No matter how small or large your home, chances are there’s an unwelcome critter lurking somewhere.

And while they might not be harmful, it’s frightening to think household bugs could be breeding, causing allergic reactions or simply making a nuisance of themselves.


How to spot and get rid of insects in your home

Here’s how to be a bug detective and keep those creepy crawlies at bay…

1. The kitchen

The busiest room in the house is paradise-found to colonies of ants… they’re attracted to all types of food, especially sugary stuff.

Kitchen with ants in sugar

Once you’ve identified their entry point, you could try using natural home remedies to deter them, such as drawing a chalk line in front of the ant hole, or placing lemon peel there.

Otherwise, Mark Smithson, CEO of Marks Electrical, suggests peppermint oil: “Ants dislike the smell of peppermint. Mix around 10-15 drops into a mug of water and, if you add it to a spray bottle, you can spray this in problem areas. Repeat regularly.”

If all else fails, try an ant repellent such as Lemongrass Atomiser (£9.99, 500ml, Coopers of Stortford) which is eco-friendly and suitable for ant holes inside and outside the house.

Peppermint Atomiser
(Coppers of Stortford/PA)

Spiders also spike in springtime and similarly to ants, dislike strong scents so citrus, peppermint oil, mint or lavender might deter them; otherwise you could try Peppermint Spider Repeller (£9.99, Coopers of Stortford).

2. The living room

“What’s known as ‘woodworm season’ typically runs from April to September, as this is when they’re most active,” says Steve Jameson, national operations manager for property preservation company Peter Cox.

“You should keep an eye out for holes about 1mm-2mm in diameter in wooden items such as furniture, floorboards, timber beams or window sills,” he continues. “You may also notice small piles of fine powdery dust (known as frass) near the holes, which indicates an active infestation.

Looking for woodworm on antique furniture

To lessen the chances of a wood-boring beetle infestation in your property, Jameson says to ventilate your home by opening windows to reduce moisture and humidity levels.

“Take care when bringing in second hand or antique wooden items into your home, making sure to check them carefully for any holes and take immediate action to treat the item if you spot any sign of an infestation,” advises Jameson. He says DIY products, like wax, oils and water-based preservatives, can help to kill the beetles and prevent further woodworm infestation.

If you think a wooden item or property you are considering buying has had a woodworm problem that’s already been professionally treated, Jameson says to ask to see a guarantee certificate for when the treatment took place. “They should come with at least a 10-year guarantee.”

3. The bedroom


Dust Off GIF by Zara Larsson - Find & Share on GIPHY


Another nasty, dust mites are the most common household allergen and love bedding and carpets – but they’re often missed because you can’t see them.

“These microscopic mites are a problem because they excrete enzymes in their faeces, which can cause an allergic reaction, resulting in skin rashes and other unpleasant symptoms,” says Steve Payne, sleep hygiene expert at Sleep and Snooze.

“They multiple easily in our warm bedding, feasting on flakes of dead skin and hair,” explains Payne. “They can trigger unpleasant year-round symptoms, so it’s worth taking the time to rid your bed of them as part of your spring clean.”

He says there’s no point cleaning your mattress of mites if they’re living in your sheets, so first remove all your bedding and put it through a high-temperature wash to kill off any mites.

Woman using dust mites vacuum cleaner

“The easiest and most economic way to clear dust mites from your mattress is to use baking soda and a vacuum cleaner,” suggests Payne.

“Simply sprinkle baking soda across the surface of any fabric mattress and leave it for 15 minutes to an hour, then vacuum the baking soda off the bed, making sure to get it all from between any crevices.”

He says to help tackle this, ensure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to contain the mites, rather than inadvertently spreading them around the rest of your home.

4. The Bathroom

Long-tailed silverfish in bathroom

Sophie Thorogood from the technical team at eco-friendly pest control brand Green Protect says: “In these humid areas, pests such as silverfish, German cockroaches and booklice can thrive due to the high level of moisture in the air. Therefore, the first thing to do is eliminate sources of moisture wherever possible.

“You can do this by using a dehumidifier, having a properly working extractor fan, ventilating the room and hanging up damp laundry and towels,” suggests Thorogood. “Additionally, any damaged tiles or cracks in the room should be fixed and repaired as they can provide harbourage spots for the pests.”

