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5 Basement Bugs That Indicate You Have Water Problems

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Do you have bugs living in your basement? Of course you do, it’s the perfect environment for the little creatures….damp, dark, and lightly inhabited. While bugs are harmless, they do have a certain creep factor, especially when you turn on the lights and notice little things scurrying for cover.

Tip: If you see lots of spiders in your house, you also have lots of other bugs crawling about as that’s what they are feeding on.

Bugs cannot survive long without a constant source of moisture. They also like dark places where they can scuttle away from predators. Fortunately, the ones you find in a damp basement are generally not dangerous. However, the permanent moisture they signify is a more serious matter. Here we list the 5 most common basement bugs you will find when moisture is present.


Silverfish (otherwise known as fish moths) are silver-grey creatures that can grow to one inch long. They are nocturnal meaning that you are unlikely to spot them unless you disturb them. Sometimes you will find them wriggling in an empty bathtub in the morning. In our homes, they live on paper, fabric, coffee, sugar, human hair and clothing. Trying to kill them directly is pointless. Use a spray that leaves a residue.


The Latin word means a hundred feet. Some have more, some have less and they come in all shapes and sizes. They are carnivorous meaning that they eat meat (do not stress, their jaws are tiny). You can control them by keeping the house clean. Killing them is messy. Rather stun them with a rolled-up newspaper, catch them in a jar and turf them outside where they belong.

Mold mites

If you have a damp basement, you can safely bet that you have mold too. You can also rest assured that you are harbouring a colony of mold mites. They are tiny creatures you might not even spot, as they go about their business of feeding on your cheeses, meats, nuts and seeds. You can kill them to your heart’s content by squashing them. There is only one long-term solution. Get rid of the mold.


In a forest, you find earwigs by the dozen under any rotting tree. You will find them in a damp basement too, although you need to be up at night with a torch, because they are nocturnal. They scuttle out of cracks to feed on a variety of insects and plants. If you do not like using poison, keep rotting vegetation away from the perimeter of your home.

Sow Bugs

Sow bugs are also known as woodlice (and armadillo bugs because of their habit of rolling up into a ball when frightened). They serve a useful purpose in our gardens where they generate compost and loosen up the soil. If it is dry outside, they may invade a damp basement in surprising numbers, although they are not serious household pests. Getting rid of them can be a challenge. Your best defence is eliminating the damp and moisture that they love.

The “Final” Solution

You will never get rid of insects permanently in the house. In fact, the bugs will still be lurking around the basement long after you’re gone. In the interim, there are two ways to manage them in a damp basement. The first is to deploy a team of spiders. Yes, spiders are great at catching and eating insects. The second is to eliminate the source of moisture and to make the basement less hospitable for your creepy crawler roommates. Also, consider basement waterproofing in Toronto to prevent bugs from entering the basement during the rainy season.

Have questions about how to fix your damp basement? Feel free to contact us today for a free in-home inspection and estimate.

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