7 Pests Most Likely to Invade Your Home, and How to Get Rid of Them

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated January 20, 2022
A Scandinavian kitchen with shelves and a wooden table
Photo: Prostock-Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images


  • Keeping your home clean can prevent insects, but there are still occasional invaders to be aware of.

  • Taking care of unwanted pests as soon as possible helps prevent a pest infestation.

  • Termites can damage your home, while cockroaches, fleas, and ants can carry bacteria and disease.

  • Leave the use of pesticides up to the professionals to limit you and your family’s exposure.

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Even in the most pristine homes, occasional pests can pay you a visit. From ants to bed bugs, insects can be a real nuisance. But with the right treatment and approach, you can get rid of pests and keep them out for good. Here are the most common insects to invade your home and how to keep your home pest-free

1. Ants

Ants love crumbs, sweet fragrances, and basically any other food. When the weather outside is cold, hot, dry, or wet, ants are more likely to make their way indoors. While they won't damage your home or are unlikely to harm your health, they are a nuisance when they invade your home, especially carpenter ants because they build nests inside.

How to Prevent Ants

  • Plug and seal any holes in your walls, windows, and doors.

  • Clean up spills and food messes promptly.

  • Store food in sealed containers.

  • Wash dishes daily.

How to Get Rid of Ants

  • Spray a mixture of peppermint essential oil and water near the entrance (15 drops per two cups of water).

  • Squeeze a lemon near their entrance.

  • Place ant traps along their path (but out of the way of pets and children) or make your own ant bait.

  • Sprinkle cayenne or black pepper near entry points.

  • Spray equal parts white vinegar and water near their entrance.

  • Call a local pest exterminator for ant treatment.

2. Bedbugs

Bedbugs can happen to anyone. They hide in the crevices of beds and box springs and can travel on items such as clothing, luggage, and furniture. You can pick them up anywhere, but they’re most common in places with frequent guests, such as hotels, dorms, and cruise ships. Bedbugs feed on blood and bite, sometimes causing allergic reactions.

Bedbug infestations usually require the help of a professional exterminator to ensure that they’re fully eradicated. Chemical and heat treatments are the most common. Learn how to hire the right pest control pro for your needs.

How to Prevent Bedbugs

  • Encase your mattress with a protector.

  • Avoid hotels and rental stays with reviews that mention bed bugs.

  • Check mattress seams for bed bug excrement.

  • Place your luggage on a table or dresser instead of the floor.

  • Avoid second-hand bedding and upholstered furniture.

How to Get Rid of Bedbugs

  • Wash all your clothing and bedding, then dry it in temperatures of at least 120 degrees.

  • Call a local professional exterminator.

3. Cockroaches

Cockroaches like dark, moist places and are often found in kitchens and bathrooms. German cockroaches are known as the hardest pest to get rid of because they invade homes and then live in them.

You'll want to get rid of cockroaches as fast as you can, as they can carry illnesses and bacteria, and cause foodborne illnesses. In most cases, it makes sense to call an exterminator if you find one cockroach, because chances are there are many more hiding.

How to Prevent Cockroaches

  • Keep your kitchen and bathrooms clean, including sopping up spills, messes, and dirty dishes immediately.

  • Limit the rooms you eat in, such as only in the dining room and kitchen.

  • Store food in sealed containers.

  • Empty your trash regularly.

  • Don't leave food sitting out.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

  • Sprinkle a light trail of Diatomaceous Earth where you notice cockroaches.

  • Toss diced onions in baking soda and place near cockroaches.

Call a local pest control pro to inspect your home and apply pesticides or bait.

4. Termites

A living room with a wooden vaulted ceiling
Photo: AJ_Watt / E+ / Getty Images

Termites are the most destructive pest you can have in your home as they feed on wood. If you get rid of them quickly, you can prevent serious property damage. Usually, the best way to get rid of termites is to call a professional who will fumigate and do localized treatments. 

If you notice bubbling or peeling paint, discolored drywall, discarded wings, or tiny holes in your walls, you may have a termite problem.

How to Prevent Termites

  • Keep your home dry of leaks.

  • Caulk and seal openings in your foundation where pipes meet the wall.

  • Avoid stacking firewood against your home.

How to Get Rid of Termites

  • Call a local pest exterminator.

  • Spray professional-grade termiticide but take necessary precautions.

  • Use termite baits.

  • Spray boric acid in the cracks in your walls, ceilings, and floors.

5. Millipedes and Centipedes

While distinct insects, both millipedes and centipedes can invade your home and look similar. They like moist places but won't cause you or your home any harm. In fact, they often eat other insects. 

Still, it can be revolting to spot them crawling across your floor, and there are ways to keep them out of your home.

How to Prevent Millipedes and Centipedes

  • Fill in cracks in your foundation, walls, doors, and windows.

  • Remove outdoor debris from your home such as leaves and brush.

How to Get Rid of Millipedes and Centipedes:

  • Pull mulch away from your house.

  • Vacuum or sweep them up.

  • Relocate them outdoors.

  • Call a pest control expert for large infestations.

6. Pantry Moths

Indian meal moths and merchant grain beetles find their way into kitchens and pantries. Merchant grain beetles feed on grains such as corn, cereal, rice, and flour. Indian meal moths eat other foods such as dried fruits, nuts, and pet food. If you see a moth or two in your kitchen, chances are you have a bigger problem on your hands.

How to Prevent Pantry Moths

  • Store dried goods and grains in the freezer for a week after getting them from the store.

  • Clean up food spills and crumbs promptly.

  • Store all of your dried foods in airtight containers.

  • Keep lavender, bay leaves, or mint in your pantry to deter bugs.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

  • Toss out any contaminated foods where you see moth larvae or moths.

  • Vacuum your food area thoroughly, then wipe every surface down, including shelves and liners with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.

  • Store all your dried foods in sealed containers.

7. Fleas

Your furry family members can unfortunately bring fleas into your home. Fleas can bite you, your kids, or your pets. They'll also infest your furniture. It's best to get rid of fleas quickly, as they can be more than a nuisance—they sometimes carry diseases. 

How to Prevent Fleas

  • Limit your pet's contact with wild and stray animals.

  • Check your pet’s hair for fleas on a regular basis.

  • Bathe and brush your pet regularly.

  • Talk with your vet about flea control products.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

  • Vacuum your floors, furniture, and mattresses, including any cracks and crevices.

  • Steam clean or wash all of your upholstery, especially your pet bed.

  • Spray insecticide but use proper precautions.

  • Call a local pest control pro. Professional flea extermination costs between $75 and $400.

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