Friday 7 July 2023

Attracted to Moisture: Common Pests in Your Home and How to Keep Them at Bay


What Kinds of Pests are Attracted to Moisture?

When dealing with a pest issue at home, our first step in addressing the infestation is to determine the source. All living organisms require three essential elements for survival: food, water, and shelter from the elements. Pests that have entered or established colonies in human dwellings are in search of (or have already found) at least one of these necessities.

Even in the cleanest homes, where kitchen countertops are spotless and food is stored in airtight containers, pests can hide in corners and crevices, waiting to exploit the indoor plumbing. Moisture alone can attract numerous insects into a home, and the added bonus of protection from harsh weather and predators only makes it more appealing.

In the following sections, we will explore which pests are attracted to moisture in our homes, where they are most likely to find it and settle, and what steps to take if your home has a moisture issue.

Where Can Pests Find Moisture in Our Homes?

Pests tend to gravitate towards specific areas of our homes based on their needs and behaviours. Do they prefer darkness or light? Are they carnivorous (like spiders) or herbivores in search of plant-based materials?

While household pests can be found in any part of your home, there are specific hotspots that tend to attract the most attention from insects and rodents once they gain entry.

Kitchens are the most obvious areas for pests to search for food and moisture. Even the tiniest crumb from last night's dinner can be a feast for a tiny insect. Kitchens also tend to have higher humidity levels and may contain stray water droplets from the sink or condensation from cold foods and dishes.

Bathrooms harbor multiple sources of moisture, including toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and more. They may also contain organic matter such as hair, skin, and nails, which can be appetizing to certain pests. The frequent dampness caused by steam from baths and showers makes bathrooms susceptible to mildew, which many pests can feed on.

Basements often retain residual moisture from other parts of the house. Due to gravity, water and cool air tend to accumulate in the lowest level of a house, making basements highly prone to mold, mildew, and attractive to pests. Additionally, many pests are nocturnal and prefer to inhabit dark, quiet spaces, making basements an ideal hiding spot.

Attics are frequently the first areas affected by roof leaks. However, if the attic is primarily used for storage and receives little foot traffic, the leak may go unnoticed for some time. Warm temperatures in attics, caused by rising heat, make them appealing to many pests. If an attic is both warm and damp, mold growth is likely to occur, which will further attract pests. Regularly checking the attic for any issues is advisable.

Any room with leaks and moisture can entice hungry insects and rodents, especially if the leaks are caused by openings leading outside. If your roof, walls, or windows allow wind and water to enter, they are likely to become entry points for insects as well.

Even rooms without cracks or holes leading outside can have leaky pipes that create water puddles on the floor, providing insects and rodents with a perfect water source. Locating and repairing the source of the water is crucial in preventing infestations or the growth of harmful mold.

Pests that Thrive in Moist Environments in Your Home

Water is essential for all forms of life on Earth, and moisture will attract a variety of pests into your home. Some pests rely more heavily on water than others, and their need for water may vary throughout different stages of their life cycle.

The presence of water, combined with other factors and the preferences of pests, make certain pests more likely to appear and stay in particular areas. However, any pest in your home can move to any other area at any time.

Some of the most common household pests attracted to moisture include:


Found in: Gardens, all areas of the house

Mosquitoes can be highly irritating as they buzz around and bite animals and humans, leaving itchy red welts. Mosquitoes are extremely common pests found in large numbers throughout India. They lay eggs in standing water, and their larvae attach themselves to the water's surface as they mature. This predominantly occurs in stagnant water outside, such as in buckets, pots, or any receptacles that can collect rainwater. However, it can also happen inside the home if there is undisturbed standing water available. Even one mosquito finding a suitable water source can initiate a mosquito infestation within your home.


