While there are some benefits to living in a basement apartment, such as cooler temperatures in the summer, there are also several drawbacks. One of the most significant is the increased incidence of insect problems. Because a basement typically lacks natural light and provides a moist environment, it is an ideal home for many types of bugs, including roaches, spiders, crickets and sow bugs. Sharing your home with these pests is certainly no fun, but there are several items that you can use to get rid of the bugs in your apartment and keep them away in the future.
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One of the most common ways to get rid of bugs in a basement apartment is to use an insecticide. There is a variety of insecticide products available at your local grocery, mass merchandise or hardware store, but typically, sprays are the most convenient to apply. These products use various chemicals to kill and repel bugs. However, an insecticide spray usually works only on certain bugs, so it is important to identify the insects in your home and find a spray whose label specifically states that the product is for use on that type of pest. The chemicals in insecticide sprays can be extremely toxic, so read the safety precautions carefully and be sure that there is adequate ventilation when you are spraying the affected areas. If you have small children or pets, you may prefer a natural or non-toxic alternative.
Sticky traps are a safe, non-toxic alternative to chemical insecticides when trying to get rid of bugs in a basement apartment. They are usually made from small pieces of plastic treated with an adhesive substance. When insects walk onto the trap, they get stuck on the adhesive and eventually die. The benefit of sticky traps is that they kill any type of bug that is unlucky enough to stumble upon them, so you don't have to worry about identifying your pests. Place sticky traps in dark corners of your basement and along the walls. If you are in a pinch, you can make your own sticky traps by placing sticky-side-up duct tape around an index card or small piece of cardboard. Once the trap is full, throw it away.
For an all-natural way to kill bugs in your basement, diatomaceous earth is an effective option. It is a powder made from fossilized unicellular plants. Spread the powder in corners of your basement and along the baseboards, so bugs walk through it. As the powder coats their body, it absorbs oils and wears away the protective shell until the insects lose enough moisture and die. Diatomaceous earth works on a variety of insects that may invade your basement, including roaches, spiders, silverfish and beetles. Because it is all-natural, you do not have to worry about using it around children or pets either.
Bugs are often drawn to basements because of the dark, humid conditions. Removing moisture from your apartment can help keep bugs away and drive out those that have already taken up residence. You can find a dehumidifier at your local mass merchandise or electronics store, and they are relatively easy to operate. Run the dehumidifier continually for several days until you can feel that there is less moisture in the air.
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Pesticides, Safe and Effective Use in the Home and Landscape; April 2006.
- Ask the Exterminator: Camelback Crickets; Rick Steinau.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Insecticides Used in the Urban Environment, Mode of Action; S.M. Valles, et al.
Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.