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How to Get Rid of Waterbugs: Detailed Identification & Removal Guide

Waterbugs are insects that can cause fear and panic when they appear in our home. Many confuse these beetles with ordinary cockroaches. But that’s not right, because waterbugs belong to the Belostomatidae family. They grow in the southern regions and the humid climate.

If you see them in your home, you must start exterminating them immediately. After all, they’re biting! Believe me, it will spoil your life a lot if you let them spread in the humid areas of your house.

I want to share with you my own experience of how to get rid of waterbugs in the house. It’s not that difficult if you stick to recommendations and pieces of advice.

How to Get Rid of Waterbugs
  1. Remove All Water Leaks and Get Rid of Moisture.
  2. Identify Key Habitats and Entry Points.
  3. Seal the House and Make it Perfectly Clean.
  4. Eliminate insects with natural products or synthetic chemicals.
  5. Be sure to keep the house clean.
  6. Fix the plumbing and treat the tub and basement with water repellent.

What Are Water Bugs and What They Look Like


When we talk about waterbugs, we mean domestic insect pests who prefer to breed in humid areas of our home. We’re not talking about waterbugs from the Belostomatidae family. Since they only live in freshwater and rarely get into the house.

As you can see in the image, water bugs are dark-colored. They are usually bigger than domestic pests and other hated insects. A sturdy shell protects their body. And long front mustaches are needed to navigate in space. They can be seen even in darkness, thanks to the faceted eyes. But that’s not enough to navigate well in a confined space.

They look a lot like three kinds of insects:

These are species of cockroaches that have earned their nickname “water” because they tend to always be near a water source. Yes, yes! Water is what attracts waterbugs! If the insect pest can survive for more than a month without food, it will not do without water for a couple of weeks. Also, moisture and dampness are the best conditions for breeding water bug larvae.

As soon as you notice any of these pests in your home, it would help if you started exterminating them immediately. And I’ll share my own experience with you on how to keep waterbugs out of your house.

Why Do Waterbugs Appear in our Home and What They Eat

Where do waterbugs come from? That’s the first question we’re interested in when we see this disgusting insect. They hate the dry environment. So the best place to live is in regions with high humidity.

They especially prefer to breed in old wooden or frame houses with high humidity. You have to be careful if there is a forest, a pond, or a lake near your home. Then the risk of breeding waterbugs and roaches increases considerably.

Waterbugs Appear in our Home

They eat leftovers that we leave in the trash bin or on plates. They can also hunt for small insects and gnats that live in the house. The most common are waterbugs in the shower, under the sink, near the garbage can, and the pipes. You will be surprised, but there may be whole colonies of these insects in the riser pipe or behind the toilet.

You need to know what attracts waterbugs to get rid of them and find their primary habitat in your home. First, identify all wet areas where water accumulates and where there is moisture. Another breeding factor for waterbugs is darkness. You may have to look for hidden areas in “wet” spots of your home to find exactly where they live.

What Is the Difference Between a Cockroach and a Waterbugs

The difference between roaches and waterbugs is insignificant. In everyday life, it is almost impossible to distinguish between waterbugs and a domestic cockroach. Many people confuse these concepts with each other. I have already said above that we take for waterbugs some species of insects belonging to cockroaches.

Predaceous Diving Bug

The fact is, real waterbugs only live in water. They’re barely found indoors. Waterbugs are of a darker color and have a dense shell. And the hind legs are more extensive because with their help these insects swim in water bodies.

Real waterbugs from the Belostomatidae family are predators. They feed on small insects in and around water bodies. Their bodies can reach up to 15 centimeters in size, which is dangerous for many small fish and insects.

For humans, a water bug bite is also painful, but not deadly. It’s a good thing they don’t get into houses. And speaking about cockroach species, by which we mean waterbugs, are less dangerous.


Roaches Often Called Waterbugs

How Dangerous Are the Waterbugs

The danger of a waterbug depends on its species. Ordinary cockroaches do not pose a threat to human life or health. They do not bite or release toxins that could cause swelling or inflammation. But giant water beetles, which have a dark color, can be dangerous to humans as well.

If they feel threatened, they can bite. Their toxins provoke the skin to swell. The pain caused by the bite is also unpleasant. Nobody wants that horror when a huge waterbug bites you!