She recommends trying Green Protect Silverfish Killer Trap (£7.86, Pack of 2, Espares), but says German cockroaches are difficult to treat, and a professional should always be called in.


Bugs GIF by Max Litvinov - Find & Share on GIPHY


“If not adequately managed, the infestation can spread to other areas including kitchens. If you live in an apartment building, neighbouring properties can also be affected,” Thorogood warns.

5. The utility room and/or airing cupboard

“Moths like warm, dark and undisturbed places, making utility rooms and airing cupboards the perfect hiding place for them to feed and breed in your home,” says Paul Blackhurst, technical academy head at Rentokil Pest Control.

“The textile-loving species can irreparably damage garments and soft furnishings, and they particularly enjoy feasting on non-synthetic materials such as wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt and leather.”


Alfredo Diaz Fly GIF by Achievement Hunter - Find & Share on GIPHY


He says in order to get rid of the larvae to prevent further infestation, it’s important to wash the infested fabric at a minimum of 55C. For those fabrics that require a lower temperature wash, Blackhurst says you can always store them in the freezer for a few weeks to eradicate the larvae.

“As with any pest problem, prevention is key, but if you do have a moth problem in the home, it’s wise to seek professional help,”  says Blackhurst.

Best-selling insect spray

Want to get rid of creepy crawlies? Check out our list of best-selling insect sprays on Amazon.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Rentokil RKLPS136 Insectrol Insect Killer 250ml Aerosol
  • Offers long lasting protection
  • Kills fleas, ants, cockroaches, earwigs, bedbugs and most other crawling insects within the home
  • Contains permethrin and d-alethic
SaleBestseller No. 2
Zero In ZER905 Total Insect Killer (300 ml Aerosol, Fast-Acting Control Treatment, Targets Bugs Such...
  • Total insect killer spray controls flying and crawling bugs such as flies, midges, ants, wasps and mosquitoes
  • Fact-acting insect spray is suitable for use indoors in the home
  • Multi-purpose treatment kills insects on contact, can be sprayed in rooms or directly onto surfaces
Bestseller No. 3
ARDAP Pest Control Spray 750 ml - With immediate and long-term effects - Insect spray to combat...
  • Pest control Spray: Practical universal preparation for combating all types of vermin and insects with an immediate and long-term effect of up to six weeks - an effective remedy for at home
  • Spider repellent: Always an all-round talent: The spray helps with acute vermin infestation in the household, utility rooms or animal surroundings such as stables and also keeps all insects away for a...
  • The killing effect on flies occurs immediately after contact with the active ingredient permethrin; It can be spread on wood, upholstery and in the room and dries spotlessly
Bestseller No. 4
C&G Home and Garden | Insect & Spider Spray 500ml Insecticide Repellent For Indoor And Outdoor...
  • AN ORGANIC INSECT & SPIDER SPRAY - An Eco Friendly Kind And Unique Insect and Pest Spray, Ideal Organic Protection Against Crawling and Flying Pests
  • IDEAL FOR WIDE RANGE OF SURROUNDINGS - Our Product Is Free Of Harmful Chemicals Which Can Cause Danger To Environment, Making It Suitable For Most Type Of Surroundings, Such As In And Around Houses,...
  • HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ORGANIC INSECT & SPIDER SPRAY - A Specialist Organic Natural Deterrent Blend Designed To Quickly Provide Protection Against Insects And Pests Indoor As Well As Outdoor, Such As...
Bestseller No. 5
InsectoKil Chemical Free Insect Killer Spray - Fast Acting, Natural Spray For Bed Bugs, Spiders,...
  • ✅ HIGHLY EFFECTIVE INSECT KILLER ➟ Have you been searching for an insect killer that is effective and is proven to get rid of your annoying insect problems? Well, Look No Further! That’s because...
  • ✅ PROTECT YOUR HOME ➟ Our spider spray is ideal for use against flying and crawling insects by application to hard and soft surfaces and furnishings, cracks and crevices, around the bases of...
  • ✅ ELIMINATES INSECTS FAST ➟ This product is practical and easy to use. It works by physical mode of action which means you need to ensure the insect is covered generously and persistently with our...

Last update on 2022-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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