You may have thought that mold and bugs were two separate issues, but they often go hand in hand. This is because mold attracts a wide range of pests so, where spores settle, insects often follow!
Bugs are attracted to mold for a variety of reasons, but what are the main mold loving bugs to watch out for?
Why are bugs attracted to mold?
We know that mold attracts creepy crawlies, but the real question is: why?
As it turns out, there’s no one link between bugs and mold. Some bugs (like mold mites) feed on the mold itself, whereas other insects (like roaches) are attracted to moldy spots because it breaks down paper and makes it easier for them to digest.
Which bugs are attracted to mold, and why?
Certain species of flies are attracted to mold, and fungus gnats are a common problem in moldy households. These tiny flies feed on fungus and other organic matter in soil, and are most commonly found buzzing around houseplants and in greenhouses.
Fungus gnats don’t bite people or damage plants, but they’re a nuisance to have around.
To avoid attracting fungus flies, avoid overwatering potted plants, as excess moisture can encourage mold to grow on the surface of the soil. You should also remove organic debris (like dead leaves) as soon as possible, as decaying organic matter provides an ideal substrate for mold to grow on.
Cockroaches are known for their ability to eat almost everything, a skill that means they can survive just about anywhere.
Although they don’t eat mold, they do use it to help them digest other foodstuffs, like paper. Mold helps to break down paper (and wood) making these materials easier for roaches to digest and, therefore, attracts them into the area.
Cockroach infestations can bring all sorts of pathogens and allergens into your home, so tackle moldy spots immediately to reduce your risk of a roach invasion.
Mold mites are commonly associated with mold and other fungi.
These mold eating bugs thrive in moist, humid environments and feast on fungus infested foods like cheese, flour, grains, seeds, cereals, and dried fruits. They may also infest moldy straw, bulbs, wallpaper, furniture, housing structures, and clothing. These tiny bugs don’t bite people or pets; nor do they damage clothing or furniture. However, they are a nuisance and can make stored foods inedible.
Keep mold mites at bay by regulating humidity in your pantry, closet, cupboards, and other enclosed spaces around your home to discourage the growth of mold and fungus.
Spiders don’t eat mold, but these fearsome predators feed on a wide variety of insects – including bugs that eat mold.
Mites, baby roaches, and other mold eating bugs make perfect prey for arachnids, so you may find that moldy corners also attract spiders.
Carpenter ants don’t eat mold or wood, but they may still be attracted to moldy wood.
This is because Carpenter ants chew through wooden structures to build their nests, and are much more likely to attack fungus or moisture-softened wood.
Carpenter ants are considered a serious pest because of the extensive damage they can cause to wooden structures, which can be complicated and costly to fix.
Avoid attracting them in by regulating moisture in your home and addressing leaks or mold outbreaks immediately.
Is mold bad for your health?
Indoor mold can also cause health problems in those who are exposed to it. People with allergies may experience symptoms such as sneezing, a stuffy nose, wheezing, red or itchy eyes, or a skin rash after inhaling or touching mold.
People with asthma may also find that mold spores trigger flare-ups or ‘asthma attacks.’
How to prevent mold and mold eating bugs
Keeping your home mold-free is the best way to preserve your health and possessions while keeping bugs at bay. You can prevent mold from growing in your house by:
Keeping humidity to a minimum
Mold thrives in moist, humid environments, which is often a problem in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
If your house is too humid, installing air conditioning or dehumidifiers can help to keep mold at bay.
Fixing any leaks
Leaks cause excess moisture, and moisture leads to mold. Fix any leaks in your roof, plumbing, or walls to dry things out and prevent mold from growing.
Paying attention to ventilation
Making sure your home is well ventilated can also help to reduce humidity and prevent mold growth.
Fans are especially important in rooms that are prone to humidity, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Attacking mold spots immediately
If you see mold starting to grow, deal with it immediately to prevent it from spreading and becoming a bigger problem.
Mold can be scrubbed off hard surfaces using a bleach solution or other mold killing products, but mold-infested carpets and fabrics may need to be removed and replaced.
Cleaning your bathrooms regularly
The bathroom is often the dampest and most humid room in any home so, of course, it’s one of the most common places for mold to grow.
Keep your bathroom windows open as much as possible to improve airflow, and clean all surfaces regularly (at least once a week) with mold-killing cleaning products.
Mold can attract a wide variety of other pests, including mold mites, carpenter ants, cockroaches, flies, and spiders. Some of these (like mold mites) are mold-eating bugs that feast on fungus, while others (like the spiders) take advantage of the tendency of mold to attract other, smaller bugs.
Wood and paper-eating bugs (like roaches) also like mold, because it makes their fibrous diet easier to digest. To avoid mold and insect infestation, keep humidity at home to a minimum while maximizing airflow throughout your property. If you see mold starting to grow, get rid of it immediately using bleach or other mold-killing products.