged creature with a rounded body.
  • Brown recluse spiders have a violin-shaped mark on their back.
  • The house spider is grey and white.
  • The daddy’s long leg is grey with long spindly legs.

How to Reduce Spiders in the Basement

  • Reduce moisture levels in the basement to deter spiders from staying
  • Vacuuming in all cracks and crevices regularly.
  • Seal cracks or gaps around the walls and window frames to prevent spiders from entering.


Ants – Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Ants - Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Ants are social insects attracted to food, water, and shelter. Basements provide the perfect environment for ants to thrive, as they are often dark, cool, and damp.

More importantly, If you have any food or water sources in your basement, such as pet food or leaky pipes, ants may see your basement as an ideal place to nest.

Furthermore, ants are known for squeezing through the tiniest cracks and crevices, making it easy for them to enter your home undetected. Once they establish a colony in your basement, they can quickly become a nuisance, invading your home and contaminating your food.

How to Identify

  • Ants are tiny insects that are typically black, brown, or red. They have a distinct head, thorax, abdomen, and six legs.
  • If you suspect that you have ants in your basement, look for trails of ants moving back and forth between their nest site and a food source.

How to Get Rid of Ants in the Basement

  • Start by sealing up any cracks or gaps in your basement walls, windows, and doors to block ants from entering in the first place.
  • Do some investigative work and look for trails of ants because finding out where they are coming in is imperative to eliminate them.

  • Use natural repellents like vinegar, lemon juice, or peppermint oil to deter ants from entering your basement. These repellents are safe and effective and won’t harm you or your family.
  • Consider using Terro ant baits to eliminate ants in your basement. These baits contain a slow-acting poison that ants will carry back to their colony, effectively wiping out the entire infestation.

Just keep the baits out of reach of children and pets. It’s what I personally use to combat ants, it works like a charm, but you need to give it time and place it in the ant’s path.


Silverfish – Identification & Prevention Tips

Silverfish in the Basement - What to do

Silverfish thrive in dark and damp areas, and they are a common basement bug. They can quickly enter small cracks and crevices, making your basement the perfect environment for them to hide.

How to Identify

  • Identify silverfish by their long, slender bodies with three tails and two antennae.
  • Look for grey or silver coloring on the fish, ranging from light to dark shades.
  • Observe them moving quickly in a fish-like manner, darting from one area to another.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in the Basement

  • Vacuum up crumbs and debris and regularly clean baseboards, corners, and other areas. Don’t leave things lying around that silverfish can feed on.

  • Get rid of all boxes that are in the basement. Instead, store your things in airtight snap bins like the IRIS USA 19 Quart WEATHERPRO Plastic Storage Boxes. These bins will also prevent mold and mildew from contaminating your items.
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  • Seal up entry points to your basement, such as the windows, pipes, and other small cracks in walls or foundations.


Stink Bugs – Identification & Prevention Tips

Stink Bugs - A Common Basement Pest

Did you know that stink bugs are common in basements, especially during the fall and winter months? Stink bugs in NY or any city are attracted to warm, dark spaces, making your basement the perfect hideaway.

If you’ve noticed an influx of stink bugs in your basement, don’t worry! While they may seem harmless, stink bugs can quickly become a nuisance, emitting a foul odor when disturbed or crushed.

Although stink bugs tend to eat outdoor plants, they may decide to make your basement their winter home. Learn more about what stink bugs eat.

How to Identify

  • Stink bugs have a distinctive shield-shaped body, with six legs and two antennae.
  • Their coloration can vary, but most stink bugs are brown or green and have a mottled or speckled appearance.
  • Stink bugs emit a strong, unpleasant odor when disturbed, often described as a cross between cilantro and skunk spray.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in the Basement

  • Start by sealing up any cracks or gaps in your basement walls, windows, and doors to prevent stink bugs from entering in the first place. You’ll want to seal from the outside perimeter.

  • Use natural repellents like lemongrass and peppermint oil to deter stink bugs from hanging around your basement. These repellents are safe and effective and won’t harm you or your family.

  • If you already have a stink bug infestation in your basement, consider using a vacuum to suck them up and dispose of them outside. Just empty the vacuum bag immediately after use to avoid any lingering odors.


