Water bugs are insects that come from the family Hemiptera. They are also sometimes called toe-biters or giant water bugs. Water bugs are common in East Asia, South America and North America. You will find a lot of them in ponds, lakes and freshwater streams. Water bugs can grow up to more than 12 centimeters long, although the average length is just two centimeters.
Learning More About Water Bugs
Water bugs are pests because they stalk and feed on amphibians, fish and crustaceans. You will see these insects keeping very still at the bottom of ponds or streams, attaching to an object and staying there until prey comes near. Compared to all the insects on Earth, the water bug is known to have the most painful sting, using its mouthparts.
As water bugs strike their prey, they inject powerful digestive saliva. If they inject their saliva on the prey for a longer period of time, the resulting bite will definitely get worse. There can also be permanent damage done unto its prey once water bugs liquefy muscle tissues. Water bugs cannot breathe underwater, so they need to get out every now and then to breathe.
If a human or any other type of a larger predator is near water bugs, the insects play dead. As they trick you, they release fluid from their anus. As a result, the water bugs end up causing more pain to you as they come alive again.
Water bugs are pests that you should get rid of, because they seem to have a mind of their own. They should not get the better of you, so follow the tips bellow and learn how to say goodbye to them.
Controlling the Population of Water Bugs
Screens and BTIs — Screens and BTIs are effective when getting rid of water bugs that suck your blood or bite your skin. Other bugs that these tools can help you get rid of are ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes (Tips on how to repel mosquitoes).
Water bugs can freely enter your home without any obstructions. The openings of your windows are never challenging to them, so they can get in anytime they want. Consider using window screens if you live near ponds or streams, as water bugs are found in areas where there’s water. Window screens will prevent the water bugs from getting inside your home.
BTIs are also effective. BTI is a term derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, also sometimes referred to as mosquito dunks. To use BTIs, simply drop some into the streams and ponds, or into whatever source of water bug there is near you, every 30 days. The BTIs will kill the larva before they even fully develop and mature.
Borax – As long as you do not have pets or small children around the house, feel free to use Borax everywhere. You can use it in dark areas and sprinkle it over cracks and baseboards. Since water bugs come from your swimming pool, or a river or stream near you, it is then advised that you also sprinkle Borax outside your home. Grains of the Borax powder will stick to the legs of water bugs. Once they take the Borax to their den, that small amount of powder will gradually kill everyone in the colony.
Pyrethrums –– Getting rid of water bugs inside your home is challenging. It would be easy if the water bugs were looking for food inside your home, but the truth is, they aren’t. If they want food, you can simply put your food in proper containers, or make sure that you leave no food residue behind. Then, use pyrethrums, like Ecozone Pyrethrum Insect Powder, to get rid of them. If you do not have pyrethrum, you can use boric acid. Just dust any of these products all over the place where you think the water bugs hide.
Soap Detergents — If you have a swimming pool, you surely have to deal with water bugs that swim with you every time you relax in your pool. To deal with the water bugs that thrive in your swimming pool, just put a few tablespoons of dish detergent on top of the water. Most pool cleaners use Lemon Joy for this. Let the detergent sit on the water until dark, before you turn off the swimming pool pump
. You will have to wait until the surface of the swimming pool is smooth. After this, turn on the swimming pool lights because water bugs love going anywhere where there’s light.
The purpose of the Lemon Joy is to cover the surface of the swimming pool. The water bugs always go to the surface for air. As the soap detergent covers the surface of the swimming pool, the water bugs are trapped under the water. They cannot breathe. You will also have to be patient enough to wait for the water bugs to accumulate near the lights and swim up for air. In the morning, you will see that the water bugs are floating dead on the swimming pool’s surface. The soap detergent is also neutralized by the next morning.(Tips on how to clean a swimming pool)
Perhaps, the best way to get rid of water bugs is to eat them. If you come from the United States, you may be batting an eyelash about this suggestion. However, in Southeast Asia, people eat water bugs. If you can’t handle this, you always have the tips above to go back to. If you enjoyed reading this article, you might as well read how to get rid of palmetto bugs.
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