How to Get Rid of the Waterbugs

Do you know how to stop waterbugs? We need to identify all the places where pests can breed in our house immediately. This will allow for the use of individual agents against them locally. But you should stay calm. If you use the right means to repel waterbugs and destroy them, the pests will no longer appear in the house.

I want to share with you consistent instructions on how to destroy unwanted pests. These steps of water bug extermination are based on personal experience and knowledge.

How to Get Rid of the Waterbugs

Step 1: Remove All Water Leaks and Get Rid of Moisture

The best way to get rid of waterbugs is to get rid of the “wet” zones in the house. I’ve already written above that these insects prefer to be in a humid environment. They are attracted to damp, mold, and water.

Waterbugs are most often noticed under the sink, near pipes hidden by furniture and in risers. Let me remind you that insects hate light. Absolute darkness is needed for a healthy life.

Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to check all possible areas behind the riser pipe, toilet, under the bathroom. There could be a leak there. Call a plumber to check for leaks or condensation. If you notice a “wet” area, it needs to be dried out and get rid of mold that may have formed there in a long time.

Step 2: Identify Key Habitats and Entry Points

Identify Key Habitats and Entry Points

To locally affect water beetles with chemical agents, it is necessary to determine their habitats. In some cases, they can be seen behind closets, in bathrooms, or in other wet areas. But most of the time, you will not be able to detect them with your own eyes, as they are hiding from the light. So the identifier will be debris and dead cockroaches in a specific wet area of your home.

These insects can get into your home through sewers and water pipes. It would be helpful if you scrutinized all communications for debris. Clean the gutters and additionally treat them with selected chemicals to avoid stagnation and rotting. Also, clean the drain chutes and make sure there are no leaks in the external water pipe.

german roach droppings

Step 3: Seal the House and Make it Perfectly Clean

Task №1 is to seal the house. Once all possible insect habitats have been determined, it is necessary to seal off areas with water bug infestations in the house. Usually, these are the entry/exit points of the sewer and water pipe.

And if insects have appeared in a frame or wooden house, you should check the perimeter for moisture and mold. Sometimes the floorboards rot under the influence of damp soil. And through the formed gaps, waterbugs get in.

The next step is to clean the house thoroughly. Use natural water bug repellent, detergents, and chlorine-containing liquids for this. This is necessary to decontaminate surfaces and to rid insects of possible sources of food. As we already know, they prefer dirt, leftovers, and small dead flies.

Step 4: Destroy the Hated Insects

You can use these to destroy waterbugs:

  • Natural products: boric acid for waterbugs, white vinegar, a mixture of sugar and baking soda and essential oils;
  • Synthetic chemicals: insect gels, killer traps, and sprayers.

As a rule, water bug control is local. The selected product or mixture of substances should be applied to areas where a cluster of hated insects has been found. These can be “wet” and dark areas in the house.

How to Keep Waterbugs out of the House

After the water bug treatment and their destruction, make sure they can no longer enter your home. You can reduce the risk of their return in the following ways:

  • Do not leave food scraps in the sink and clean the garbage daily (most of the time we store household garbage under the kitchen faucet);
  • Clean the garbage cans regularly and make sure that the waste does not accumulate even on the street;
  • Fix plumbing and keep pipes, risers, and faucets free from leakage;
  • Treat the bath and basement with water-repellent material to ensure that the wet areas in the house are dry;
  • Regularly clean the house and vacuum the carpets;
  • Regularly clean the sewer and add particular bacteria.

Garbage, dampness, and darkness are the best conditions for waterbugs to develop. Keep the rooms clean and dry.

Best Waterbugs Control Remedies

1. MDX Concepts Home Pest Control Spray – The Best Natural Water Bug Repellent

No products found.

MDXconcepts Insect Spray is produced in the USA. It is suitable against cockroaches, water beetles, bedbugs, fleas, and ants. It needs to be sprayed in the area with the highest concentration of insects to kill them. It is an effective remedy that is based on essential oils, mint, and rosemary. To kill insects, it is sufficient to spray in cabinets, under the sink, near the garbage can and near “wet” areas.

