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Homeowner’s Guide to Getting Rid of the Creepiest Bugs

No matter how hard you work to prevent them, bugs happen. So, what do you do when the creepy-crawlies get into your home or invade your yard and garden? Here are 30 ways to rid of some of the creepiest bugs for good.

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Centipedes don’t build nests, but they do prey on other household bugs such as spiders and ants, so never squish a centipede in your home. The best way to get rid of centipedes is to get rid of the household bugs they prey on. Do this by sealing off any cracks where pests enter your home, clean up food sources and make sure there isn’t excess moisture that many books seek out. Oh, and check out the best centipede traps to catch them in their hiding places.

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The best way to protect your home from fleas is to protect your pet with flea medications. If the fleas do get into your home, here’s how to get rid of the fleas: First, kill the fleas directly with a home-safe flea spray. Then, clean your house. Vacuum your furniture, curtains, carpets and anything made of fabric. Wash all your bed linens and towels.

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Caterpillars are often found in your garden, munching away on your prized flowers and vegetables. The best way to prevent caterpillars from eating your crops is to cover them with floating row covers. These are 10 easy vegetables every Midwest gardener should grow in their garden.

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ladybugLes Scholz/Shutterstock

Mexican Bean Beetle

Mexican Bean Beetles can be found in most states east of the Mississippi River, along with some western states. Adults lay larvae and eat the leaves of some of your favorite plants. If you’re looking for how to get rid of the bugs, try using floating row covers and hand-pick your crops as soon as they’re ready. You can also try using neem oil in the garden, which is another nice way to get rid of bugs.

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Japanese Beetles

These pests love to chew your favorite garden plants. To get rid of them, shake them from the plants as soon as you see them. You can also set out baited traps upwind of your garden on both sides, at least 30 feet away to help keep them away from your crops. Floating row covers can also help. Check out this radical response to one gardener’s Japanese Beetles.

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spiderAndrew Balcombe/Shutterstock

Spiders: Tip 1

Spiders prey on other insects so they are beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you always want them around. Here are the best ways to get rid of spiders.

You won’t get a house infestation unless their eggs just hatched, so removing them as you see them can be effective. Don’t forget to clean up cobwebs and seal up your house to keep them out.

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Spiders: Tip 2

Spiders love humid areas such as damp basements and bathrooms, so use a dehumidifier. Try to keep humidity levels around 40 percent to keep spiders at bay. Try these 11 strategies for do-it-yourself pest control.

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house flyMaxim Nikiforov/Shutterstock


There are several types of flies and they aren’t only annoying, they can carry disease. Here’s how to get rid of the bugs: Keep them away with scents they don’t like, such as mint, basil and bay. You can do this by growing these herbs or make a repellent spray with essential oils or learn how to make a fly trap with these tips.

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fruit flySylvie Bouchard/Shutterstock

Fruit Flies

If fruit flies are invading your kitchen, try this trick: Mix a small squirt of dish soap with some vinegar (apple cider vinegar works great) or even some wine. Place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Poke some holes in the top. The fruit flies will get in and become trapped. Do your own pest control with these tips.

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Termites can do some big-time damage to your home and can be difficult to get rid of. If you see these wood-chewing bugs, you need to act fast to get rid of termites. First, find the nest and set out poison to kill the queen and her workers. Next, seal all entry points to your home and create a barrier to repel or kill any termites that get too close.

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gnat. Kucharski K. Kucharska/Shutterstock


Gnats have short lifespans, so the trick here is to make sure you don’t give them a space to reproduce. Gnats love to linger around trash, so keep trash cans closed to keep them away. Follow these tips to get rid of gnats both inside and out.

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bed bugs7th Son Studio/Shutterstock

Bed Bugs

If you see bed bugs, it can be easy to panic, but you can get rid of these pests. Hiring a pro can set you back hundreds of dollars. If you go it alone, you’ll need to bag and wash all clothes and bedding. You’ll need to clean everything including your mattress, furniture and baseboards. You’ll need to spray a bug killer and bag your mattress. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the right track to eliminating bed bugs.

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cockroachYewLoon Lam/Shutterstock


To eliminate cockroaches, you’ll need to get rid of their food supply. You can also limit their hiding spots which can include stacks of paper such as magazines and newspapers. Also, try to keep your floors clear when possible.

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antJukkapong Piyarom/Shutterstock

Ants: Tip 1

If you see an ant, don’t step on it! One of the easiest ways to get rid of ants is to keep your home clean and deter them from setting up shop. Make sure counters are wiped down and garbage isn’t left out.

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sprayFamily Handyman

Ants: Tip 2

Where there is one ant, there are likely many more. Ants leave a scented trail others follow, so try eliminating that scent. Mopping doesn’t always work, so try one part vinegar mixed with three parts water in a spray bottle. Spray it wherever you see ants.

