Pest Prevention | Posted: June 14, 2023

What Pests Are Attracted to Moisture?

Whenever we identify a pest problem in the home, our first step in treating the infestation is to look for the source. All living things require three things to survive: food, water, and shelter from the elements. Pests who have wandered into or colonized a human home are looking for (or have already found) at least one of these three must-haves.

Even in the tidiest home with clean kitchen countertops and food stored in air-tight containers, pests can lurk in corners and crevices waiting to take advantage of your indoor plumbing. Moisture is enough to attract many insects into a home, and shelter from bad weather and predators is just an added bonus.

Below, we’ll explain which pests seek moisture in our homes, where they’re most likely to find it (and settle in), and what to do if your home has a moisture issue.

Where Do Pests Find Moisture in Our Homes?

We generally tend to see certain pests in specific areas of our homes based on their needs and behaviors. Do they prefer darkness or light? Are they carnivorous (like spiders) or herbivores in search of plant-based material?

Household pests can appear in any area of your home, but there are hot spots that tend to attract the most attention from insects and rodents once they get inside.

Kitchens are the most obvious space for pests to search for food and moisture. Even the tiniest crumb of last night’s dinner can be a feast for a tiny insect. Kitchens also tend to have higher humidity and contain stray drops of water from the sink or condensation from cold foods and dishes.

Bathrooms contain many sources of moisture: toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and more. Bathrooms can also contain organic matter — like hair, skin, and nails — that could be appetizing to some pests. Because steam from our baths and showers make these rooms damp so frequently, some bathrooms also contain mildew, which many pests can feed on.

Basements can often contain residual moisture from the rest of the house. Gravity pulls water and cool air down to the lowest level in your house, making basements exceptionally prone to mold and mildew — and hospitable to pests. Many pests are also nocturnal and prefer to live in dark, quiet spaces, making basements the perfect hideout.

Attics are often the first space affected by a roof leak, but you might not notice the leak for some time if your attic is used for storage and doesn’t get much traffic. Many pests stay in the attic due to warm temperatures from rising heat. If your attic is warm and wet, it’s only a matter of time before mold starts to grow and pests move in, so check your attic regularly for any issues.

Any room with leaks and moisture can attract hungry, thirsty insects and rodents, especially if the leaks are caused by holes leading outside. If your roof, walls, or windows are letting in wind and water, they’re likely to let in insects, too.

Even rooms with no cracks or holes leading outside can have leaky pipes that drip water down to the ground — the perfect place for insects and rodents to find it. If you see puddles in any room in your house, locating and repairing the source of the water is critical to prevent an infestation or the growth of harmful mold.

Moisture-Loving Pests in Your Home

Water is essential for all life on earth, and moisture will attract a number of pests into your home. Some pests depend on water more heavily than others, and many pests’ need for water varies throughout the stages of their life cycle.

The presence of water, combined with other factors and pests’ preferences, makes certain pests more likely to appear and remain in certain areas. However, any pest in your home can move to any other area at any time.

Some of the most common household pests attracted to moisture include:


Found in: Gardens, all areas of the house

Mosquitoes can be incredibly annoying as they buzz around your space and bite animals and humans, producing large, itchy red welts. Mosquitoes are extremely common pests and can be found in large numbers in all 50 of the United States. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and their larvae attach themselves to the surface of the water while they mature. This happens most often in still water outside (like in buckets, pots, or anything that can collect rain water), but can also happen inside the home if there is undisturbed standing water available. It only takes one mosquito to find the right water source to jump-start a mosquito infestation in your home.


Found in: Walls, basements, crawlspaces

Termites are incredibly destructive, and cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to homes each year. These wood-eating pests frequently build entire colonies inside or underneath homes that provide food, water, and shelter from weather and predators. Termites often first discover the home via “exploratory” tunnels, or mud tubes, as they search the area around their colony for food (any cellulose-based material, including wood, paper, plaster, and more) and moisture. Once a source of food and water is located, the entire colony might migrate to be closer to or even inside of the structure. Termites are frequently found inside homes’ walls, but can also build a colony under the house’s foundation and create mud tubes that allow them to travel back and forth between their colony and the home’s food and water sources.


