How to identify bugs in your home – Real Homes

Need to identify bugs making your house a home? If you're not sure which creepy crawler you're dealing with, we've got you covered with our pest checklist.

Our homes are plagued by unwanted household guests, seen and unseen, throughout the year. Keeping certain pests at bay can be more about limiting their numbers; others can be dispatched with natural remedies, good cleaning routines (like those on our cleaning hub) and sensible measures; and some will only really leave if you call in the professionals.

Martha Stewart puts it perfectly on her blog.'Of all the things that can have you feeling uneasy in your own home, discovering you have a (bug) problem is high up on the list.'

And it'll make you feel even more uneasy if you don't know what type of insect is haunting your halls.

Let us guide you through how to identify common bug invaders and the typical signs of each pest.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Figuring out which of the most common household pests is bugging you starts with identifying the culprits.

One of the creepiest you'll have the pleasure of welcoming in is the dreaded bedbug. Before you can start tackling them, you'll need to know, once and for all, whether you have an infestation.

As it's highly unlikely that you'll ever see your bed bugs, here are some sure-fire signs that you could be dealing with the little critters:

Termites are good at hiding, and they make it pretty hard to spot their presence until it's too late. Noticing the signs early on will make getting rid of them a lot easier.

Alice Shaw-Beckett from Cleanipedia explains, 'Termites can cause serious structural damage to your home by chewing through wood. A professional exterminator may be the best way to remove termites, but you can prevent their access to your home by sealing up cracks and gaps in your walls and keeping wood (like lumber) away from your houses foundations.'

If you suspect you might have termites, check our warning signs:

(Image credit: Getty )

(Image credit: Getty )

Cockroaches are mostly seen in warm, wet climates, but you do occasionally come across them in cooler places if food has been regularly left out (perhaps there's a dirty takeaway next door?). Carrying various horrible diseases, they are a guest you do not want.

Martha Stewart explains: 'Roaches usually enter homes in paper products such as bags or cardboard boxes, and they prefer to seek refuge in dark, damp places with plenty to eat.'

Alice Shaw-Beckett adds, 'Cockroaches are attracted to food and bodily fluid stains on clothing, and the best way to deter these creepy-crawlies is by washing your clothes thoroughly and not letting soiled clothing pile up.Dampness and wet areas in the house can also attract cockroaches, so watch out for leaking pipes.'

Do you suspect you have a cockroach problem? Here are the signs to look out for:

Hard-to-spot and harmless pests like ants tend to find their way into the house in summer, usually in search of food.

That said, who wants an army of ants making themselves at home in their house? We'll take a guess that that's nobody.

Take a look at the signs of an ant infestation.

There are over 25 different species of ants that invade your home. In general, there are a few main distinct identifying features that differentiate ants from other insects.

Tiny, microscopic insects, they feed on our shed skin and love pet dander too. They are invisible and don't bother most of us, despite living, feeding and excreting in our beds, sofas and soft furnishings.

However, in others, they can cause allergic reactions so here are the signs to look out for:

Dust mites are microscopic arthropods, estimated to measure 1/4 to 1/3 mms long. You can really only see them under a microscope, and even then, theylook liketiny white spider-likecreatures.

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These pests are usually brought into the house by your dog or cat. Fleas feed on dirt and by sucking blood from animals and us humans. Their bites aren't harmful but they are itchy and annoying.

They breed quickly, with one female laying up to 20 eggs that can hatch within a couple of days.

Here are the flea signs to look out for:

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Like ants, flies tend to appear in summer, attracted by the smell of food. We probably all know already that they carry up to two million bacteria on their bodies and liquefy their food by regurgitating digestive juices on to it; in doing so, they pass on gastro illnesses that cause stomach upsets. Nice.

Flies breed fast so time is of the essence. Here are a few signs of a fly infestation:

There are a plethora of different types of flying insect and within that category, there are dozens and dozens of different types of fly.

However, all flies have similar characteristics which we'll outline below.

Carpet beetles can be extremely hard to spot. Living under floorboards or in vents or hide in cracks and crevices in carpets, furniture, clothing, and other textiles.

The adults can fly and lay up to 100 eggs at a time meaning that an infestation can take hold in a relatively short space of time... but its the larvae from the eggs that do the damage, so you wont necessarily spot a carpet beetle itself, but the trail of devastations they leave behind.

Here are the top signs to look out for:

Harmless little pests, still, you don't want to share a bath with one.

They're attracted to damp places, such as bathrooms and kitchens, and will feed on the glue in wallpaper paste (really). Improving ventilation will reduce damp, making your rooms less attractive to them.

Martha Stewart recommends: 'These tiny silver-gray wingless insects often seek dark, warm, moist environments, such as attics, closets, and baseboards and around bathroom fixtures.'

(Image credit: Farm66)

We'll put it bluntly: like other common pests, spiders will inevitably make their way into your home.

We think spiders get a really bad rap because arachnophobia is so rife. They are actually pretty harmless, including the poisonous varieties that tend not to bite unless provoked.

Here are the top signs of a spider infestation:

There are about 7 common spiders that live in your home. All of which have similar characteristics:

Keep spiders at bay by cleaning away their food source of dead flies, woodlice, millipedes, centipedes and other crawling insects. Remove webs.

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We've all had a wasp sting at some point, which makes them such unwelcome pests, particularly when we're trying to dine al-fresco in the garden. Bear in mind that in early autumn, they are more docile but their sting is just as painful.

Finding a wasp nest in your house is another matter altogether.

Here are the signs that a wasp nest is in your home:

There are quite a few different types of wasp so we'll lay out the difference between wasps and their more dangerous relatives, the hornet and yellow jacket to help you in your quest. Common wasps are large buzzing insects with yellow and black striped, wasp-waisted bodies.

Here's a little more on each of them:

(Image credit: Getty)

Woodworm infestations arent caused by worms but by wood-eating larvae or grubs that hatch from the eggs of different species of beetle the common furniture beetle being the most prevalent in the UK.

The beetles lay their eggs from April through to September, typically on or just under the surface of wooden items, such as floorboards or antique furniture, though they can also infest modern laminate flooring and flat-packed items.

Here are a few signs of a woodworm infestation:

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How to identify bugs in your home - Real Homes

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