We’ve all been there: You’re watching TV or reading a book when, out of the corner of your eye, you see a flash of movement. Is it an overactive air conditioner? A ghost? An alien? An intruder? Well, sort of. It’s a common household bug.

While it’s easy to go into full-panic mode when you see a bug scurrying across your floor or counter, you can get rid of these unwanted roommates and prevent them from being drawn to your apartment with a few simple tricks and bug spray for apartment use.

The Most Common Apartment Bugs

Gnats, stink bugs, beetles, fruit flies, spiders. The list of common household bugs goes on and on. And those are just the ones you can see.

In fact, there are around 100 different species of arthropods (a.k.a. bugs) in the average American home, according to a study published in the PeerJ journal. Here are the five most common:

  1. Cockroaches. Usually found in the kitchen or bathroom, cockroaches are very common, especially in big cities. They’re also plentiful—if you see one, there’s bound to be more.
  2. Ants. Tiny and relentless, ants are attracted to the indoors by food, water, and shelter. They leave a scent trail to invite all their cohorts to come and enjoy the bounty.
  3. Centipedes. These multi-legged intruders can be terrifying to encounter, yet they’re actually one of the good guys. They eat other insects, including roaches, moths, and termites.
  4. Spiders. This is another pest that falls into the “alarming-to-see” category. Some spiders are harmless, but others are venomous. You probably want neither in your apartment.
  5. Silverfish. These pests, which actually predate dinosaurs, live off starch, glue, and adhesives such as those found in newspapers, cardboard boxes, book bindings, and carpet.

How Often Should Apartments Spray For Bugs?

The first step, of course, is regular pest prevention, and that responsibility falls on the property management team.

When you’re doing your apartment walkthrough, ask about the property’s pest control policy. Ideally, the apartment community has a preventive pest control schedule to address common apartment bugs inside and outside the building. Lack of a pest control plan is a major apartment hunting red flag.

5 Tips To Get Rid Of Apartment Bugs

1.) Wipe Down All Surfaces — Especially In The Kitchen

When bugs come inside, it’s usually because they’re looking for something to eat. Even tiny crumbs, a drop of jam, or a bowl of pet food can attract ants, flies, and roaches. Wash dirty dishes right away. Disinfect any food prep areas including the stove, microwave, and countertops. Vacuum, sweep, and mop regularly. Check out our ultimate apartment cleaning checklist for more tips.

2.) Put Food Away

Store dry goods—including grains, cereals, bread, seeds, flour, nuts—in airtight containers, preferably glass or heavy plastic. Keep all fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator – not in a bowl on the countertop where it might provide an easy buffet for ants or fruit flies.

3.) Don’t Leave Damp Items Around

Another reason bugs come inside is to find water. Don’t give them a drinking source. Check under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to make sure you don’t have any leaky pipes or drips. Use a plant saucer under any container plants and empty frequently to avoid standing water. Pick up and launder damp towels, rugs, and washcloths right away.

4.) Seal Up All Cracks

Arm yourself with some caulk and tackle any cracks or crevices that might provide an entry point for creepy crawlies. Pay special attention to where baseboards and walls meet as well as the space behind cabinets. Check with your property manager if you’re unsure of whether you should proceed.

5.) Take Action

There are a number of insect control products on the market. Raid, Ortho, Zevo, and a host of companies offer ant and roach traps, aerosols, and bug spray for apartment use. In addition, there are natural alternatives by Wondercide, Safer Brand, and EcoSmart that are safe for use around little ones and pets. Some people even swear by peppermint oil. Try filling an empty spray bottle with 10-15 drops of peppermint oil and a cup of water and apply anywhere you’ve seen apartment bugs.

Important note: taking pest control into your own hands can make it more difficult for professional extermination treatments to work properly. Before you take action, make sure there are no planned treatments in your home for at least seven days.

How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs In My New Apartment?

Fake bugs are funny, especially if you’re decorating your apartment for Halloween, but real bugs are never welcome to the party. With these tips, you’ll outsmart the pesky critters and enjoy your home pest-free.

If you do need more help with common apartment bugs, the Service Teams at each of Southern Management’s 75 apartment communities are a truly invaluable resource. Make a maintenance request via the RentCafe resident portal, by email or by phone, and we will take action.