Found in: Kitchens, basements, bathrooms

Like termites, ants tend to flock to sources of food and moisture and transport what they can carry back to their colony to feed their queens and larvae. Ants are commonly found in kitchens where they find food crumbs, grease splatters, and ample water. Perhaps the most common ants in American homes, odorous house ants (also known as sugar ants) are particularly attracted to — you guessed it — sugar and sweets, but will feast on anything they can find in your kitchen. Because ants have a waxy exoskeleton that repels water, they can even carry droplets of water back to their colony. However, this is rare because ants get most of their required moisture from food.


Found in: Basements, kitchens, bathrooms

Cockroaches are nocturnal scavengers and prefer to hide in small, dark spaces during the day. This can make them extremely startling pests, who will scurry and jump when cabinet doors are opened or basement lights are turned on. Cockroaches are attracted to food, moisture, and warmth, and they can eat just about anything. Cockroaches are most frequently found in damp basements, bathrooms, and especially in kitchens, thanks to the abundance of food sources. One female cockroach produces an average of 150 offspring in her lifetime, so addressing an infestation early is critical.


Found in: Bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements

Silverfish, like cockroaches, prefer dark, warm, moist environments, so you’re most likely to see them in bathrooms and basements. These small, wiggling insects prefer starchy foods over sweets, so they are less likely than sugar-loving ants and cockroaches to infest kitchen cabinets and more interested in paper goods and fabrics. Because they love darkness and moisture, silverfish are known to hide out in sink and tub drains, while their love for warmth attracts them to laundry dryers. Silverfish are not solitary insects, so if you spot one, there are likely more nearby.

Drain flies

Found in: Kitchens, bathrooms

Drain flies prefer the moist and dark areas that are found in pipes and garbage disposals. They lay eggs in gelatinous masses on the walls of drains or other wet surfaces near water sources. The eggs hatch into small larvae called “sewer worms” or “drain worms.” The larvae feed on organic matter, such as decaying debris and sludge within drains. While drain flies themselves do not cause harm or transmit diseases, their presence can be a nuisance and indicate underlying sanitation or drainage problems. To prevent drain fly infestations, it’s important to maintain clean and well-functioning drains.

How to Keep Your Home Dry and Pest-Free

Homeowners with a moisture problem face a number of risks to their health and the value of their home, including mold and mildew, slippery surfaces, aesthetic concerns like peeling wallpaper and sagging floors, and moisture-loving pests. High moisture in the atmosphere can contribute to high humidity, making the home feel sticky and uncomfortable.

If you have a moisture problem in your home, the first step is to identify the source: Are there plumbing issues? Leaking appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers? Are the roof and windows sealed and secure? Sources of moisture must be repaired before moisture control measures can be put in place to prevent future moisture problems.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry — we’re here to help.

Dodson Pest Control’s certified pest control professionals understand how moisture control and pest control work together to keep you and your home safe and comfortable. We inspect your home to locate sources of moisture and use our cutting-edge technology to eliminate and redirect moisture coming into your home.

Our moisture control strategies include:
  • Atmox: Using sensors, the Atmox System measures the dew point inside and outside your crawl space to determine when fans should run. The fans allow for natural air circulation into the crawl space, bringing fresh dry air into the crawl space and ultimately your home.
  • Barriers: A protective polyethylene barrier is placed over crawl space soil to prevent naturally occurring water vapors from rising up into your home.
  • Borates: An odorless liquid treatment of Borate is applied to all exposed wood in the crawl space, in and around areas where there is wood-decay fungi. Borates assist in the prevention of future wood-decay fungal growth when moisture levels increase.
  • Ventilation: One of the ways to tackle a moisture control problem is to increase air circulation in the crawl space and allow existing moisture to escape.

If your home contains excess moisture and high humidity levels, you might need more than a dehumidifier. Contact Dodson Pest Control for a free inspection.

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