Crickets – Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Crickets - Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Crickets are attracted to warm, damp environments, making basements an ideal place to thrive. More importantly, they are often drawn to the moisture accumulating in basements.

Furthermore, If you have any light sources in your basement, such as windows or light fixtures, crickets may be attracted to them and gather in large numbers.

However, crickets are not known to infest basements; if one gets in, it’s probably random. Keep in mind that they are one of the common bugs that look like roaches to some of our clients.

How to Identify

  • Crickets are small, winged insects that are typically brown or black. They have long antennae and hind legs that are adapted for jumping.
  • If you suspect that you have crickets in your basement, listen for their distinctive chirping sound. Male crickets use their wings to produce a chirping noise often heard at night.

  • Crickets are attracted to bright light, so if you have any lit up windows in your basement, you may notice crickets gathering near them. Finally, they are also attracted to moisture, so look for signs of dampness or water damage in your basement.

How to Get Rid of Crickets in the Basement

  • Start by reducing moisture levels in your basement, as crickets are attracted to damp environments. Fix leaky pipes or standing water, and use a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • Seal up entry points.


Fleas – Basement Bug Identification & Prevention Tips

Fleas - in the Basement

Fleas are slender, wingless, jumping insects that feed on the blood of animals, including feral cats, wildlife, and pets. Basements can provide the perfect environment for fleas to thrive, especially if you have pets that spend time outdoors.

Moreover, fleas can readily hitch a ride on your pet’s fur and enter your home, where they can quickly establish a colony. If you have a warm basement with low levels of light, fleas’ eggs may drop off unnoticed and start the cycle.

Furthermore, we have an entire article dedicated to answering the question, “How long do fleas live without a host?”

How to Identify

  • Small (up to 3 mm) reddish brown insects.
  • You’ll see your pets scratching.

How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Basement

  • Start by thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming your basement, paying particular attention to areas where your pets spend time. Using a vacuum for fleas will help remove fleas and their eggs hiding in your home.

  • Put all pets, bedding, rugs, and fabrics through the high-heat dryer.
  • Treat your pets with a flea-preventative medication, such as topical or oral. Flea prevention will reduce the chances of your pets bringing fleas into your home in the first place.


Woodlouse (Pill Bugs) – Basement Bugs Identification & Prevention Tips

Woodlouse (Pill Bugs) - Basement Bug Identification

Woodlice, also known as roly polies, pillbugs or sowbugs, are not insects but small crustaceans often found in damp environments like basements. More importantly, look for the bend in their antenna for help with ID.

While they don’t directly threaten humans or pets, woodlice can be a nuisance, primarily if they infest your basement. Not only that but woodlice produce a strong smelly ammonia gas that emits through their outer shell.

In addition, they are known for their ability to roll up into a ball when threatened, so they are often called pillbugs or roly-polies. Moreover, they are more closely related to lobsters and crabs than to insects.

How to Identify

  • Woodlice are small, grey or brown crustaceans about the size of a pea. They have a segmented body and seven pairs of legs.
  • The antennae on woodlice are bent.

  • If you suspect woodlice in your basement, look for signs of infestation, such as small, grey, or brown bugs crawling on your walls or floors. You may also notice small, white eggs or shed skins, which are signs that woodlice are reproducing in your home.

How to Get Rid of Woodlouse in the Basement

  • Remove any sources of moisture in your basement, such as leaky pipes or standing water. If you have foundational drainage issues, you’ll want to address them. Woodlice thrive in damp environments, so reducing moisture levels can help deter them from infesting your home.

  • Use a natural repellent like cedar chips or eucalyptus oil to deter woodlice from entering your basement. More importantly, these substances are safe and effective and won’t harm you or your family.

  • Consider using a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in your basement. The dehumidifier can help create an environment less hospitable to woodlice and other pests.

Final Thoughts for Basement Bugs: Identification

By understanding the common basement bugs, their signs, and preventative solutions, you can ensure that your basement doesn’t become home to various creepy crawlies. Roaches, centipedes, bed bugs, spiders, and all the others, have distinct identifying factors and prevention tips.

Furthermore, other wildlife creatures, like rodents, may invade basements, so it’s also essential to be on the lookout for those. Identifying the type of bug you’re dealing with is the first step in taking back control of your basement. Start investing in quality pest control methods before your home becomes seriously infested.


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