How to Get Rid of Water Bugs

Water bugs easily take the cake when it comes to being among the nastiest household pests to deal with.

They can be easily mistaken for the cockroaches you tend to see scampering around the house now and then.

However, water bugs far worse than cockroaches and can be very hard to get rid of once they infest your home.

Not to worry though, for there are some simple home remedies that can help you get rid of these pesky insects and prevent further infestations as well.

Before that, let’s have a quick look into what a water bug is and what causes a water bug infestation in your home before finding out how to get rid of waterbugs.

What is a water bug? How is it different from a cockroach?

A water bug is an insect that resembles a cockroach and can also be considered as the latter’s distant cousin.

Water bugs tend to thrive near water sources and usually come out during the summer season. Most of these water bugs enter homes from sewer lines and drainage’s.

Water bugs are mainly aquatic insects and thrive in water while cockroaches are more adaptable to other environments as well.

A cockroach is usually orange – brown in color. Water bugs on the other hand, are dark brown or black in color and come with paddle like legs in the place of the stick like legs you see in roaches.

While cockroaches prefer to eat sweet foods along with dead plants and animals, water bugs prefer to hunt for their food and prefer eating small fishes and tadpoles instead.

Cockroaches also tend to live in groups while the water bug chooses to remain solo.

And beware! While both cockroaches and water bugs tend to run away, hide or play dead in order to escape.

However, the water bugs have a tendency to bite back if provoked.

Possible Causes for a Water Bug Infestation

Now that you have spotted at least a couple of these water bugs running around in your home, you may be wondering what caused the infestation.

Take a look at the list of causes below and try to check out the possible reason for the infestation in your home.

Open water sources: Water bugs are attracted to water like moths to light. This is probably why you will find them near open water sources and moist places like the kitchen or bathroom.

In some cases, you can also find them floating around in the fish pond or swimming pool.

Dark holes, cracks and crevices: Water bugs love dark spaces as well. They can be easily found in areas like drains and the spaces between cupboards or kitchen cabinets.

Open garbage bins: If you tend to leave the garbage bin in your home uncovered, trust it to attract water bugs pretty quickly.

Pet food: No one knows why but water bugs are attracted to pet food as well. So make sure you clean the feeding area properly after feeding your pets.

Sweet, starch rich foods and items: Like cockroaches, water bugs are attracted to sweet foods. Leaving behind even a few crumbs of sweets or a few drops of sweet juices on the floor will attract these pests.

Water bugs are attracted to anything that has starch in it. This may not necessarily be foods but materials like book bindings, wall paper and even clothes.

Treating Water Bugs with Natural Remedies

Why use natural remedies to get rid of water bugs when you can simply spray them with some store bought pesticide or bug spray? The answer is as simple as the question.

Store bought pest exterminators make use of harmful chemicals to get rid of pests. Some of these chemicals may harm humans as well.

Hence, taking the safety of your health as well as the health of everyone in your family into consideration, it is wise to opt for safer and less hazardous home remedies when you want to get rid of waterbugs.

Plus, there is also the part where you need to pay an exterminator a hefty amount to remove these pests while vacating your home completely until the process is complete.

Preparing for battle: Home Remedies to Get Rid of Water Bugs

A quick note before looking at the home remedies that will help you get rid of water bugs in your home. Make sure the pests infesting your home are indeed water bugs and not some other insect.

Try to click a few pictures of the bugs and compare them with pictures online to confirm that you have a water bug infestation in your home.

With that taken into account, let’s move onto the home remedies you can use to get rid of these pesky insects once and for all.

1. Vinegar for Water Bugs

The acidity of apple cider vinegar does a great job in killing water bugs as well as preventing them from multiplying.

Apple cider vinegar also contains anti-bacterial properties that can kill of the bacteria spread by the bugs. Here’s what you need to do for the same.

What you need:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 cup

What you need to do:

  • Pour the apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle and shake nicely.
  • Spray the apple cider vinegar on the spots where you find the water bugs as well as their breeding ground.
  • Follow this remedy twice day for a week or so until the bugs are either dead or have left your home. Following this, continue using the vinegar spray once or twice a month to keep the pests away.

Note: Unlike other home remedies where you will need to dilute the vinegar with some water, this remedy requires you to use concentrated vinegar.

If you are not able to get your hands on concentrated vinegar, use larger quantities of diluted vinegar instead. Do not wipe the area after spraying it with vinegar solution.

2. Boric Acid for Water Bugs

If you are wondering how to get rid of water bugs quickly and effectively, try using some boric acid.

Being one of the most effective natural remedies for water bugs, boric acid will kill stick to the insect’ legs and antennas when they walk on it and enters their bodies to kill them from inside.

