6 Quick Ways to Get Rid of Waterbugs in the House

Waterbugs, also commonly referred to as oriental cockroaches, are large insects that have a tendency to invade homes in the midst of the summer. Learn how to get rid of the waterbugs that make their way in the house.

How to Kill Waterbugs Quickly

Waterbug infestations don’t necessarily require the service of professional exterminators. They are easier to handle compared to other roach species, such as the German cockroach. Here are six methods you can use to get rid of the waterbugs quickly.

Waterbug Repellent Spray

1. Kill the Waterbugs with Gel Baits

Cockroach gel baits are very effective at eliminating most species of cockroaches, including the waterbugs. Apply the gel where the waterbugs are frequently spotted, such as the inner-spaces of cabinets and wall crevices.

The roach gel baits must not be used in the vicinity of open food, and must be kept well away from the reach of pets and children. Make sure to wear gloves and safety goggles, even if the gel bait comes in the form of a syringe.

2. Use Boric Acid as Bait

Boric acid is a natural-forming substance that can be used to eliminate indoor pests in just a couple of days. The boric acid will not attract the waterbugs on its own so you will need to combine it with something that will attract the insect, such as fine sugar.

There are a number of ways you can use boric acid to kill waterbugs. One method is to create a “plate of death” by placing sugary food in the middle of a disposable plate then to apply a thin layer of boric acid around the bait. The waterbugs will walk through the powder and eventually die once the powder gets into their body. Boric acid is like stomach poison for roaches.

Another common waterbug bait method is to mix some flour, boric acid, confectionery sugar, and water together until it becomes a dough-like texture. Place a tiny bit of boric acid dough into the wall cracks and crevices where the waterbugs may potentially hide.

3. Build a Barrier with Diatomaceous Earth

A similar alternative to boric acid is diatomaceous earth, which is made from fossilized diatoms. You will need the food-grade powder, not the pool-grade version. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to use around pets and humans (as long as it’s not inhaled in large amounts).

You can use food-grade diatomaceous earth in the same way as boric acid by mixing the powder with something sweet like sugar. Diatomaceous earth doesn’t have an immediate killing effect on pests like waterbugs. The powder will gradually kill the exposed bugs by damaging the protective layer of the bug’s body, which causes them to eventually dehydrate.

Your job isn’t done once you have applied a generous amount of food-grade diatomaceous earth around the house. Make sure you re-apply the powder after a few days as the powder can become ineffective, especially when it gets damp.

4. Block All Roach Entrance Points

Identify as many roach entrance points as possible then take the appropriate measures to block the entrances with material the waterbugs can’t easily get through. Waterbugs can fit through very tiny spaces so you need to also account for tiny cracks and crevices along the wall.

Crack and crevices can be blocked with material such as caulk. The gaps underneath doors and windows can be blocked with weather-stripping. Make sure to also check spaces behind large appliances, such as the fridge and washing machine.

5. Make Your House Spotlessly Clean

Don’t give any reasons for the waterbugs to enter your home. Clear away all open food from the kitchen and living room. Store any food you want to keep in air-tight containers to prevent the odor from spreading outside.

Make sure you clear out the garbage on a regular basis. This also includes the garbage stacked outside. Ideally, you should have a tall kitchen bin that has tightly-sealed lid. The waterbugs will head elsewhere if they realize there is no food in the house.

6. Eliminate Indoor Damp Areas

Waterbugs thrive in damp areas. Check the parts of the house that have exposed water pipes including the bathroom, patio, kitchen, attic, and basement. Eliminate all leakage and standing water in and around the house. In addition to the pipes, check the drains and clear out any debris that have accumulated inside.

Cockroaches and waterbugs can survive without food for a couple of months, but will die in a much shorter amount of time if they don’t have access to water for up to a month.

How do Waterbugs Get in the House?

The waterbugs most likely made their way into the house from an external gap, or from a drain or pipe. It’s not just the inside of the house that you need to pay attention to.

You should also examine the surroundings of the house and eliminate anything that may attract the bugs, such as a pile of debris or dead leaves. The external gutters must also be cleared regularly to prevent mini floods from forming in the yard or vicinity of the home.

What is a Waterbug?

In most cases, when a homeowner refers to a waterbug, they are most likely referring to certain cockroach species, such as the oriental cockroach. True waterbugs are nothing like roaches. They are aquatic insects that typically have flattened bodies and legs.

Some species, such as the giant waterbug, may have “claws” near their head. Some roaches may have built up their “waterbug” reputation by clustering near sources of water.

What do Waterbugs Eat?

If you are referring to actual roaches, they will eat almost any organic debris or waste. This highlights the importance of keeping your house clear of all food waste and standing water. True waterbugs don’t have the same eating habits.

Are Waterbugs Harmful?

True waterbugs may bite if they feel threatened. In the south, the giant waterbug can be found in many of the waterways. They will inject a strong toxin when they bite into their prey. The toxin from the giant waterbug isn’t “life-threatening” but may cause issues like swelling if too much toxin gets injected into the body.