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There are many insects that are nocturnal, including pests like bedbugs, mosquitoes, and centipedes and cockroaches. These bugs come out at night because that’s when they’re most active, hunting for food, finding water, and looking for mates. Some insects also prefer the cooler temperature the night brings.
Nocturnal Pests to Look Out For
Not all nocturnal insects are harmful, but a select few can greatly impact a person’s quality of life in a negative way. This article will focus on those that are considered pests. Here are some night-active insect species you might want to keep an eye out for.
Bedbugs feed on the blood of people and pets, and they tend to infest the places where people and pets sleep — mattresses, pillows, and dog beds.
Their bites can cause skin irritation and itchiness in some people, and bedbug activity can keep some people awake at night. But they do not carry any diseases.
Bedbugs spread through travel, attaching themselves to your clothing and baggage. And it only takes one female to start an infestation, regardless of how clean your home is. The best prevention is to check your belongings regularly while traveling to avoid bringing them home with you.
Once an infestation has started, bedbugs are difficult to control. Call a professional if you need help with bedbug extermination.
Centipedes are predatory insects that like to hunt at night. They have flat bodies, with more than eight pairs of legs and long antennae. While bites are rare, if they’re cornered it can happen. And while they are venomous, their venom isn’t that strong.
Since these critters tend to look for moisture, stopping moisture problems in your home can prevent them from moving in. And keeping the humidity low inside your house can also help. You might also avoid letting clutter build up so they have fewer places to hide if they do make their way inside.
Cockroaches are another nocturnal insect you don’t want inside your home. They are shy of people and will hide away behind refrigerators and under stoves during the day, venturing out at night in search of food.
To most people, cockroaches serve as a sign of uncleanliness, but in reality they can thrive even in the cleanest homes if they have access to hiding places. They can also go without food for up to a month at a time.
Cockroaches are carriers of several diseases and can contaminate food and water. Their feces and dead bodies can also exacerbate allergies and asthma in some people.
To prevent cockroaches from getting into your home, you should seal up any cracks or holes in your foundation and around doors and windows. Regularly cleaning behind refrigerators and beneath ovens can prevent them from using those places to hide.
Mosquitoes are known carriers of viruses that cause serious infectious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Some of these diseases include dengue fever, West Nile fever, malaria, and Zika virus.
Because mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water, eliminating sources of standing water around your house can help prevent them from congregating near your home. This includes puddles of water in the yard, open outdoor water containers, clogged gutters, and even flower vases.
Additionally, you can keep them out of your house by installing window and door screens if you plan on having windows and doors open during the warmer months.
While not necessarily dangerous, crickets can sometimes find their way inside the house, where they “sing” all night long. Crickets are loud up close — loud enough to quickly become a nuisance. However, you may find yourself losing a lot of sleep when you deal with them indoors.
You can keep them out though by keeping entrances covered with screens. Crickets are also attracted to light, so you might consider using motion sensor lights at night or trying yellow bug lights. They also like humidity, moisture, and heat, so use a dehumidifier and clean up indoor areas where they can find water freely.
Why are so Many Insects Nocturnal?
Hunting for food. A lot of insects hunt for food at night. After a good day’s rest inside the dark nooks they reside in, they come out to look and hunt for their food. Most of their prey is also nocturnal, so it makes a lot of sense to strike when their prey comes out.
Avoiding predators. Many creatures that prey on insects, such as birds, are diurnal. To avoid daytime predators, insects tend to become more active after dark, when those predators are no longer active. They may also enjoy a certain amount of cover at night that they wouldn’t have in the bright light of day.
Cooler temperatures. The overall temperature in an area goes down after the sun sets. Some insects can’t take the heat during the day, so they prefer to come out at night.
Handling Nocturnal Bugs in General
Using Warm Light
Most nocturnal bugs tend to be attracted to cool-toned white light and UV lights. Using incandescent and fluorescent bulbs around your home may attract insects. To avoid this, replace “cool white”-light-emitting bulbs around your home with warmer-toned bulbs. The best ones to use are LEDs emitting light with yellow undertones.
Making your house unattractive to bugs by switching to LED lights is also energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Using Bug Zappers
Another way to handle nocturnal bugs is to buy a bug zapping lamp. These lamps usually take advantage of an insect’s attraction to UV or cool-toned light to get rid of them. They use light to entice insects close until they touch a high-voltage mesh that electrocutes and kills bugs.
It’s a time-tested way of getting rid of many flying night bugs, and many different types of bug zapping lamps are available. The only downside to these is that they kill indiscriminately, which means many beneficial insects will also fall victim to your zapper.
There are many natural aromas that humans love and insects hate. For example, the smell of citronella can help repel mosquitoes and other bugs around the house. Peppermint and cloves are two alternatives you can use if you don’t like citronella.
Scented candles and diffusers can both be used. Candles work on two fronts, scent and smoke to repel insects, while diffusers can release a larger amount of scent into the air. You can also make potpourri bags with herbs and spices and place them around your house.
Reducing Potential Spawning Areas
An effective way to get rid of bugs around your house is to prevent them from spawning altogether. One of the best ways to do so is by getting rid of, or cleaning up, their potential spawning areas. Areas with stagnant water like gutters and puddles are attractive spawning grounds for many insects, like mosquitoes.
Humid and moist nooks are also places insects like to nest. Cleaning up these areas can significantly lessen the population.
Nocturnal bugs love to stay in dark nooks and crannies until nighttime. Clutter inside the house provides great hiding places, so keep clutter from building up. Not only will this decrease the areas in your house that insects can use, but you’ll also notice sooner if they start to move in.