If you have a basement, chances are you’re already aware that there are bugs down there. Whether your basement is a sophisticated addition to your house or a messy storage area, basements typically offer a haven for bugs because it tends to be darker and damper relative to the rest of your house, and there’s generally less human and (pet) animal traffic.
In this blog post, we’re going to be talking about common bugs or pests you may find in your basement, and if they’re good for you or if you should give them the boot (figuratively speaking; there are better, less messy ways to deal with them).
A common dweller in basements all over (and a staple in Halloween decorations), spiders generally pose no harm and are in fact one of the more beneficial bugs (technically an arachnid) you’ll find in your house. They generally stay out of your way, and hunt other pesky bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches! They even eat other types of spiders, so you may notice the species of spider in your basement may change every once in a while.
Cellar spiders and common house spiders are two of the more prevalent spiders found in American homes, and they’re harmless. Cellar spiders don’t bite, and while common house spiders do if they’re threatened, they only cause minor irritation (unless you have an allergic reaction, then you may want to seek medical attention).
The two spiders you may find in your home that are dangerous are the Brown Recluse and Black Widow.
While both are shy and would rather flee than attack you if threatened, their bites contain toxic venom that are very painful, and in very rare occasions, may even lead to death.
You can spot a Black Widow by the yellowish orange or red hourglass shape on its abdomen, and a Brown Recluse by its violin-shaped mark (and they have 6 eyes instead of 8, but you probably don’t want to get close enough to see). If you’ve been bitten by either one, seek medical attention immediately.
Despite looking like hellspawn, they’re generally also one of the more useful crawling inhabitants you may find in your home or basement. Centipedes only bite if they’re given no other recourse to try and escape – otherwise, they spend their time hunting other pests (including cockroach eggs).
They may crawl into people’s ears, but no more than any other small insect might, and they only come into your house typically in colder months to escape the cold outside. They have pincers that may pinch you when they’re threatened, but the force is rarely enough to break skin. They’re harmless, and like the other creepy-crawlies we’ve discussed so far, earwigs spend their time hunting more problematic pests.
They’re dirty and pose health risks, spreading bacteria wherever they go including salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and more. When you find cockroaches in your basement, it’s time to clean it out.
If you see what you think are termites (or pale ants) then take immediate action. They come in colonies and destroy your house from the inside and may cause structural issues. Measures you can take are keeping the room and surrounding area as dry as possible, including limiting your use of mulch around your house.
What you can do to limit these pests
As we mentioned earlier, these bugs are attracted to the relative darkness and dampness of your basement. You can make things more inhospitable for these illegal occupiers by cleaning out your basement and eliminating dampness as much as you can.
Clear out any unnecessary boxes and consider replacing them with plastic containers, as cockroaches and other small insects like to use these as hiding places (or breeding grounds for their little ones).
Make sure your pipes are all in working order and that there’s not any spot in your basement where water accumulates. Consider using a dehumidifier which also helps eliminate mold buildup.
For any pest infestation, get in touch with a pest control provider to make sure pests are eliminated and kept out!