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foodFamily Handyman

Ants: Tips 3

Try to find the best ant bait. Since ants’ tastes change during the year, you may have to work to determine what they want. Try setting out sugar or honey, peanut butter or a leftover piece of fried food. Once you determine their preference, set out a toxic ant bait geared to their taste. You’ll see descriptions on ant bait packages at your local hardware store.

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antsFamily Handyman

Ants: Tip 4

With ants, you need to wipe out the colony. Toxic ant baits do this well as the worker ants will take the toxin back to their colonies to kill others, including the queen. Liquid bait works great for this.

Getting rid of ants is just one of 125 things homeowners must know.

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deterrentFamily Handyman

Ants: Tip 5

Another way to kill an ant colony is to use an insecticide. If you find an ant nest outside, just spray an ant insecticide directly on it. If you located a nest in the wall of your home, you can drill an 1/8-inch hole and squirt some insecticide in the cavity. Try this method while also using ant bait to wipe out the colony.

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aceFamily Handyman

Ants: Tip 6

Try using hydraulic cement to stop ants cold. If you find ants are getting into your home through a gap in your foundation, just use hydraulic cement which sets up in five minutes to seal up the hole. Since it hardens quickly, be sure to mix it in small batches.

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Ticks are dangerous to humans and to pets as they carry diseases. Check for ticks every time you come in from outside. To keep ticks out of your yard and home, create a lawn ledge using gravel paths, mulch, decking, tile or stone. Here are some top tips to keep ticks away from your home.

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waspJeff W. Jarrett/Shutterstock


Stinging wasps can set up shop in your gutters and eves and make yard work difficult. The trick in how to get rid of these bugs is to get to the nest before it gets too big. Try using a wasp and hornet killing spray found at hardware stores and garden centers. Spray it directly on the nest after sunset as this is when the wasps are usually inside and less active. Detour bees and wasps and identify which is which.

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boxelderJason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock

Box Elders

Box elders like to swarm in the fall and while they are harmless, the last thing you want is for them to take over your house. To get rid of the swarms, just spray a strong solution of soapy water. Try these bug-busting solutions.

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Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are mostly harmless, even though they look ferocious. They are defensive about their territory but rarely sting. They like to build tunnel-like nests inside deck wood and under your eves. To get rid of them, spray an insecticide designed for carpenter bees at the entrance of the hole. Do this at dusk, then use caulk to fill it shut 24 hours later. Try this soda-bottle bee trap.

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yellow jacketSean McVey/Shutterstock

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets love to dive-bomb us when you least expect it, like when you’re taking a bite out of your hot dog during a summer barbecue. Try killing their underground nests by pouring soapy water down the hole. Also, cover trash and any outdoor pet food. If the nest is above ground, try an aerosol wasp and hornet spray. These are the best bee friendly plants to have in your yard.

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Meal Moths

Meal moths, often known as pantry moths, love to get into food such as flour, beans and dried fruit. They also eat through pet food and even your Christmas ornaments. These moths don’t carry disease, so you can eat the food after you pick out the dead bodies and freeze the food for at least four days. Or, just pitch it! To prevent them, use sturdy containers with sealed lids and try these 11 no-pantry solutions on a budget.

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Christmas Tree Bugs

It may be hard to think about, but your Christmas tree from your favorite tree farm is likely crawling with bugs. While these bugs are usually harmless, you can prevent these critters from taking up residence in your home by using a bug barrier spray. You can also try spraying your tree with soap and water to suffocate the bugs.

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jarFamily Handyman

Slugs: Tip 1

If you’re losing the battle against slugs in your garden, try cornmeal. Just put some in a jar and tip the jar on its side near your vegetables. Slugs will eat the cornmeal yet they can’t digest it so they’ll die. Here are more tips on getting rid of common pests.

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SLUG Romashka D/Shutterstock

Slugs: Tip 2

Another way to get rid of slugs is to scatter abrasive materials around your plants. Try using pine needles or crushed eggshells. You can also place tin cans filled with a few inches of beer into the ground. This will attract the slugs and then they will drown.

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lady beetleMelinda Fawver/Shutterstock

Asian Lady Beetles

Asian lady beetles can become troublesome as they prey on some beneficial insects. To keep them away, try using whole cloves or bay leaves as they don’t like the scent. Just place them in heavily infested areas to discourage them.

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annihilatorFamily Handyman

A Mix of Bugs

Annihilator is a product that lasts for 30 days when sprayed and can kill bugs on contact. It works well for wiping out wasps, Asian lady beetles and box elder bugs. However, it is toxic to bees and fish so be wary of using them near ponds, lakes or gardens. Plus: Steer very clear of these most dangerous bugs around.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.