Bugs That Indicate Water Damage and How to Get Rid of Them!

If you have a home, then you have bugs. It’s that simple and you can’t truly ever get rid of them. Seasonally, types of species will show up and live under your roof (or in it) for free rent. You can call an exterminator and have your home bombed for bugs, but if you don’t treat your home at the source of these critters, then they will eventually come right back. As for water damage, if you have some of these pests in this article, they could be telling you that you have water damage in your home whether you know about it or not. These bugs like the wetlands and if you have a wet basement/crawl space, they will set up shop in your home, especially in the winter. This is a list of bugs that come for the water damage and how to deter them.  

Bugs That Indicate Water Damage

Oriental Cockroaches

No one, and we mean no one, wants these in their home. Cockroaches tend to be a taboo word when it comes to homeowning, mainly because they come with a reputation of meaning your home is dirty, and by extension, you are dirty. This is only a half-truth, though cockroaches like dirty environments, they really thrive off of wet environments. Your home could be spotless but if your basement has water, oriental cockroaches will be there sooner than later. They often get misidentified as black crickets because of their physique compared to Hollywood’s interpretation of cockroaches like the Madagascar hissing cockroach. Oriental cockroaches are far more common in homes than their more famous cousin. Some people do not identify them as cockroaches, but more like a ‘waterbug’. Well, that’s because they love wetlands and dark places. If you see an oriental cockroach, you can best bet that they know about the water in your basement/crawl space and they love it down there. Take that as a hint that if they’re there, then your home has more water damage than you may think it has.



We’ll go as far as to say the vast majority loves the sound of crickets on a summer evening. However, crickets love the dark and wet areas. That’s why sometimes you will find them in your bathroom just because of the facade that there is moisture in the bathroom. If you find them in your basement, well that means they love your basement for the atmosphere. Crickets will always stay where the water is and if they stay then that means they are also breeding. This of course results in having an infestation of crickets in your basement/crawl space because of the great moisture and darkness they have found. If you see crickets, you have water coming from somewhere whether it just be humidity. Nonetheless, you should know humidity is also a sign of water damage.


Mold Mites

Yeah. . . that’s gross. If you have moisture in your basement or really any part of your home, it only takes 24 hours for mold to start growing. Where there is mold, there are mold mites coming for it later. Practically microscopic, mold mites build their lives on mold or other rotting fixtures like foods nearby. There is only one real way to get rid of mold mites and that is to get rid of the mold. If your basement has water troubles, then you will never get rid of mold forever, meaning the mites will just come back to play. Since it’s way more difficult to see mites, if you see mold then you have a water issue. 


Millipedes & Centipedes

Both are extremely similar and often misidentified for the other. They both have segmented bodies and belong to the group Myriapoda. Both breathe through spiracles and have no direct copulatory organs. However, many differences exist between centipedes and millipedes. Another thing they both have in common is that they thrive in dark and damp places. Millipedes are virtually harmless; they enjoy a vegetarian lifestyle and like to hide in dark wet places and mind their own business. Centipedes are more outgoing and yes, they are venomous. They hunt other insects and also bite small animals or even people and may leave non-threatening, stinging bite marks. Either way, if you have one or both of these, your basement has water damage, whether you know about it or not. 



They get the name for looking like little fish with legs. They have a silver exterior and can grow up to 1 inch long. They are normally nocturnal so unless you disturb them you will not see them. Silverfish are also known as fish moths. Moths are known to destroy fabrics, well so do silverfish. They like to hide under things like boxes and love to burrow into things like boxes, especially if those boxes have clothing or poorly sealed foods in them. These bugs do not live in water or like wetlands, but they do enjoy areas of high moisture and like to live in cracks or voids. That being said, if your basement has cracks and moisture, silverfish you will ha

Silver Fish


If you see a termite, call an exterminator ASAP! Termites boom in your basement/crawl space because they are so close to your foundation! Though they do not do any harm to your concrete, block, or brick foundation, they do feast on any wooden areas of your foundation like joists. Termites are more attracted to wet areas near wood than if it were dry. Termites do not need a reason to be there just because of wet wood. They can tunnel through the ground and up into your crawl space or basement floor or from cracks in your foundation.  If you see termites, whether winged or not, these clear/tan ant-looking creatures will destroy the integrity of any wood fixtures supporting your home. Call an exterminator immediately when you see termites. 



