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6 Steps Get Rid of Bugs in Your Basement


Many homeowners view their basement as a dark, musty place to avoid. But for bugs, it’s like the promised land.

You may avoid your Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, or Illinois basement at all costs because of the basement bugs that lurk down there. 

But when it all gets to be too much, you begin to search for ways to eradicate them and make sure they never return.

In this blog, we’ll explain why bugs are attracted to basements, what kind of bugs you might be finding, and how you can use basement waterproofing to get rid of basement bugs for good.  

Why Do Bugs Like Basements?

The answer is simple. Bugs like basements because they’re dark, dingy, humid, and filled with clutter.

Bugs need moisture in order to survive, and they have an instinctive need to take shelter in the dark. Plus, we can’t get to them when we can’t see them.  

If you’re dealing with an excessively dark and highly humid basement, you likely have a bug issues. Basements without any sort of waterproofing protection present an easy water source for basement bugs to thrive and survive.  

Top 7 Kind of Bugs That Love Your Basement

In the Midwestern to middle US, namely Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas, there’s a certain profile of bugs that tend to rule dingy basements. Many of them depend on weather, but they’re all in search of shelter from tumultuous weather.

Here are some common pests you might find in your basement.  


1. Springtails.

When springtails take root in your home, they don’t just come one by one. They come in bunches and can infest your basement—by the numbers, they can be counted as 100,000 per cubic meter (approximately 35 cubic feet). They’re characterized by their tiny, slender bodies. 


2. Roaches.

Roaches are extremely adaptable creatures that are great at hiding and thrive in the dark. If you spot one roach, there are likely to be more hidden behind the scenes. They’re attracted to water and food sources, and can spread disease, worsen asthma, and give off a nasty stench.


3. Silverfish.

Silverfish are known to be spotted in wet or damp areas of the home—namely the bathroom, sink, and the basement. They’re quick critters and can slither out of your grasp if you aren’t nimble enough.


4. Termites.

Termites are small but mighty in groups—and are commonly feared by homeowners far and wide. When they infiltrate your basement, they can completely destroy your wooden structural supports. 

5. Camel Crickets

Camel crickets are tannish brown bugs with long, bendy legs, and a humpback. When it gets to be too hot and dry outside, they take shelter in your damp, dark basement. These bugs come out at night.  

6. Spiders

Spiders, like all basement bugs, are notoriously attracted to darkness and clutter. It presents the perfect place for them to take shelter and weave webs where they can catch other critters in the basement. While it’s true that spiders can help regulate other bugs sneaking into your house, the ultimate goal is to not deal with any of them.

basement centipede

7. Centipedes.

Centipedes can have over 100 legs, which they use to creep and crawl in your basement. If they’re large enough, centipedes can bite humans causing a painful sting. They take shelter in your home in search of moisture and darkness.

How Do I Get Rid of Bugs in My Basement? 

If you’re dealing with an infestation, pest control is your best bet for immediate relief.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. Pests aren’t a satellite issue—if they’re flocking to your basement, it’s because you have major moisture issues that need to be fixed. If you want to get rid of pests in your home and keep it that way, you’ll need to make your basement an unattractive place for pests. Otherwise, you’ll end up making multiple calls to pest control over time.  

Check out the below tips and solutions you can use to turn your basement into a place where pests won’t go.  

organized shelves

1. De-Clutter

Whether you’ve already called pest control, or don’t need to, organizing your basement is a great way to discourage pests from hiding in the basement. Clearing items off the floor, placing valuables in air-tight containers, and shop vacuuming debris or water is a great start. Pests are less likely to expose themselves out in the open. When you remove their best hiding places, you may see them less.  

spider webs

2. Clean Out Their Bug Dwellings 

Cleaning out spider webs and other nasty corners where bugs are known to creep and crawl. You can also lay bug traps in areas where you see them pop up. By removing their safe space, they’ll have to rebuild and potentially move on after enough times of cleaning. This can discourage them from laying eggs or building colonies.  

dehumidifier in the basement

3. Have a Dehumidifier Installed 

Do dehumidifiers keep bugs away? Over time, yes. They won’t do what pest control can do, but they for sure make your basement a reasonably dry environment that pests have no business in. Pests thrive in areas with heavy condensation and high humidity.

A dehumidifier works to regulate the humidity levels in your basement, improving not only the quality of air in your home, but your experience with pests.  

4. Interior Drainage Systems and Sump Pump 

Standing water can be the main culprit for mold, condensation, and nasty smells—all of which make a happy home for basement bugs. But when water is intruding in your basement—you don’t have to sit there and take it. Interior drainage systems can collect water building up on your basement walls or in the soil around your basement, and redirect it to a sump pump, which will force it out of your home. These systems work around the clock to ensure that you don’t have to deal with standing water—and therefore unwelcome bug guests.  

essential oils

5. Use Aromas That Deter Basement Bugs

It’s worth noting that using scents to deter bugs will not solve your problem. But it can enliven your basement while also creating a less welcoming environment for pests.

Bugs will go where the smells are dingy and moist. Scents like lavender, peppermint, tea tree, or eucalyptus can repel bugs like spiders, roaches, mosquitos, and more.  

basement with vapor barrier

6. Wall Vapor Barriers 

Vapor barriers are another method of controlling the moisture levels in your basement.

With a vapor barrier, you may see a noticeable difference in the amount of condensation in your basement—or lack thereof. Vapor barriers create an inhospitable environment for bugs, since they create a clean and dry appearance on the walls.  

Get Rid of Bugs in Basement with Basement Waterproofing 

Bugs may rule your basement now—but by taking the right steps to waterproof, you’ll soon be king of the castle.

At Foundation Recovery Systems, we can pinpoint the source of your bug-attracting moisture issues, and stop it at the source. Our trained professionals will inspect your home completely free of charge, then explain exactly what’s going on. Then, we’ll provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for repairs. 

Waiting and trying DIY-tricks on your basement bugs will only hold you over for so long.

Play the long game, and opt for basement waterproofing for a bug-free basement, today.  


It’s a good idea to inspect your basement for bugs seasonally, especially during spring and fall when pests are more likely to seek shelter. Regular checks will help you spot and address any issues early on.

For large infestations, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service. They can accurately identify the type of pests, locate their source, and provide a comprehensive treatment plan.

Signs of an infestation include seeing live or dead insects, finding droppings or body parts, noticing damaged materials, or experiencing musty odors and increased allergy symptoms.

Leah Leitow

Leah Leitow

Content Writer

Leah is a Content Writer for Groundworks with nearly ten years of experience working in the foundation repair industry. Her experience ranges from working with homeowners to find the right solution to training inspectors and staff. In her background as a Michigan journalist, she gained invaluable insight into people's lives throughout our state. Leah lives in metro Detroit with her husband and two sons.

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