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What’s The Most Destructive Pest For Homes?

Pests and insects can cause structural damage to your home, spread disease, and make your house an unpleasant place to live. 


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Bug infestations can be regional. The weather conditions of an area, popular house styles, and insect habits can contribute to the pervasiveness of insect invaders. Some insects that invade homes can hurt you or your family let alone your home. Find the worst home-destroying pest in your state. 

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The Worst Home-Destroying Pest By State

Insects inside our homes are invaders. They threaten the safety and cleanliness of our homes, and they could be causing structural damage. When financial loss and home equity are at stake, bug infestations are no laughing matter. 

To discover the worst pest in each state, we took a composite look at entomology reports, scientific analysis, and user search trends. This helped create a clear understanding of the biggest pest threats homeowners face. 

Our analysis shows that spiders are the most common pests across the country, ranking as the top pest in 13 states. 

Number of States Where Each Pest Is Most Common

  • Spiders: 13
  • Carpenter ants: 9
  • Termites: 7
  • Cockroaches: 7
  • Carpenter bees: 6
  • Wood-boring beetles: 3
  • Fire ants: 3
  • Scorpions: 2

While this data shows the bigger trends, it’s important to remember that environments like a damp basement or crawl space can attract multiple types of pests. For example, if you have spiders, you could also have ants in your home. 

States Where Termites Are the Worst Pests

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia

In the United States, termites cost homeowners billions of dollars in property damage annually. Most termite species prefer hot climates, and the worst states for termite damage are in the south, along with California and Hawaii. Infestations are especially severe in Florida, where a large percentage of homes are at risk. 

Termites can go undetected for years. During that time, they can weaken the wooden beams of a house. The first signs could be that the floors will become bouncy and vertical supports will sound hollow. As a termite infestation progresses, the floor will no longer support foot traffic and the beams will no longer support upper stories. 

States Where Cockroaches Are the Worst Pests

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Cockroaches spread disease and can trigger asthma, respiratory issues, and allergic reactions.  

While we typically think of cockroaches living in urban places like New York, the pests are highly adaptable, and cockroach species can thrive in both urban and rural areas. 

In considering the pests that damage homes and foundations, keep in mind that the pests you don’t see are still causing harm. For example, for every cockroach you see, there could be between 10 and 40 more that are hidden out of sight. 

States Where Wood-boring Beetles Are the Worst Pests

  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Wisconsin

Wood-boring beetles, sometimes known as powderpost beetles, drill holes into the wood of your home. These perforated beams result in a weakened and damaged structure. 

When looking for beetle damage to the home or foundation, pay close attention to exposed wood in the crawl space, basement, or foundation. These are key places where the household pests choose to invade. 

States Where Carpenter Ants Are the Worst Pests

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

When looking at the insect map, we see that nine of the country’s northern states are especially hard-hit by carpenter ants. In part, that’s because other home-destroying pests like termites prefer warmer climates. 

Even though there are hundreds of different types of ants, carpenter ants are a wood-destroying species. They hollow out wood and live inside the tunnels they create. To protect your home from these ants, one of the best strategies is to prevent ants from entering your home in the first place rather than fighting an insect infestation after it’s taken hold. 

States Where Carpenter Bees Are the Worst Pests

  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee

Carpenter bees bore holes into the wood of your home. Their damage won’t be as severe as a termite infestation. However, there could be secondary consequences.

For example, the holes could allow rain to seep inside your walls and cause mold growth. A carpenter bee nest could attract other predators like woodpeckers, which could damage your house while trying to eat the insects. 

Before tackling a nest, find out what kind of hive it is. After confirming you have carpenter bees damaging your home, you’ll be able to identify the next steps on how to protect your property. 

States Where Scorpions Are the Worst Pests

  • Arizona
  • Utah

In the southwest, scorpions are a common threat. As the weather heats up, they start to move indoors seeking a more comfortable environment. They are especially attracted to water, so a plumbing leak or damp crawl space could make your home an attractive habitat. 

The best way to keep your home safe is by tightly sealing all ground-level cracks and entry points. This includes doing essential maintenance to the foundation, as well as the basement or crawl space. If scorpions can’t get inside, you and your family will be protected from scorpion stings.

States Where Spiders Are the Worst Pests

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Spiders top the country-wide list of pests, ranking as the most common pest in 13 states. Many spiders are creepy but not harmful. However, some spiders like the brown recluse and black widow are serious health risks. 

No one wants to be surprised by a spider in their house. Instead, a better strategy is to do the home improvements necessary to help make it difficult for pests to get inside in the first place. By keeping spiders out of the house, you’ll gain peace of mind while also protecting the health of everyone in the household. 

States Where Fire Ants Are the Worst Pests

  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • South Carolina

Fire ants can cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. They disrupt the ground and can cause structural problems if nests are built beneath foundations, pavement, or cement. Ant infestations can lower property values. Fire ants can also cause health issues, with bites causing pain, dizziness, nausea, and low blood pressure. 

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What Can You Do To Make Your Home Less Attractive to Pests?

To secure your home from most pests, use a three-part pest management strategy.

First, exterminate and call a pest control professional. This helps you control existing insect populations and reduce the pest pressure within your yard. But if pests can still get inside your home, the problem isn’t resolved. 

Pest management also means creating a physical barrier to make it more difficult for pests to enter your home. Typically, homes with foundation problems have cracks along the lower portion of the house that allow easy entry. Completing the necessary foundation repairs is a permanent solution that helps keep common insects out of your home. 

Crawl space encapsulation is also an effective way to create a more comfortable home for you and your family and a less hospitable environment for bugs. The Groundworks vapor barrier encapsulation system with the ExTremeBloc™ solution integrates termiticide into tightly fitted, professionally installed insulation panels. By making it more difficult for pests to get inside your home below grade, you’ll be protecting the rest of your structure from wood damage. Plus, the smartly designed system has a helpful inspection gap so extermination companies can continue cycles of treatment.

The third step is to solve any moisture problems. Many household pests are attracted to damp basements or crawl spaces, wet wood, and other moisture issues. By creating a dry basement or crawl space, you’ll make your home less attractive to many damaging insects.

The best solutions to resolve moisture issues will vary based on the situation. For example, waterproofing and drainage systems can help keep water out of your home. Many homes also benefit from dehumidification systems that pull moisture out of the air. This can be a crucial step because even homes that have no visible moisture could still have a damp wooden structure due to underground humidity. 

A free inspection from the country’s leading foundation repair experts can help you learn what steps you can take to secure your foundation and protect your home.