How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Your Home

Water bugs, also known as cockroaches, can be a nuisance in any home. Getting rid of them takes some work, but with the right techniques and products, you can eliminate water bugs from your house. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of water bugs in your home.

Identify the Type of Water Bug

The first step is identifying what type of cockroach you have. The most common indoor water bugs are:

  • German cockroaches – Small and light brown, usually found in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • American cockroaches – Reddish brown and larger, often found in damp basements.
  • Oriental cockroaches – Shiny black, found in cool, moist areas like drains.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches – Tan with faint bands, can infest any room.

Knowing the species helps determine food sources, hiding spots, and effective removal methods. Consult an exterminator if unsure.

Find Their Entry Points

Water bugs often enter homes through cracks and crevices. Check areas like:

  • Pipe and utility line openings
  • Under doors or near windows
  • Behind sinks and appliances
  • Attic and basement entry points

Seal these up with caulk or weather stripping to block access. Trim bushes and vegetation touching the home exterior as well.

Reduce Clutter

De-clutter pantries, cabinets, basements, garages, and other infested areas. Less stuff means fewer places for roaches to hide. Vacuum and clean regularly too.

Store Food Properly

Roaches feed on human food and garbage. Keep the kitchen spotless, especially under the sink, refrigerator, and stove.

  • Transfer bulk foods to airtight containers.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Take out trash frequently.
  • Avoid leaving pet food out overnight.

Use Traps

Traps lure roaches in and keep them from escaping. Sticky traps are inexpensive and mess-free. For severe infestations, consider bait stations filled with insecticide. Place traps in dark corners, under appliances, and anywhere roaches are frequently spotted.

Apply Insecticides

Use roach sprays, gels, or powders in problem areas:

  • Sprays – Fast-acting and long-lasting when applied to baseboards, cabinets, and cracks.
  • Gels – Contains bait to attract; apply small amounts under appliances.
  • Boric acid – Low toxicity powder that sticks to their bodies. Sprinkle in wall voids and secluded spaces.

Follow product instructions carefully. Reapply monthly or as directed.

Use Essential Oils

Some oils like peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus naturally deter roaches. Spray diluted oil mixtures in entry points or suspected nesting areas. This won’t fully eliminate an infestation though.

Maintain Cleanliness

Once the initial roach problem is under control, be vigilant about cleanliness to prevent more from moving in.

  • Do regular deep cleans of the kitchen.
  • Don’t leave out dirty dishes.
  • Fix leaky sinks and pipes right away.
  • Routinely check traps and replenish insecticides.

When to Call an Exterminator

If do-it-yourself methods aren’t cutting it, bring in professional help. Exterminators have commercial-grade insecticides and gel baits that effectively kill roach colonies. They can treat severe infestations in inaccessible areas like wall voids. Consider professional treatment if you:

  • See large swarms of nymphs and adults
  • Notice cockroaches during the day
  • Have recurring roach problems
  • See signs of roaches after thorough cleaning and treatments
  • Want roaches gone as soon as possible

Prevent Water Bugs from Returning

Stop future infestations by sealing home entry points, fixing plumbing leaks, reducing humidity, and keeping a tidy home. Inspect regularly, setting traps and applying insecticides at the first sign of roach activity. With diligence and comprehensive pest control methods, you can kick water bugs out of your house for good.

FAQs about Getting Rid of Water Bugs

Q: Are water bugs and cockroaches the same thing?

A: Yes, water bugs are a type of cockroach species adapted to living in damp environments. They are often found around plumbing fixtures and drains.

Q: Why do I keep seeing water bugs in my bathroom?

A: Bathrooms provide water bugs with moisture and food crumbs to thrive. Check under sinks for small cracks they can squeeze through. Keep drains covered when not in use and clean up any spills right away.

Q: How can I get rid of water bugs naturally?

A: Diatomaceous earth creates a sharp and dehydrating barrier for insects. Sprinkling this mineral powder in cracks and crevices can deter roaches without chemicals. Essential oils and boric acid also work.

Q: How do you get rid of water bugs in drains?

A: Use an enzyme drain cleaner regularly to break down gunk they feed on. You can also pour boiling water or a bleach solution down the drain. Cover shower and sink drains when not in use.

Q: Can water bugs infest a whole house?

A: Yes, cockroaches can spread to other rooms from initial infested areas, especially through pipes and ductwork. Getting rid of them requires treating the entire home.

Q: Do cockroaches come out during the day?

A: Roaches prefer darkness, so seeing them in daylight often means a large infestation. Daytime activity occurs if pesticide use forces them out of hiding spots or food gets scarce.


Water bugs can multiply quickly and are difficult to fully eradicate without the right techniques. Identifying entry points, reducing food sources, using traps and insecticides together, and preventing clutter are key to kicking them out. Tackle light infestations right away before they get out of hand. Call in professional exterminators for severe roach problems or if do-it-yourself treatments aren’t working. With persistence and thoroughness, you can successfully eliminate water bugs from your home.