Found in: Walls, basements, crawlspaces

Termites are highly destructive pests that cause billions of dollars in damages to homes each year. These wood-eating pests often establish entire colonies inside or beneath homes, where they find food, water, and protection from weather and predators. Termites usually discover a home through exploratory tunnels or mud tubes as they search the surrounding area for food sources (such as wood, paper, plaster, etc.) and moisture. Once they locate a source of food and water, the entire colony may migrate closer to or even inside the structure. Termites are frequently found within the walls of homes, but they can also establish colonies under the foundation, using mud tubes to travel between their colony and the sources of food and water within the home.


Found in: Kitchens, basements, bathrooms

Similar to termites, ants are attracted to sources of food and moisture, which they transport back to their colonies to feed their queens and larvae. Ants are commonly found in kitchens, where they scavenge for food crumbs, grease splatters, and water. Odorous house ants, also known as sugar ants, are particularly prevalent in Indian homes. They are attracted to sugar and sweets but will consume any available food in your kitchen. Ants have a waxy exoskeleton that repels water, allowing them to carry small droplets back to their colony. However, they mainly obtain the necessary moisture from their food.


Found in: Basements, kitchens, bathrooms

Cockroaches are nocturnal scavengers that prefer to hide in small, dark spaces during the day. They startle easily, scurrying and jumping when cabinet doors are opened or basement lights are turned on. Cockroaches are attracted to food, moisture, and warmth, and they can feed on almost anything. Damp basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, with their abundance of food sources, are the most common places to find cockroaches. A female cockroach can produce an average of 150 offspring in her lifetime, so it is crucial to address an infestation early on.


Found in: Bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements

Silverfish, similar to cockroaches, prefer dark, warm, and moist environments, making them commonly found in bathrooms and basements. These small, wriggling insects have a preference for starchy foods over sweets, so they are less likely than sugar-loving ants and cockroaches to infest kitchen cabinets. Instead, they are more interested in paper goods and fabrics. Due to their preference for darkness and moisture, silverfish are known to hide in sink and tub drains, while their affinity for warmth attracts them to laundry dryers. Silverfish are not solitary insects, so if you spot one, there are likely more nearby.

Drain flies

Found in: Kitchens, bathrooms

Drain flies are attracted to the moist and dark areas commonly found in pipes and garbage disposals. They lay eggs in gelatinous masses on drain walls or other wet surfaces near water sources. These eggs hatch into small larvae known as "sewer worms" or "drain worms." The larvae feed on organic matter, such as decaying debris and sludge within drains. While drain flies themselves do not cause harm or transmit diseases, their presence can be a nuisance and indicate underlying sanitation or drainage issues. To prevent drain fly infestations, it is important to maintain clean and well-functioning drains.

How to Maintain a Dry and Pest-Free Home

Homeowners facing moisture problems face various risks to their health and the value of their homes, including mold, mildew, slippery surfaces, aesthetic concerns, and moisture-loving pests. Excessive moisture in the air can contribute to high humidity levels, making the home feel sticky and uncomfortable.

If you have a moisture problem in your home, the first step is to identify the source. Are there plumbing issues or leaking appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers? Are the roof and windows properly sealed and secure? Repairing the sources of moisture is necessary before implementing moisture control measures to prevent future issues.

If you're unsure where to start, don't worry - Pest-Vigil is here to assist you.

Pest-Vigil's certified pest control professionals understand the relationship between moisture control and pest control in ensuring your safety and comfort. They will inspect your home to identify sources of moisture and employ cutting-edge technology to eliminate and redirect moisture from entering your home.

Some of Pest-Vigil's moisture control strategies includes:

Barriers: Placing a protective polyethylene barrier over crawl space soil prevents naturally occurring water vapor from rising into your home. 

Borates: Applying an odorless liquid treatment of Borate to all exposed wood in the crawl space and areas affected by wood-decay fungi helps prevent future fungal growth when moisture levels increase.

Ventilation: Increasing air circulation in the crawl space is one way to address moisture control problems and allow existing moisture to escape.

If your home experiences excess moisture and high humidity levels, a dehumidifier alone may not be sufficient. Contact Pest-Vigil for a free inspection and professional assistance.

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