Also known as woodlice, these crustaceans (yes, crustaceans) are pretty harmless. They mind their own business and they just like hanging out in dark, damp environments. They can multiply very quickly and you could have a small infestation of these bugs in your basement/crawl space if there is water damage set in. They feed on organic decay and keep to themselves. They normally get inside the home by any source of opening and stay in any area that delivers a dark, moist habitat. If you see a sowbug or multiple sowbugs, then know there is a source of water somewhere in your home. 



There are more than twenty species of earwigs in the United States. Some species produce a foul-smelling liquid that they use for defense. Earwigs also produce a pheromone (scent). Scientists believe that this pheromone is the reason that earwigs cluster together in large numbers. They enjoy the very most dark and damp environments that they can hide in during the day and feed and breed in at night. Earwigs do not normally destroy stored items but will live in them. They eat decay and are not venomous. If you see earwigs in your basement, know that there is a water issue somewhere that they are thriving off of. If your basement was dry, they would have no reason to be there as they are a type of wetland insect. 

Ear Wig


Any spider will do. Though spiders do not directly indicate water damage, because they are not there for the water. Spiders are there because they found a plethora of creatures they can hunt and feed off of. If your home has a mass invasion of spiders, it’s because they feel that there is a mass invasion of other bugs they can eat. Thinking this would be a good thing, because it kind of is, you’d want to keep the spiders around. However, it’s very well known that spiders can harbor their own kind of nuisances. Venomous spiders are not only extra creepy, but extra dangerous. Take the brown recluse, for example, these spiders not only like the damp, dark areas of your home, they also are venomous and can create plenty of complications to the animal or human they have bitten. The black widow is another spider you should be aware of, their venomous bites can cause a great deal of damage as well. Both of these basement-dwelling spiders can cause death. If they live in your basement/crawl space because of the other bugs, then your home really isn’t protected at all from water or insects.


How to Get Rid of Them!

  1. Clean your basement; clear it out completely! Take out all storage temporarily, clean, and inspect the stored items and set aside. 
  2. Self-inspect your basement, check for cracks, leaks, shifting walls, window leaks, and other areas that insects may be getting in through. 
  3. Call a professional exterminator
  4. If you have mold, call a professional mold removal specialist. 
  5. Clean your entire basement/crawl space. Bugs do not like clean areas, so if you’ve wiped down and disinfected areas, they will not want to come back as easily. 
  6. Invest in a dehumidifier for your basement.
  7. If your basement has water damage, call a professional waterproofing company.

Essential Oil Diffusing   

If you’d really like to kick bugs to the curb you can try a more natural way to get rid of them as well. Diffusing essential oils in your basement can deter all sorts of bugs to vacate the premises. Those include:

  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Citrus Seed Extract
  • Cassia Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Rosemary Oil 
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Thyme Oil
  • Oregano Oil
  • Grapefruit Seed Oil

 Vinegar Flushes 

If it seems that insects are entering your home through drains, you can try flushing distilled vinegar down the drains as well. You can also cleanse areas of mold with vinegar as well. Insects do not appreciate the pungent smell of vinegar and that can deter them. 

Waterproof Your Basement/Crawl Space


No joke! If your home has water damage, you can do all of the things mentioned above. But if the bugs came for water, they will come back for the water, no matter what extermination technique you use. A dry basement is the most effective way to distinguish water intrusion that leads to insect/spider intrusion. A dry basement will overall protect your basement/crawl space from the aforementioned insects to want to live, eat, and breed in your basement. This does not mean you will forever be rid of bugs, as insects will be here long after you have gone, but dry, clean environments will make it so insects have no reason to stay in your basement. Fewer insects mean a cleaner, happier home for you. A professionally waterproofed basement means fewer insects and a cleaner, happier home for you. 

J.D. Johnson Waterproofing, Inc. cares about you, your family, and the home you live in. We take pride in offering the highest caliber of workmanship while keeping our prices the fairest prices possible in northeast Ohio because everyone should be able to afford to have a clean, dry home. If you feel that your home has water damage, do not hesitate to contact us! We have a hassle-free, no gimmicks, free estimate for your home’s waterproofing needs. We encourage you to call on many professional waterproofing services in your area so you get the best quote and the best work you need for your home. Either way, if your home is experiencing water damage and insect invasions, call professionals and get your home waterproofed as soon as you can. 

We hope you liked this article about bugs in your basement and how to get rid of them. Please note that J.D. Johnson Waterproofing, Inc. is not an extermination company or a mold remediation company. J.D. Johnson Waterproofing, Inc. specializes in waterproofing, foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, hydro-jetting, foundation wall rebuilding, sump pump repair/installation, sewer line inspections, and exterior french drainage/yard basin drainage.