  • environmentally friendly;
  • universal;
  • efficient with proper use;
  • safe for pets.
  • it has a pungent smell;
  • repeated use may be required.

2. Gel for Cockroaches Advion from Syngenta – The Best Water Bug Poison


  • Item Volume: 4.24 Fluid Ounces
  • Item Form: Gel
  • Number of pieces: 4
  • Item Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 7.6 x 5.4 x 1.9 inches

Gel for Cockroaches Advion from Syngenta

The gel for cockroaches and other insects is the most convenient in usage remedy. Advion from Syngenta is sold in tubes. It is enough to squeeze out a small amount of gel in places with the highest concentration of water beetles: under the sink, under the bathtub, near the dumpster, behind the fridge, and in “wet” areas.

The product is effective for about 30 days. After that, the gel should be changed. Make sure that cockroaches always have access to the gel (if it runs out, the water beetles will not die).

It’s more effective than sprays. Because the spray only kills the roaches you see. While the insects carry the gel to the nest where all the water beetles die by a chain reaction.

  • environmentally friendly;
  • effective;
  • convenient in use.
  • short shelf life.

3. Combat Roach Killing Bait – The Best Water Bug Killing Bait Station


  • Active ingredient: Hydramethylnon (2%)
  • Item Form: Bait Station
  • Number of pieces: 8
  • Item Weight: 0.16 ounces
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 1.5 x 7.1 x 7.1 inches

Combat Roach Killing Bait consists of ready baits against water bugs. They are based on hydramethylnon. This product is not environmentally friendly. So I would use them as a last resort if there are plenty of cockroaches and they need to be destroyed quickly.

Сombat roach killing bait large

Even though baits are safe for children and animals, but there are no natural components in the composition. That’s something you should consider when making your choices.

  • ready-made baits that kill water beetles;
  • includes hydramethylnon, which is effective against insects.
  • could be visible in the house;
  • not environmentally friendly.

4. Natural Diatomaceous Earth (DE) from Safer


  • Formula contains: 100% Diatomaceous Earth
  • Item Volume: 9 Cups
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Item Weight: 4.5 ounces
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 15.6 x 10.8 x 4.2 inches

Everyone knows that Diatomaceous Earth effectively destroys insects, including water bugs. You can sprinkle this natural remedy based on algae extracts. The insects will be killed within a week if they have access to this substance. But this powder is only effective in dry places. If it gets wet, it won’t kill insects well.

  • natural composition;
  • no contraindications.
  • it’s only effective when it’s dry.


Where Do Waterbugs Hide

Do Waterbugs Fly?

Some types of roaches do have wings and can travel short distances in the air. But waterbugs do not fly. It’s not a characteristic of them because of their habitat. They prefer land and freshwater.

Where Do Waterbugs Hide?

Water beetles hide in dark, wet places. They feed on debris and small dead insects. Therefore, they are most often found under the sink near the garbage can, under the bathtub, behind the toilet, or in places where plumbing/sewerage pipes accumulate.

Related Post: Best Cockroach Repellents

When Do Waterbugs Come Out?

Water beetles most often crawl out at night, as they cannot tolerate daylight and artificial light. You are unlikely to see them during the day. Be careful the next time you want to throw garbage out at night without a flashlight or climb into a cellar with leaky pipes.

How Long Do Waterbugs Live?

The average life expectancy of a water beetle is 9-18 months, depending on the availability of food, water and other habitats.

What Kills Waterbugs Instantly?

Synthetic and natural remedies instantly kill the insects. These remedies include boric acid, vinegar, essential oils, as well as specialized chemical gels, powders, and sprays against water beetles.

Are You Ready to Get Rid of Waterbugs Forever?

As you could understand from the content of my article – for the destruction of waterbugs, you do not need to overpay specialists for sanitation of premises. Getting rid of waterbugs is a lot easier than it looks. The main thing is to use effective means to destroy insects and clean the house. This will prevent them from coming back again.

So, are you ready to get rid of waterbugs once and for all? Share your thoughts and other useful waterbugs remedies in the comments section below!


  • Family Belostomatidae (NC State University):
  • Cockroaches (Illinois Department of Public Health):
  • Hydramethylnon (Oregon State University):


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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