What you need:

  • Boric Acid – 500 gm
  • Water – 200 ml

What you need to do:

  • Sprinkle a small and even layer of boric acid in the areas the bugs frequent.
  • Alternatively, you can mix the boric acid with the water and pour the resulting solution into a spray bottle.
  • Spray this solution into holes, crevices, cracks and other areas where you spot the bugs.
  • Continue doing this twice a day until the bugs disappear.

Note: Do not sprinkle large quantities of boric acid in a single spot as the bugs will simply avoid the heavy piles and find another route to enter the house.

3. Cooking Oil for Water Bugs

Oils have a smothering effect on water bugs due to their viscosity which makes them float on the surface of water without mixing with the latter.

If you have some leftover cooking oil at home, consider using this remedy to remove water bugs from your home.

What you need:

  • Cooking Oil – 5 cups

What you need:

  • Add 4 cups of oil to a bucket or container.
  • Pour the remaining cup of oil into the area infested by the water bugs.
  • As the bugs start rushing out for air, catch them with a net and drop them into the container filled with oil.
  • Cover the container with a lid and leave it overnight.
  • The buildup of oil and heat along with reduced oxygen levels would have killed the bugs by the next morning.
  • Follow this method to remove water bugs whenever there is a bug infestation at home.

4. Peppermint Oil for Water Bugs

Here is another oil that can help you deal with water bugs effectively. Peppermint oil contains methanol(1) that acts as a natural bug repellent.

When used around the house, the pungent smelling oil can not only kill water bugs but keep them away from your home for good.

What you need:

  • Peppermint Oil – ½ cup
  • Water – 1 cup

What you need to do:

  • Mix the oil and water nicely.
  • Pour the resulting solution into a spray bottle.
  • Spray this mixture on the bug infested areas around your home at least thrice a week for desirable results.

5. Citronella Oil for Water Bugs

Not heard of citronella oil? Well if you are able to get your hands on it, be assured of getting rid of all the water bugs invading your home in just a few days. Citronella oil acts as a natural insect repellent (2).

It is also able to mask the smells that attract the water bugs into your home, thereby preventing further infestations.

Here’s what you need to do in order to get rid of water bugs using citronella oil.

What you need:

  • Citronella Oil – 1 cup

What you need to do:

  • Pour the oil into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the oil on all the cracks, crevices, drains and water bug nests in your home. The smell of the oil will drive away the water bugs and make them stay out of your home for good.
  • Follow this procedure once a week or so for lasting results.

6. Alcohol for Water Bugs

Alcohol when taken in large quantities can dehydrate the human body. Well, it can have the same effect on water bugs too.

So here’s a fail proof plan to check out when you are wondering how to kill water bugs in your home without using any chemicals.

What you need:

  • Alcohol – 400 ml

What you need to do:

  • Pour the alcohol into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the alcohol on the bug infested areas once a day until the bug die.
  • Continue spraying some alcohol on the same areas twice or thrice a week afterwards to keep the bugs from entering your home again.

7. Cucumber for Water Bugs

Cucumber or rather, cucumber peels offer an easy and effective home remedy for nasty water bugs.

It has been found that cucumber peels have a repellent like effect on cockroaches. So why not use them for water bugs as well? Cucumber is best remedy to get rid of cockroaches naturally at home.

What you need:

  • Cucumber – 1

What you need to do:

  • Peel the cucumber and place the peels aside as you decide what to do with the cucumber.
  • Scatter the cucumber peels at strategic locations around your home where you spot these water bugs roaming around. Place more peels in and around moist areas.
  • Replace the old peels with fresh ones after every three days and continue doing this until you don’t find the water bugs in your home anymore.

8. Baking Soda for Water Bugs

Like boric acid, baking soda can enter a bug’s body via its legs and can kill the insect from inside. For best results, use a mixture of baking soda and powdered sugar. Baking soda paste is very helpful for mosquito bites.

What you need:

  • Baking Soda – ¼ cup
  • Powdered Sugar – ¼ cup

What you need to do:

  • Mix the baking soda and the powdered sugar nicely.
  • Sprinkle this mix evenly around areas where you spot the bugs frequently.
  • Continue doing this at least four times a week until the bugs die or disappear.

Note: As in the case of boric acid, do not add large quantities of this mixture in the same spot as it can warn the bugs to take another route.

9. Garlic for Water Bugs

Look up on how to get rid of water bug on the internet and one remedy that is sure to pop out instantly is garlic.

Check out two ways in which you can use this kitchen ingredient for the same purpose.

Method I: Garlic and Soap Spray

Garlic has a very pungent odor (3) which makes it a great natural repellent for water bugs.

