Illinois is home to a lot of different things that make this state worth a visit. You can visit the Cahokia Mounds, or take a look at the Navy Pier in Chicago. If you’re a fan of great food, you can sink your teeth into deep-dish pizza straight from Chi-town.
Living in Illinois also can mean cold weather and dealing with pests. While home prices are low and venomous pests are few, you still need to know how to curb your interactions with the wrong bugs. Our guide will help you out with that.
What are the most common house pests in Illinois?
House pests in Illinois can run the gamut from the urban-prone to the downright rural. It all depends on where you live and what you’re likely to find in your exact area.
Cockroaches are a “given” when it comes to house pests in any state, but Chicago seems to be the real hotspot of roaches in Illinois. This makes sense when you think about how much roaches like to travel from apartment to apartment in city environments.
Roaches are famous for being destructive to property and for being a disease-riddled nuisance. When they are not infesting food and causing allergic reactions in people, they are leaving brown smears on walls and causing a distinct odor.
American, Oriental, and German cockroaches all call Illinois their home. If you see one, then there’s more. They hide in dark areas to escape your sight. This is why you need to call a pest control company as soon as you see one.
2. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are going to be another “given” when it comes to pests in cities as large as Chicago. At one point, bed bugs were almost unheard-of. Today, they’ve made an alarming resurgence. These bugs love to bite people, and yes, they can even bite you to death in extreme cases.
As the name suggests, bed bugs love to hang out in warm textile areas like the seams of mattresses, crevices in couches, and pillowy sheets. When they are there, they hide until you sit down and take a nap…then they bite.
Bed bugs are such a big issue, you shouldn’t even consider trying to get rid of them on your own. They come back with a vengeance and can turn your life upside-down.
Prevention is a must with these bugs. Always check mattresses before you sleep on them, avoid buying used furniture, and keep an eye out for any bugs on you. Above all, don’t go in an infested house!
Silverfish are named after their silvery appearance and the way they almost seem to “swim” when they walk. However, they are not pretty to look at. They also can turn into a huge nuisance because they eat just about anything.
A typical silverfish can eat anything from books, to glue, to clothing, to carpet, to paper, to the cereal grains you store for breakfast. Female silverfish can lay up to 60 eggs at a time, so if you find these pests, you need to act quickly.
Preventing silverfish is usually pretty easy. You need to keep moisture to a minimum in your home and seal up cracks that they could wander in through. If you have an infestation, get them removed professionally.
PRO TIP – Silverfish eat any type of organic textiles they’ll find, so lock up those fancy silks if you see them!
Do you love hiking? In many parts of rural Illinois, it’s a low-key state sport. The same can be said of sitting on a knoll, fishing for a day near a creek or lake. Ticks are going to be there, too, so you need to be careful.
Ticks in Illinois can carry diseases, including Lyme disease. If they make a home in your house, you are going to have a serious problem on your hands. Certain ticks, such as deer ticks, can also multiply fairly quickly.
Along with preventing ticks from jumping on you by wearing long pants and checking yourself for them after a walk, you need to keep them from your home. These tips can help:
- Use flea and tick prevention for your pets. This will keep both fleas and ticks from making a home in your place.
- Trim tall grasses near your home. A kept lawn is a pest-free lawn. Spraying down areas for ticks can also help.
- Consider planting plants that repel ticks. Rosemary, lemongrass, and lavender all do this.
Ants are going to be in every single state, from Alabama to Wisconsin. Illinois is no different. If you live in this state, you may have to deal with ants. Whether it’s simple black ants, fire ants, or carpenter ants, you still have to keep an eye out for them.
Preventing ants is easy:
- Keep your area clean and do not leave any sugary foods on the table. Ants will go after every little crumb of food they can. Sugar is their number one favorite thing to eat.
- Get a door sweep and close window openings throughout the summer. Ants typically crawl under small holes and gaps to get indoors. Sealing up cracks in homes can also help.
- Seal, treat and paint your wooden items. This will prevent carpenter ant infestations.
- Keep firewood away from your home. Firewood is a favorite meal of carpenter ants.
- Spray down your areas with anti-ant pesticides and use ant baits to trap any ants near your home. Killing ants that are wandering around your area can help.
6. Box Elder Beetles
Box elder beetles, also known as “boxelder bugs” in Illinois, are red and black beetles that love to feast on the sap of box elder trees. (Of course, they also will eat from other trees if they can’t find their plant of choice.)
There’s some good news and bad news about these insects. The good news is that box elder bugs do not carry disease nor do they cause serious damage to property like carpenter ants or roaches. The bad news is that they look scary and will be annoying to deal with.
Box elders don’t try to live in human homes permanently. They just want to stay there during the colder months. Sealing up your home and getting a door sweep will keep them at bay.
7. Clover Mites
If you live in Central Illinois near Chicago, then you already have seen these creepy crawlers walking around. They are small red insects roughly the size of a pencil point or ballpoint that tend to crawl around all over walls.
They don’t cause property damage but will congregate wherever mulch or concrete will be. You can kill them with a jet spray of water. If you see them in large numbers, you can plant strong-smelling flowers to keep them away.
8. Centipedes And Millipedes
These two bug categories are famous for having tons of legs and for being terrifying. However, they are more of a benefit than they are a pitfall. Both centipedes and millipedes will eat many other critters that are even worse, such as mosquitoes and even wasps.
Even so, these aren’t the type of things you want to see make a nest in your house. They’re creepy and if you’re unlucky, you might also get bitten by a house centipede. (Millipedes in this area don’t bite. They’re too small.)
There are two different things that attract centipedes and millipedes to a house: food and moisture. They prefer basements and bathrooms because they are so moist. Getting water is a cinch for them there. You can prevent this by getting a dehumidifier and mopping spills.
Food, on the other hand, is a more complex issue. These bugs love to eat other pests—often flies, roaches, or ants. If you find centipedes in your house, that usually means that you have other pests you don’t see or haven’t found yet.
Throwing out the garbage and tossing out cat food in a timely manner can help. However, your best bet is to take a look at what other pests are around and address those infestations with pest control.
Once you get rid of other pests and food sources, you’re not going to see many centipedes anymore.
If you want to move to a place where the bugs are minimal and the pizza is great, then you are going to love living in Illinois. This is a state where you can get a little bit of everything based on your lifestyle. There are tons of perks to living here.
One of the unspoken perks that homeowners enjoy is the lesser number of pests. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for prevention. It just means that you’re going to have an easier time keeping some of those nasty critters away from you.