What you need:

  • Garlic Cloves – 5 to 6
  • Soap Solution – 1 tbsp.
  • Water – 1 cup

What you need to do:

  • Boil the water nicely.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the boiling water.
  • Drain out the cloves after a few minutes. Add the soap solution to the remaining water and allow it to cool.
  • Pour the mix into a spray bottle and spray it on the bug infested areas. Do this a couple of times until all the water bugs are removed completely.

Method II: Garlic, Cayenne Pepper and Soap Spray

Mixing some cayenne pepper with the garlic can offer a more effective remedy for water bugs and can kill the insects in their nests immediately.

What you need:

  • Garlic – 5 to 6 cloves
  • Onion – 1
  • Water – 400 ml
  • Cayenne Pepper – 20g

What you need to do:

  • Peel the garlic cloves as well as the onion. Add the two ingredients to a blender and mix nicely.
  • Add the water to the mix as well as the cayenne pepper to this mix.
  • Strain the mixture and use a wash cloth to wipe all surfaces in your home with the solution.
  • Do this once a week or so for quick results.

10. Liquid Detergent for Water Bugs

This is a great natural remedy to get rid of water bugs that have infested your swimming pool or fish pond.

What you need:

  • Liquid Detergent – 3 tbsp.
  • Water – ¼ cup

What you need to do:

  • Pour the liquid detergent into a spray bottle and add water to fill up the remaining space.
  • Shake the bottle well and spray this mix on the pool water as well as along the pool’s sides.
  • You can also pour the remaining detergent solution into the pool after use.
  • Wait for a couple of hours for the liquid detergent to do its job. By the end of this period, the water bugs would have suffocated and died. Use a pool skimmer to remove them from the water.
  • Drain out the water from the swimming pool and fill it up with clean water afterwards.
  • In case of using this remedy to clean out the fish pond, make sure you transfer the fishes into separate containers with clean water before pouring the detergent solution into the water.
  • Follow this remedy once every week until your pool and fish pond are no longer infested by these pests.

11. Hair Spray for Water Bugs

Hair spray may not come to your mind when searching for useful home remedies for water bugs. However, it does play a vital role in chasing away water bugs or suffocating them.

What you need:

  • Regular Hair Spray – 1 bottle/can

What you need to do:

  • Spray a liberal amount of the hair spray on the areas where the water bugs are seen wandering about.
  • Continue doing this thrice a day or so until the water bugs are completely eradicated.

12. Water for Water Bugs

Sounds funny right, especially when you know that water bugs love the water? However, water bugs are not resistant to water which is too hot or too cold.

So the next time you see some water bugs scampering around in your home, try one of these two remedies using nothing but water.

Method I: Hot Water

A good pot of boiling water can help eradicate water bugs and kill them in their nest as well.

Water bugs find it hard to tolerate high temperature as their outer shells break down when exposed to the same.

What you need:

  • Water – 4 cups

What you need to do:

  • Boil the water nicely and transfer the hot water to another container.
  • Pour this boiling hot water directly on the water bugs’ nests (as well as the bugs themselves) to kill them.
  • Follow this remedy at least thrice a day for desirable results.

Method II: Cold Water

Water bugs cannot tolerate extreme cold as well. Cold water prevents eggs from hatching as well.

Follow this remedy twice a week until all the water bugs have disappeared from your home.

What you need:

  • Water – 4 cups

What you need to do:

  • Pour the water into a container and place the latter into the freezer.
  • Allow the water to cool until it is about to reach its freezing point.
  • Pour this extremely cold water on the water bugs and their nests, killing them instantly.
  • Do this several times a day to get rid of the water bug infestation for good.

13. Diatomaceous for Water Bugs

This natural product is a great remedy that can come to your rescue when thinking about how to get rid of bugs, water bugs in particular.

Diatomaceous can also be very effective to get rid of fleas as it erode the outer, protective layer of the insect’s body, making it more vulnerable to heat and cold, killing them eventually.

What you need:

  • Diatomaceous – 300 gm

What you need to do:

  • Sprinkle a small layer of diatomaceous on and around the areas where the bugs infest.
  • Wait for a couple of hours before wiping off the product with a damp cloth and some tap water.
  • Repeat every day until the water bugs are either dead or have left your house for good.

Note: Make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a cloth or mask before using diatomaceous as inhaling its vapors can irritate your nose and throat.

14. Pandan Leaves for Water Bugs

Commonly used in Asian cooking, this scented herb is a very effective natural remedy for water bug infestations.

The scent of these leaves is more than enough to drive away the water bugs in addition to preventing them from entering your home in the future.

What you need:

  • Pandan Leaves – 6 to 7

What you need to do:

  • Cut the pandan leaves into medium sized pieces.
  • Place the cut leaves all around your home, especially near drains, cracks and crevices that may attract or horde water bugs.
  • Change the leaves with a fresh batch once the older ones have dried up completely.
  • Keep doing this until you don’t have to worry about water bug infestations anymore.

15. Bay Leaves for Water Bugs

Another scented leaf that can drive out the water bugs from your home in no time at all.

It has been found that the sweet smell of the bay leaf that we love so much is in fact, so pungent for water bugs that they can’t stand it.

What you need:

  • Bay Leaves – A handful

What you need to do:

  • Spread the bay leaves all around your home, concentrating more on areas where you spot the bugs entering the home from.
  • If you find it difficult to keep the leaves in place (they get blown off easily), put them inside sachet and poke holes into the same.
  • Follow this remedy to get rid of all traces of water bugs from your home.

16. Catnip Leaves for Water Bugs

Another efficient home remedy for water bugs, catnip leaves give off an odor that water bugs cannot tolerate.

If you have some catnip leaves at home, check out how you need to use them to take care of your bug infestation problem.

What you need:

  • Catnip Leaves – 40 gm
  • Water – 2 cups

What you need to do:

  • Boil the water and add the catnip leaves to it.
  • Allow the leaves to steep in the water for a few minutes.
  • Drain out the leaves and pour the resulting mix into spray bottle.
  • Spray away at all those places where you spot the water bugs. You will find no trace of them after a few days.

Preventive Measures to remain safe from Water Bugs

In addition to getting rid of waterbugs using these remedies, here are some measures you will need to adopt to make sure your home and family remain safe from these bug attacks in the They include:

 Keep your home clean constantly: Water bugs love water and dirt. It is considered important to keep your home clean constantly.

Vacuum the floors and carpets, clean the windows, wash the upholstery and keep the furnishings dust free if you want the bugs to stop coming back again and again.

If possible, clean the home with a disinfectant regularly to prevent bug attacks.

Dry out sinks, bathroom floors and kitchen slabs: These areas tend to retain moisture and in doing so, can attract water bugs.

Make sure you dry out these areas with a fan or a mop at regular intervals, helping to keep the water bugs away in the process.

Store food in airtight containers in the refrigerator: Make sure you store all eatables in airtight containers.

Avoid leaving leftovers on the table or kitchen counters, and store them in the refrigerator instead. This will keep your food (and you) safe from water bug attacks.

Clean the dishes every day: Do not resort to leaving the dishes in the sink overnight and washing them the next morning.

Wash the dishes promptly after meals. If you have a dishwasher, wash the dishes promptly and leave them inside the washer overnight so that they can dry peacefully without worrying about water bugs.

Discard the garbage every day: You may be tempted to keep the garbage for another day or so before throwing it out.

However, this is not a wise decision at all as the garbage can attract water bugs. Make sure you close the lids of the trash cans tightly after use as well.

Seal cracks, crevices and ducts: These are some of the most common areas for water bug infestations in your home.

Take a good look around and seal off all cracks, crevices and ducts properly. Repair broken/leaking pipes immediately to avoid attracting these bugs.

Keep the backyard and pool clean: Make sure you clean the pool and fish pond at least thrice a week or so.

Cut down all foliage that has grown out of bounds and cut down branches or shrubs that may grow too close to the walls of your home.

Spray plants with anti-bug spray to keep them safe from the water bugs.

Avoid water running off into the backyard when watering the plants and keep all water sources covered.

Ventilate your home properly: A stuffy, damp atmosphere can attract more water bugs. Ensure to keep all the rooms ventilated properly by keeping the windows open during the day.

Place screens on doors and windows to let light inside without allowing more bugs into the house.

Protect pet food: If you have pets, store their food in airtight container. Use a larger bowl to serve food to your pets in order to avoid spillage, especially if they are sloppy eaters.

Clean the area immediately after the pets move away after eating in order to avoid the water bugs from getting access to small kibbles that may have rolled off under carpets and into corners.

Set up bug traps: Check the market for bug traps you can use in order to trap water bugs around your home.

These are specially made traps that contain poison in high concentrations.

When placed around your home, the traps attract the bugs which enter the trap and die immediately after coming in contact with the poison.

You can then make use of the other home remedies to get rid of the remaining water bugs and their eggs.

Call in a professional: If you have tried everything in vain and your home is still invaded with these water bugs, consider calling a professional to deal with them.

These professionals start off by spraying chemical pesticides into holes, ducts, crevices and cracks in order to draw the bugs out.

Following this, they spray an additional amount of the insecticides directly on the bugs and their nests in order to kill them.

However, chances are high you may need to evacuate your home for at least 24 hours until the treatment is complete as the insecticides can cause harm to your body as well.


Water bugs invading your home from everywhere? Tired of all these bugs causing havoc in your home?

Use these home remedies to your benefit to get rid of these pesky insects for good.

And once you have ridden your home off these insects, follow the precautionary measures to make sure they stay away from your home forever.


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